Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cullman County to make entering a park a felony for RSOs

Since the state legislature will not reconvene until next year, there is plenty of time to counter this:

July 28, 2010

County seeks felony status for sex offenders in parks

CULLMAN — Registered sex offenders are finding recreation options in Cullman County harder and harder to come by.

The Cullman County Commission unanimously agreed Tuesday to join with other county municipalities in making it a crime for sex offenders to enter public parks. Unlike Hanceville and Dodge City, which recently passed ordinances making the transgression a misdemeanor offense, the county intends to make it a felony for perpetrators to enter any of the five public parks in the Cullman County park system.

In order to do that, the commission will have to get some help from the state legislature. By statute, the county commission cannot pass laws designating criminal offenses and must have a member of the local legislative delegation introduce a bill to incorporate the new law into the Code of Alabama. That, said commission chairman James Graves, will not happen before the start of the 2011 legislative session early next year.

“We passed a resolution today requesting our legislators to introduce a bill next year that will make this a felony,” said Graves. “So far, we have heard from (House district 11 Rep.) Jeremy Oden, and he is very receptive of it. We believe the others will support it as well.”

While a bill has not been drafted yet, the commission recommended the inclusion of language that would make “each entry into such [county park] areas, regardless of the time period between such entries...constitute a separate offense under this ordinance...anyone who is found in violation of this ordinance shall be guilty of a Class C felony.”

Associate commissioner Doug Williams said the measure is intended to keep registered sex offenders out of the way of locations—such as parks where children often play with limited supervision— that could invite repeat offenses.

"It's a statewide trend to protect our children, and we're using our ability as a legislative body to do this," Williams said. "We don't want sex offenders around our children."

Graves agreed, saying the law should help supplement existing laws by equipping local enforcement with a local ordinance that carries more weight.

“If there’s something lacking in the laws we have, then I’m all for giving law enforcement some more teeth in a law that allows them to do something where we’re having problems,” he said. “At Sportsman Lake in particular, we now have more and more children coming around with all the improvements that have been made there, and we want to make sure this kind of problem doesn’t arise in the future.”

Cullman County operates five public parks: Smith Lake Park, Sportsman Lake Park, Clarkson Covered Bridge, Stoney Lonesome OHV Park and Lions’ Club Landing at Cold Springs. Graves said Tuesday the commission had not yet discussed how enforcement at Sportsman Lake Park, which is wholly within the city limits of Cullman, would be handled if the bill becomes law.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Scam Alert:

There are a number of people willing to prey upon people's fears. There are a number of websites willing to sell registered sex offender info to the highest bidder. Below is one such website:

Access any Alabama sex-offenders records with detailed and accurate information! All registered sex-offenders records of Alabama - get it here! is the best possible place to venture into the records of Alabama Sex Offenders.Register with us today to avail the most authentic and updated sex-offenders’ records in any corner of Alabama from the comfort of your home

I hate to say this, but I do not pity anyone who falls prey to this website. If you read the typos throughout the site, it becomes obvious it is run by a foreign company that speaks broken English. On the contact page it says, "We are looking ahead to hear from you." I'm not an English major, but it should say, "We are looking FORWARD to HEARING from you!"

The site goes on:

Do not be confused about which site to choose if you are looking for sex-offenders records in Alabama, US. Everyday thousands of people register with us to be sure of getting all comprehensive and updated information on the sex offenders who can be a danger to your family and your children any day. So do not waste time, be aware and be sure to protect your child from any sexual predator. We boast of our huge and comprehensive database which is enriched with all registered sex offenders’ records in Alabama. So make your search to stop the impending danger today and get the best results.

The search site for Alabama sex-offenders records is professionally designed and updated on regular basis to offer you the latest records. Take the privilege of our smart search tools which make your search so effortless! Here you can track down the sexual predators and their crimes so easily.

 If that is not enough to scare the bejeezus out of someone, they follow-up with a scary statistic. The site uses a stat pulled out of the ether with the claim 225 million children are sexually "abuse" every year. Only thing is, there are only 74.5 million kids in the USA. Stats laundering is quite common in places that promote public or privately run sex offender registries. 

A Whois search lists the company as working out of India. Are we outsourcing our sex offender registry or something these days?

Consider this my good deed for the day. Never trust a site offering their own privately-run registry. You end up getting more than you bargained for.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fugitive RSO hunter arrested in Florida

There is an old saying the one that screams loudest about someone else has the most to hide. A Florida self-professed vigilante, Barbara Farris, is one such person. She was arrested for "Menacing," a class B misdemeanor. She put a loaded gun to someone's head. Personally she should serve more time than 6 months but I hope the judge throws the book at this scumbag. Harassing and threatening registered individuals is a crime.

'Sex offender hunter' arrested in Florida on Alabama charge (with video)

Published: Friday, July 23, 2010, 12:27 PM     Updated: Friday, July 23, 2010, 12:28 PM

ORLANDO, Florida -- Barbara Farris -- the president of a group known as the Bee Squad, which tracks sex offenders around central Florida -- was arrested Thursday on a warrant from Alabama on a charge of menacing, according to a report on CF News 13.

Farris received notoriety for leading a charge to put up cameras at an Orlando trailer park to monitor sex offenders has been arrested. The arrest warrant was out of Coffee County, Alabama, and Farris' last known address is in Enterprise, Alabama, but further details about the Alabama allegations were not immediately available.

SO spotted at Chuck E. Cheese's doing nothing! OMG!

This is a non-story turned into a fearmongering "OMG!" story by the mass media. Actually, there is NO law that bars RSOs from any place but schools, but the mass media does not believe it. Shame on WAFF!

Sex offender spotted at Shoals Chuck E Cheese
Posted: Jul 23, 2010 5:30 PM CDT Updated: Jul 23, 2010 6:48 PM CDT
By Nick Lough - bio | email

SHEFFIELD, AL (WAFF)- Authorities confronted a sex offender at the Chuck E. Cheese in Sheffield, but didn't arrest him. Police said he was doing nothing wrong.

Witnesses say a woman at the noticed the registered Lauderdale County sex offender inside the restaurant around lunch time Friday.

The man had been found guilty of sexually abusing a 13-year-old several years ago.
Sheffield police confronted the man inside the restaurant, and he told them he was there for a birthday party.

According to Alabama state law, because his victim was older than twelve, the man is still allowed to attend functions at establishments like Chuck E. Cheese as long as he lets authorities know of his intentions before hand.

"If the birthday party starts at six, you get there at six not any minute before, and if it ends at seven, you have to get off that property at seven, you cant stay on the property outside of your scope of the purpose of being there," said Kelly Muston, Lauderdale Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Investigators say the man did nothing wrong. Chuck E. Cheese also did not make the man leave the property after learning of his past.
©2010 WAFF. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Update: Greg Barlett loses race

As reported on the news, Greg Bartlett lost his runoff election. I'm not sad at all, quite frankly. I DID notice something interesting the other day, however. I went back to the Beltline Kroger store in Decatur and the big sign I posted previously disappeared. I wonder if it had anything to do with my critique of the sign? Hm.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Morgan County Sheriff's Race: Which is lesser of two evils?

After reading this, quite frankly I don't like either candidate. Both are exploiting sex offenders to garner votes.

Morgan County sheriff’s race

The sheriff is the top law enforcement officer in Morgan County. Duties of the office include providing protection through deputy patrols throughout the county; responding to riotous situations and making decisions to control violence; preparing and managing a $10 million budget for the Sheriff’s Office and county jail; and supervision of 200 employees, including deputies and courthouse security officers.
The term is four years, and the pay is $66,410 per year.
Incumbent Sheriff Greg Bartlett and Ana Franklin are vying for the Republican nomination in Tuesday’s primary runoff election.
The Daily gave the candidates an opportunity to address voters and this is what they said:
Greg Bartlett’s statement
“If you or a family member ever becomes a victim of crime, you want the leader of the Sheriff’s Office to have a background in law enforcement that you can trust. I have 28 years of law enforcement experience and 26 as a supervisor in every division. My opponent has no law enforcement supervision experience and only four years of service as a deputy. I have personally investigated and supervised every major type of crime in this county, and I am the only candidate able to lead and train my staff in a manner to make you proud. Before I was elected, the Sheriff’s Office was ranked last in the state on making drug arrests. Now, we are ranked first with over 1,500 drug and meth lab busts. Through my leadership we have lowered the crime rate, solved all 12 homicides and tracked all sex offenders. I have obtained over $2.7 million in funding through drug forfeitures and grants in order to train and equip our deputies without any cost to the taxpayers. Local police chiefs, my former opponent Noel Mayfield, my deputies and staff have endorsed me publicly.
I ask you to look at my qualifications and vote July 13 for experience that you can count on in Morgan County.”
Ana Franklin’s statement
“I believe the sheriff is responsible for the safety of the citizens, but also has a duty to operate the office with credibility, professionalism and respect. My career has been about service to the community and to the victims I am sworn to protect, from my first meth bust to serving as the only drug endangered child officer to helping obtain the longest sentence in Morgan County history, 218 years for a child molester. I have worked in all areas of investigations, including undercover narcotics and homicide. No candidate has a tougher record on crime than I do or is more dedicated to upholding the law. This is why the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed me as their choice for sheriff. I will restore the quality of service Morgan County deserves by re-opening satellite offices, providing law enforcement in our schools and training additional narcotics officers. I will be fair, accessible and accountable to you and use your tax dollars in the manner they are meant to be spent. I believe it is not only the number of years one wears a badge, but the character behind it that determines the ability to lead.
Honor me with your vote, and I’ll work every day to earn it.”
Greg Bartlett
Age: 48.
Residence: Hartselle.
Law enforcement experience: 28 years, includes Hartselle Police Department, patrolman to supervisor of investigations; and head of the Morgan County district attorney’s worthless check unit. Sheriff since 2002.
Wife: Chastity Bartlett.

Ana Franklin
Age: 45.
Residence: Priceville.
Law enforcement experience: Four years as an investigator with the sheriff’s department, including the drug task force and child sex crimes; and volunteer work with other agencies.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Parents Push to ban Sex Offenders from ALL parks statewide

There must be something in the drinking water here in the Shoals-- it is a cesspool of Predator Panic and stupidity.,0,3704919.story

Parents Push to Ban Sex Offenders From Parks
Mary Stackhouse
Shoals Bureau Reporter
4:09 PM CDT, July 5, 2010

Sex offenders aren't allowed in Hanceville city parks any longer, and people in the Shoals think it should be that way all over the state.

Last week, the Cullman County city council voted unanimously to prohibit people convicted of sex crimes from being on city park property. While one city council passes an ordinance to ban sex offenders from public parks, some parents in Florence believe a ban isn't enough.

They want a state law making it illegal for convicted sex offenders to hang out where children and families play.

Currently there are 80 registered sex offenders living in the quad cities. Parents at Deibert Park in Florence say parks are places sex offenders just don't belong.

The last thing Jennifer Blair says she wants to think about when taking her two kids to the park is whether a registered sex offender is around. That's why Blair says banning them from parks is a no-brainer.

"You're not going to change a sex offender. Once they do it, they're going to do it again. It may take time, but it just takes that one little click and they're going to do it again," said Blair.

Blair and other parents at the Florence park agree that it's time a statewide law was passed that would prohibit registered sex offenders from setting foot inside city parks.

Out of all four Shoals cities, Sheffield has the most registered sex offenders at 30. Florence has the next largest number at 23. 20 registered sex offenders have home addresses in Tuscumbia, and in Muscle Shoals, seven are listed.

"It actually scares me," said Blair. "Being from California, I do have my guard up, so I'm aware of my surroundings, but some people aren't."

Parents at Deibert Park say they're ready for lawmakers to step up and take action before any damage is done. If nothing else, Blair says photos of registered sex offenders should at least be posted at city parks on a sign, to make people visiting the park more aware.

"If it was posted at the actual park they go to, they'll know who it is who's sitting next to them or walking by them in the park and then be more aware and be able to put their guard up a bit more," said Blair.

Human Trafficking now a felony in Alabama

There is an increasing awareness of human trafficking in America, and Alabama has joined 44 other states in this awareness. I think increasing awareness is great, though I have my concerns with our hypersensitive culture abusing these laws.

MONTGOMERY - Governor Bob Riley on Friday marked the passage of a new state law against human trafficking that supporters say will lead to more prosecutions of what is considered modern-day slavery.

Governor Riley was joined by legislators and other bill supporters at the State Capitol for a ceremonial signing of the act that makes human trafficking a felony in Alabama.

Human trafficking occurs when people are forced into involuntary servitude through violence or threats, often as prostitutes or laborers. Alabama has seen several high-profile cases of human trafficking in recent years. Now, with a state law making human trafficking a felony, state and local law enforcement officers -- and not just the FBI -- are able to investigate the crime in the state.
“We cannot be fooled into thinking this crime happens only in other places. It’s happening right here in Alabama,” said Governor Riley. “This new law gives our law enforcement officers another way to protect people.”

The new law brings Alabama in line with 44 other states that criminalize human trafficking. It goes into effect on July 1.

In addition to criminalizing human trafficking, the new law provides mandatory restitution for victims and gives them a means to bring civil cases against traffickers.

“This is the most comprehensive law against human trafficking in the entire nation. We went from having no law to having one that is considered a model for the rest of the nation,” said Representative Jack Williams, a sponsor of the bill in the Legislature.

Volunteers with the Birmingham-based group Freedom to Thrive joined Governor Riley, Representative Williams, and bill co-sponsors Representative Merika Coleman and Senator Wendell Mitchell, at the bill signing ceremony on Friday. The non-profit group works to raise awareness and eliminate human trafficking in the state.

Here are examples of recent human trafficking cases in Alabama that were in federal court, as reported by the Birmingham News in February 2010:

• A federal grand jury in Birmingham indicted a Florence man in December 2009 on charges of coercing a minor to engage in prostitution and harboring an illegal immigrant.

• Three Kansas City-area companies and 12 people were accused in a federal indictment last year of operating a nationwide human trafficking and racketeering scheme that involved fraudulent labor contracts in 14 states, including Alabama.

• Police in 2007 raided a prostitution ring in Albertville that authorities claimed was forcing women from Latin American countries into prostitution.

ReFORM Alabama Summer 2010 Newsletter now available

If you would like a PDF copy of the ReFORM Alabama Newsletter emailed to you, email me at The newsletter is free and can be reprinted and distributed. The newsletter was created primarily for those that cannot obtain internet access, such as those on probation/ parole or prison inmates. The newsletter is a summary of stories posted here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hanceville ordinance bans RSOs from parks

There are a lot of legal activities conducted in parks, so I cannot see this passing Constitutional muster if challenged. Alabama has certainly had its issues with segregation over the years, and this is no exception. So you can be arrested simply for being in the park while a registrant?

July 3, 2010
HANCEVILLE — Hanceville parks became less welcoming to registered sex offenders last week after the city council passed an ordinance prohibiting persons convicted of sex crimes from visiting the city's public parks.

The council unanimously voted in favor of the law, adding to a growing list of towns and governments nationwide passing similar measures to prevent offenders from frequenting areas perceived to be fertile ground for sexual predators. The ordinance makes it a class C misdemeanor for a registered sex offender to be on city park property—a crime punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail.

Mayor Kenneth Nail said he approached the council with the idea for the law after observing news reports of a similar proposal the California legislature is considering passing statewide.

"I don't usually like what comes out of California, but I saw this and thought, 'that's a wonderful thing to do, to be proactive,'" said Nail. "We did this for the protection of children in Hanceville, and I think that's the only reason there should be for a council to do this."

The ordinance, which had come before the council in early June, was adopted unanimously when it came up a second time at the June 24 meeting. In addition to school facilities, four Hanceville parks will be affected by the new law: C.W. Day Park, Veterans Park, The Hanceville Recreation and Wellness Center and Donald Hamby park.

While Hanceville proper does not have a large number of registered offenders, Nail said there are a number of sex offenders who have a Hanceville address and who live in the southern portion of Cullman County.

"A lot of people believe Hanceville has a lot of sex offenders living here, because they have a Hanceville address," said Nail. "But we don't have a lot of them living in the city. The Hanceville post office covers an area that goes up to Cold Springs mountain, and to the edge of Good Hope—a big area; a lot of rural area.

"We have had, in the past, folks just sitting there at the swimming pool looking, and we didn't really feel they were up to any good. Research on the history of sexual predators shows that many of them are going to scope out playgrounds; they're going to scope out parks. And the council and I just did not want the convicted sex offenders sitting in our parks. If we realize someone is a sex offender sitting in our park, we're going to arrest them."

"And it doesn't matter where they're from, Hanceville or somewhere else," said council member Joanne Walls. "They can be from Timbuktu, and if they break the law here, they're going to be arrested."

* Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 270.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Anti-Clustering law takes effect in Jefferson Co. Only!

There was no notice of this, and the statewide anti-clustering bill has stalled out in the House, so why am I only hearing about this now?

The senator responsible for this travesty is Sen. Priscilla Dunn. Here is her contact info:

State House: Room 729
11 S. Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130
(334) 242-7793
Fax: (334) 353-9625

Home: 460 Carriage Hills Drive
Bessemer, AL 35022
(205) 426-3795

New sex offender rules take effect in Ala. county

7/1/2010, 6:34 a.m. CDT The Associated Press
(AP) — BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A new law that limits the number of registered sex offenders living together in Jefferson County is in effect.

The law, passed by the Legislature in the recent session, bars landlords from housing more than one registered sex offender under one roof. It requires offenders who live in an apartment to reside at least 100 yards from each other.

The measure took effect Thursday.

Sgt. Jacob Reach, who oversees the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office sex offender unit, says people already living at a facility housing multiple offenders will be grandfathered in under the law, but no new person can move into the facility.
Information from: The Birmingham News,