Friday, December 16, 2011

Alabama well represented in the 2011 Shiitake Awards


Follow this link to vote via Survey Monkey:


For those unfamiliar with the Shiitake Awards, it is an annual event that spotlights some of the absurdities of people who exploit sex offender laws and registrants for personal gain. Alabama is up for worst state of 2011, AL's new SORNA law is up for worst law, Michael Hill of Huntsville is up for Everyday Zeroes (vigilante) award, and Tuscumbia, AL chief Tony Logan is up for dumbest quote of 2011. Simply follow the link to cast your votes and represent this "fine" state.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Yet another idiot wants to push for anti-clustering laws

In 2010, a law on anti-clustering was considered, but only passed for Jefferson County. Now another dumb politician wants to create another state-wide anti-clustering law. This must be stopped before it starts. Contact State Rep. Kurt Wallace and let him know these laws are a bad idea.



42nd District
(Chilton and Shelby)

State House:Room 522-C
11 S. Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130
(334) 242-7772
Home Address:24 Maple Drive
Maplesville, AL.  36750

Work Phone: 

(334) 366-4211


On to the article itself.

Bill would split up sex offenders

Published 5:28pm Friday, December 9, 2011

Sex offenders living together at the same residence in Chilton County could be the catalyst for a statewide law banning such arrangements.
In the past year and a half, 23 people convicted of sex crimes have been released to the same address, 40 County Road 374 off Enterprise Road south of Clanton, according to information provided by C.J. Robinson with District Attorney Randall Houston’s office.
Nine of the registered sex offenders were living at the address as of Thursday morning, according to Chilton County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Erric Price, who is responsible for keeping track of sex offenders.
State Rep. Kurt Wallace said he plans to file a bill that would place a limit on how close such people could live, effectively outlawing them from locating to the same residence unless it were a treatment facility and the sex offenders were under supervised care.
“I’ve talked with several other representatives, and they said they would sign onto it, too,” Wallace said. “I don’t think [the situation in Chilton County] is a good thing.”
Wallace said he plans to pre-file a bill before the state Legislature reconvenes in February 2012.
The owner of the property at County Road 374 declined to comment Friday. The registered sex offenders apparently are housed in campers behind Triumph Church, which is under construction.
Two residents in the area interviewed Thursday expressed concern about the situation but did not want to be quoted for this story.
Convicted sex offenders must notify the state about where they plan to live once they are out of custody.
“I began noticing the same address listed for offender after offender,” Robinson said. “This is not a licensed halfway house, nor am I aware of any type of specialized training that someone can give to rehabilitate a sex offender. This is a serious problem facing our community.”
Robinson said he received notice about 23 sex offenders being released to 40 County Road 374 from August 2010 through October 2011.
None of the men were arrested for crimes committed in Chilton County, according to Robinson’s information. The crimes include rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, assault with intent to ravish, aggravated sexual battery, and attempted rape; and the given ages of victims range from 4 to 29.
There is also a listed relationship between the sex offender and the person the offender is being released to. These relationships include clergy, manager, halfway house and friend.
Price said sheriff’s department officers have been called to the residence on at least a couple occasions because of fights between residents of the same address but that no crimes have been reported by neighbors.
“We’ve also gotten multiple calls from neighbors about them walking up and down the streets, knocking on doors and looking for work,” Price said.

That last sentence is intriguing. Nothing is scarier than looking for a job or walking down the street, eh?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December 2011 Introduced Bills

Here is a quick rundown of the latest bills introduced for the upcoming session:

HB 34: "Continuous Sexual Abuse" Act

 Section 1. (a) A person commits the crime of continuous sexual abuse when the person intentionally engages in three or more acts of sexual conduct with another person who was under the age of 16 years when the first act of sexual conduct occurred.
(b) The term "sexual conduct" includes any of those sexual acts defined under Sections 13A-6-61, 13A-6-62, 13A-6-63, 13A-6-64, 13A-6-65.1, 13A-6-66, 13A-6-67, 13A-6-69.1, and 13A-13-3 of the Code of Alabama 1975.
(c) Continuous sexual abuse shall not include sexual conduct that meets all of the following:
(1) The sexual conduct did not involve force and was only a crime due to the ages of the victim and offender.
(2) At the time of the sexual conduct, the victim was 13 years of age or older.
(3) At the time of the sexual conduct, the offender was not more than 4 years older than the victim.
(d) Continuous sexual abuse is a Class A felony

ReFORM-AL's stance: Oppose-- this bill will effectively make all sex crimes involving minors a Class A felony,  with a minimum 10 year sentence. Such an increase will ultimately lead to a decrease of reporting of sexual abuse cases and may compel the minority of violent offenders to cause more harm to victims. This law will obviously be used to force an increase of pleas to those wrongfully accused.

SB 67-70: A series of bills regarding death penalty reform. Personally I prefer the death penalty to be abolished, but a three year moratorium and reforming the policy on who is eligible for execution is a start. Don't worry, no one has suggested executing registrants, that was abolished by the 2007 Kennedy v Louisiana decision.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh boo hoo! B'Ham files for Bankruptcy. Cry me a river!

Birmingham/ Jefferson County has just filed for bankruptcy. on the surface, it seems unrelated to sex offender issues but it does. Alabama recently passed the costly Adam Walsh Act/ SORNA, which has been found to be costly in many states. They passed an anti-clustering law last year just to target a halfway house operating in the county. They've spent millions on frequent police checks and locking up registrants on petty offenses. Any wonder why they are in financial dire straights? i think not.

Friday, November 4, 2011

AL RSO Registry Fee Law

I recently added a registry fees fact guide to my main website at Thus, I thought I'd take the time to review the new Alabama registry fees law to clarify the fee issue:

Alabama: From the recently enacted SB 296: Section 22. (33a) An adult sex offender shall pay a registration fee in the amount of ten dollars ($10) to each registering agency where the adult sex offender resides beginning with the first quarterly registration on or after July 1, 2011, and at each quarterly registration thereafter. (b) Each time an adult sex offender terminates his or her residence and establishes a new residence, he or she shall pay a
registration fee in the amount of ten dollars ($10) to each registering agency where the adult sex offender
establishes a new residence. (c) If, at the time of registration, the adult sex offender is unable to pay the registration fee, the registering agency may require the adult sex offender to pay the fee in installments not to exceed 90 days.  The registering agency shall waive the registration fee if the adult sex offender has an order from the court declaring his or her indigence. In the event the adult sex offender is determined to be indigent, a periodic review of the adult sex offender's indigent status shall be conducted by the court to determine if the offender is no longer indigent. Further, if the offender is determined to be indigent by the sentencing court, nothing in this act shall prohibit the offender from being placed on a payment plan where the entire fee is collected in total. (d) The fees collected under this section shall be to the registering agency to defray the costs of sex offender registration, verification, and notification. (e) Any person who willfully fails to pay the required registration fee at the time of registration, or at the time at which the installment payment is due, shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. Upon a second or subsequent conviction for willful failure to pay the required fee, the adult sex offender shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

 While I think the fees should be challenged in court (as discussed in my fact guide), it appears those of you who are concerned over registry fees should petition the court to be considered indigent and thus be free of paying the fees. This is something every registrant needs to pursue. 

One of my readers reminded me about the Federal "Poverty guidelines." Personally I find the numbers very low, as Alabama's poverty level is about $10,890 per year. However, I'm sure many of us hover around that line. even if you are above that line, I think you could still argue indigence, it is a matter of doing your math. For example, Gas is $3+ per gallon and most cars get maybe 20 miles per gallon on average (less in the city and if . Chances are just to go to work, you are filling up weekly at a cost of up to $100 to refill your tank. That's as much as $400 per month. You essentially have to argue your take home pay and your living expenses are so close paying for extra registration cases a financial burden.

I previously mentioned that Ohio had recently ruled their version of the Adam Walsh Act was indeed punitive. You may ant to utilize this case decision into your argument:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Early List for upcoming Alabama Laws

I suppose it is never too early to list the stupidity that is the Alabama state legislative agenda for 2012. Thankfully, should any dumb laws pop up, hopefully one of you will act quickly and request a public hearing on the law, thus stymieing any new laws from slipping in without opposition:

HB 4: "Caylee's Law:" Great, even Alabama wants to pass this stupid law?
Children, failure to report a missing child in the first degree (Felony B) and in the second degree (Felony C), failure to report the death of a child (Felony B), false reporting to law enforcement authorities (Felony B), crimes of established, Caylee's Law, Sec. 13A-10-9 am'd.
ReFORM-AL Stance: Opposed. Do we need a named law? Furthermore, the law is very vague. What is "timely reporting?" There is a reason why LE in the past tended to make you wait a certain time before you filed a missing person's report.

Apparently the Senate also has a similar sounding version, SB 38. Well I give a similar opposition. 

SB 41: An Act repealing the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, the controversial immigration bill.
ReFORM-AL position. I Support this bill. Now if they only had the balls to repeal the Adam Walsh Act.

 So far, no direct sex offender laws. That could change of course. However, I mentioned these two laws because they represent the mood of the citizens of Alabama. One is a monkey-see-monkey-do law (Caylee's Law), while the other is the result of backlash against another hastily passed law targeting immigrants based on ignorant racism and stereotyping.

Follow the links on the right to keep tabs on any upcoming bills. While I try my best to maintain up-to-date info, I can miss a few things.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Drunken Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan makes for bad interview

Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan is currently on probation for a DUI, so I wouldn't be surprised if he was drunk when he gave this idiotic interview for the Times Daily.  

 Sex offenders attend meeting Halloween night
By Tom Smith, Senior Staff Writer,183811

All sex offenders in Alabama will be required to attend an educational program on sex offender laws for four hours on Halloween night. The Alabama State Probation and Parole Office and the U.S. Probation Office are joining together to provide the program on state and federal sex offender laws to all felony sex offenders under supervision of state and federal probation and parole offices in Huntsville.

U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance’s office requires felony sex offenders to attend the educational program, which also will provide training on employment and other community support topics. It will be 5:30-9:30 p.m. Monday at an undisclosed location. 

The timing of the program coincides with trick-or-treaters taking to the streets Halloween night and going door to door. “I know parents are concerned and it’s a concern for law enforcement,” Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan said. “There are a couple of times a year I refer to as a pedophile’s dream come true. This is one of those times.”

Supervisory U.S. Probation Officer Jeffrey Purcell said the operation is a pro-active venture to provide education and training to sex offenders, and improve accountability and behavior change. “As well as safeguard the community, in that these offenders will not be participating in Halloween activities,” he said. Deputy Florence Police Chief Tim Shaddix backs the program. “I know parents who have already gotten on the Internet to find where the registered sex offenders live to make sure they don’t take their children into those neighborhoods,” he said.

Logan said knowing that sex offenders will not be around on Halloween night will give parents and law enforcement some peace of mind. “This is brilliant. I love it,” Logan said. “It will help provide a safe environment for the hundreds of kids out Halloween night and their parents.” 

In Tennessee, state probation and parole officers will be making announced and unannounced visits to make sure convicted sex offenders are complying with restrictions during Halloween. They cannot answer the door to trick-or-treaters, pass out candy, decorate their homes, host Halloween parties or wear costumes, state officials said. Local law enforcement officers will be going with probation and parole officers on many of the visits. “I know this is a concern for the public and for parents, but hopefully these measures will ease their concerns,” Shaddix said.

Well, before anyone thinks I'm making up the Tony Logan drunkenness bit, see the story below. A recent study found that your the biggest risk to your child is AUTO-RELATED. You know, like a lush behind the wheel of a car. Who is the bigger threat?:,0,4133902.story

Tuscumbia's Police Chief Found Guilty In DUI Case

Tony Logan faces a $600 fine for the conviction

WHNT NEWS 19 Staff Reports
11:33 AM CST, March 10, 2010
Tuscumbia's police chief went before a judge Wednesday on his DUI charge. A Colbert County judge found Tony Logan guilty. Judge James Hall ordered Logan to pay a $600 fine, and handed him a 90-day suspended sentence. He will also serve two years probation. Logan's blood alcohol level was .272 when he was arrested December 5, 2009. Florence Police arrested Logan outside of his home after Logan turned in to his driveway, missed, and hit the mailbox. Florence Police say Logan hit his City of Tuscumbia patrol car that was parked in the driveway and ended up in a neighbor's yard across the street. Logan had been on administrative leave until March 1, when he reported to work. Tuscumbia Mayor Bill Shoemaker says he needed Logan back on the job.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Limestone County won't hold Halloween sex-offender roundup

I'm glad to see the reform movement represented in this article (Congrats to Sandi Hrozek) and at least one county won't engage in Halloweenitis at least for this year. This is a good article for the most part.

Limestone County won't hold Halloween sex-offender roundup

By Jean Cole
— The Limestone County Sheriff’s Department won’t be rounding up sex offenders to keep them away from kids on Halloween like the sheriff’s department in one southeast Alabama county.

The Russell County Sheriff's Department is requiring about 35 sex offenders who are on state probation or parole to come to the county courthouse in Phenix City on Monday night for a mandatory three-hour meeting, the Associated Press reported.

Failing to attend could lead to a parole violation and jail time.

The department is also asking 115 other sex offenders to voluntarily attend the meeting, according to the AP. Laurie Franklin, an aide to Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor, said sex offenders who voluntarily attend the meeting will receive a $20 reduction in their $80 annual registration fee, the AP reported.

During the meeting, which lasts from 6 to 9 p.m., sex offenders will hear an update on sex-offender registration requirements, Franklin said.

“I don't think it's going to take three hours,” she said. “They may show them a movie or something just so they don't have to sit there.”

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said he wouldn’t be holding such a roundup for several reasons. He does not have the authority to order sex offenders to attend and could not charge them with anything if they did not. He said he does not have the manpower to conduct such an operation. And, he believes his department is doing a good job of tracking sex offenders, whose addresses are available online.

“We don’t have authority to do that (hold a roundup), that would be up to the parole office,” Blakely said. “Logistically, we couldn’t do it with personnel and overtime. If we thought there was a problem we’d do something, but we keep a pretty good handle on them now.”

He said Investigator Mike Gunter, with assistance from Lisa Swindall, does “an excellent job” making sure new and existing sex-offenders comply with the requirements of Megan’s Law. The law requires convicted sex offenders to, among other things, register as offenders, report their whereabouts as well as seek permission before moving or changing jobs. Blakely said all of the other officers also assist with making sure convicted sex offenders comply with the law.

“If they (sex offenders) violate the requirement, they get arrested,” Blakely said.

Gunter said he monitors roughly 143 sex offenders in Limestone County. He said some of those are incarcerated in state prison or local jails. He said that while the Russell County roundup is probably a good thing, he questioned its effectiveness because the meeting would not be mandatory for most of the county’s sex offenders. He said those on state probation or parole are the only ones being required to attend. He said he monitors only “a handful” of sex offenders who would have to attend.

Also, some sex offenders are convicted for victimizing an adult. Others are young men who have had sexual intercourse with a teenage girl who is under the legal age to consent to sex. For example, an 18-year-old boy whose girlfriend is 15. These offenders are not considered a threat to young children.
For and against
Russell County is not the first county or state that has tried to keep tabs on sex offenders on Halloween.

The state of California requires paroled sex offenders who have homes to remain indoors, turn off lights and refrain from decorating and handing out candy on Oct. 31. This Halloween, 2,000 paroled sex offenders without homes must report to parole centers so they have no contact with children on Halloween. They must wear an electronic monitor so authorities can make sure they comply.

Sandi Hrozek of the Internet-based, which aims to protect children from abuse while balancing the rights of convicted sex offenders, questioned the effectiveness of such efforts in an email to the Associated Press.

“There have been studies done determining that the incidence of sexual assault on children is no higher on Halloween than any other day of the year, and there is not a single reported case on record of a child being assaulted by a registered offender while trick-or-treating. It is what some have called a solution looking for a problem,” Hrozek wrote.

Information for parents

There are other ways parents can ensure the safety of children on Halloween. They could accompany their children for trick-or-treating or check on the locations of sex offenders through websites, something the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department also encourages parents to do. Two such websites are: [I will not add public registry links here]

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloweenitis epidemic spreads to Russell County

It is time Alabama quits living in the past and base laws on facts and not prejudice. The fact is Halloween has always been one of the safest days of the year for children. Even when I was a child there were chaperones and almost no one trick-or-treated alone. Remember how when we were kids, parents would sift through candy looking for poisoned candy and razor blades in apples? Now that we are adults, we discovered besides it being an urban legend, it was an excuse to help ourselves to some choice candy. This law is based on an urban legend. This is just another dumb imported idea from other small town/ small mind areas. You can gain more facts about Halloween laws here:

I'd like to add the law in this article is REQUIRED for those on probation/ parole BUT NOT REQUIRED for those off paper. If you are off paper, tell the cops to stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

RUSSELL COUNTY, Alabama -- The Russell County Sheriff's Office has offered parents of trick-or-treaters a way to avoid houses of registered sex offenders.
The sheriff's office has partnered with the Alabama Board of Pardons & Patrol to sponsor a meeting of all registered sex offenders during the Halloween trick-or-treating hours of 6 to 9 p.m. Monday. All sex offenders on probation are required to attend the meeting at the Russell County Courthouse Commission Chambers. Those sex offenders not on probation are not required but urged to attend.
The sheriff's office reports there are approximately 150 registered sex offenders in Russell County.
The OffenderWatch tool on the sheriff's office website will show citizens where registered sex offenders live. Sheriff Heath Taylor urges residents to check the addresses of the areas you will be visiting on the holiday. The service also allows residents to register all their important addresses and receive email alerts when a registered sex offender moves into the area.
For more information, residents can call the Russell County Sheriff's Office at 334-298-6535.

PS: Offender Watch is a PRIVATE registry software company. It is not enough America is privatizing prisons, they are privatizing the public registry as well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DHR brochure on statutory rape

Alabama does not actually have a "statutory rape" law, it is simply called rape. Some time back while sitting in the DHR office, I found these brochures. They are quite unique to say the least. Whay do you think? There are brochures directed at the parents too. Click on the images to expand them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Letter to the Editor: New Sex Offender Law will cost the state much more money than it will lose

The Marion County Journal Record serves the rural area of Marion County, and does not have online service. However, this letter to the editor is a very good one and worth sharing. Below is the article, copied verbatim:

Marion County Journal Record
PO Drawer 1477
Hamilton AL 35570

September 14, 2011

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to your front page article titled, “New State Laws Govern Sex Offenders,” dated September 14, 2011.

The Laws are not needed to "prevent" anything from happening. After all it is a proven fact NO LAW PREVENTS CRIME!!! Yet this new law supposes that it can prevent crime while enforcing stricter standards on individuals who have successfully completed their sentences and the state is trying to find lame excuses to lock up these individuals.

This new law is tantamount to the legislature passing a new law that would restrict travel to anyone who has ever had a speeding ticket and require that they wear a GPS to monitor their speed while driving. The reason would be that convicted speeders are more likely to engage in future speeding so we have to monitor them.  There would be a public outcry! The difference here is that we are dealing with former sex offenders and therefore it is OK. Well, it isn’t.

This new law passed here in Alabama brings Alabama into compliance with the Adam Walsh Act (AWA), which is short for “The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.”  The controversial federal sex offender law intended to standardize sex offender laws across the country. The AWA is an attempt to pass minimum national standards and continuity in sex offender legislation. Every state must substantially comply with the SORNA (public registry) provisions of the AWA by July 2009 or take a 10% cut in Federal law enforcement grants. That deadline was extended twice, first to July 2010 then 2011.  As of the July 27, 2011 deadline, 14 states, 9 Native American tribes, and 1 US Territory have become "substantially" compliant with the AWA.

The state felt pressured to pass a quick law due to the threat of losing 10% of Byrne/ JAG funds if they failed to comply. Our state government is using “Predator Panic” to keep the flow of federal money to the state, create jobs and to make the politicians look good in the eye of the general public so they can get re-elected. It is all about the money. That, and trying to find lame excuses to lock up people who have successfully completed their sentences… keep them in the system so that the state can continue to receive funding for their programs.

Alabama did not learn from Ohio's bad example. Alabama needed only look at recent history with Ohio's battle over the AWA (known in Ohio as SB 10) to see why the law was such a bad idea. Ohio’s law has twice been declared unconstitutional, which opponents had warned would happen. Thousands of sex offenders have been or will be reclassified — two times. The funding the state stood to lose if it did not conform — typically hundreds of thousands of dollars a year — has been offset by millions spent complying with the law and defending against thousands of lawsuits. (read the full article at )

To make matters worse for the state, the new law does not allocate state funding for enforcement. Combine this fact with the fact that this law will definitely increase the prison population for petty violations; the State of Alabama will be in the same situation as Ohio, spending millions while only recouping hundred of thousands of dollars.

I would also like to mention that the Times Daily in Florence published an article on Sunday August 21, 2011 titled, “Professors warn about new sex offenders law” (read the full article at ). The article states that the effect is that the threat of going back to prison for committing new offenses may seem less objectionable than living on the outside under very restrictive rules. Some of these requirements, particularly the ones that involve informing the public about the identity and whereabouts of sex offenders, are so costly to offenders that they become more, rather than less, likely to commit more offenses.

This new law is a lose/lose situation. The new law violates Due Process Rights, Violates the U.S. Constitution Ex-Post-Facto clauses, and it is unnecessarily punitive to the individual while placing an undue burden on the former sex offender to comply. And in a time when states are experiencing a financial crisis, this new law will cost the state much more money than it will lose… money we don’t have… Money that could be used for education instead of prisons.


Richard Jackson, Jr.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Marshall County woman in land dispute with Registrant 
What is it with WAFF? This is the second stupid registrant bashing story this week. Had the man in question was not a registrant, this would not be news. Plus the woman needs to be in trouble for harassment.

Marshall County woman in land dispute with sex offender

Posted: Sep 23, 2011 7:57 PM EDT Updated: Sep 23, 2011 7:58 PM EDT

There is a land dispute in Marshall County between a woman and a convicted sex offender.
He has allegedly moved onto the woman's property without permission.
That's at 588 Newport highway just outside of grant, the property owner told us she's working to get him off her land.
The man was living next door but was picked up in a roundup last month when it was discovered a child was living there.
He then created a residence next door and law enforcement says they cannot do anything about property line disputes.
"That's definitely an issue when you have little girls running around. I mean, you worry about the children," said Karla Hardin, who says the man is on her property.
Hardin said she always worries about sex offenders living near her but she never believed it would be on her own property.
"So he lives in a shed running a power cord from his shed to his wife's single wide," said Hardin.
Sheriff's officials confirmed to WAFF 48 news that Steven Edward Southers was picked up in a recent roundup when it was determined he was living in a mobile home with a child.
But after he made bond, Hardin says he put up a shed she said is 30 feet on her property, so she sought law enforcement to have him removed.
"I went to the courthouse and I've been told to go to civil court over this because it's a property line issue," said Hardin.
Despite having a survey done Wednesday and the property line marked between the structure and his former residence, Hardin says he hasn't left.
For now Hardin told us all she can do is warn the public about who is living on her property with a sign, but she says even that caused trouble.
"Police were out here last night and they left and my sign is still hanging," said Hardin.
Southers said the deeds were messed up years ago and that he's on his own property.
Hardin says she will have to spend her money for civil court to get him off of her property.
Copyright 2011 WAFF. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"The Silver Haired Legislature" looks to out registrants in nursing homes

This is a bad idea borrowed from similar states like Oklahoma, which is trying to create segregated nursing homes for registrants. And Alabama remembers just how well segregation worked in the past, right? Another stupid report from WAFF 48. They should change their affiliation to FOX.

Cullman County, AL (WAFF) -
It's the last place you might expect to find a sex offender living, but it's places like nursing homes you would think would be the last place they could be lurking. 
Currently in Alabama, there's no law that says a nursing home has to disclose if a sex offender lives there or is being admitted. But a one group is trying to change that.
For three years, Tonya Glassco was the primary caregiver for her 79-year-old mother-in-law, Valeria Freeman.
She and her husband moved in with her and couldn't foresee ever moving out because she was in such poor health and her Alzheimer was getting worse.
When Glassco got sick, she and her husband made the decision to place her mother-in-law in a nursing home. She said it was the hardest decision she ever had to make and it was just her mother in law.
She looked at least four facilities. She asked numerous questions about the facility, its staff and policies. She also asked if there were any sex offenders living in the facility.
Hazel Bentley Kine with The Silver Haired Legislature, a group devoted to addressing the needs of our elderly, said she found out there were attacks being done to our seniors in nursing homes. So she has sponsored a resolution in the Silver Haired Legislature requiring all nursing homes to disclose if a registered sex offender is currently residing or is being admitted into a facility.
Kine said she has written a resolution for the last three years asking simply that notification be given for seniors who are in these facilities of any sexual offender that is on the premise.
Currently, no such law exists in Alabama and Representative Jeremy Oden of Cullman wants to change that. He presented a bill in the house this last session. House Bill 186 requires notification be given to all residents of any sexual offender residing in a facility.
The bill mandates that the owners of the nursing home or assisted living facility that if they receive an individual who may be a sexual predator that they first notify the residents. They also notify The Department of Senior Services and also the local district attorney there is a sex offender in that facility.
It didn't make it up for a vote this session, but Oden plans to reintroduce it in the next session.
Oden said there is no data as to how many sex offenders are living in Alabama nursing homes. He said as far as residents being assaulted, right now there's not a very good record of that but said it's a small number.
But according to a nursing home watchdog group, in 2008 there were over 1600 registered sex offenders living in facilities with seniors across the country. But members of the Silver Haired Legislature said there really is no way of knowing how many seniors are attacked in facilities, because many go unreported. [MY NOTE: Again with the underreporting myth]
Members of The Silver Haired Legislature said if residents don't remember it they can't report it. Even if it is reported, if they can't identify their predator, they can't testify against him.
Frank Brown, President of The Alabama Nursing Home Association said under Alabama law, nursing homes are prohibited from admitting anyone who might be a danger to themselves or the general population.
Nursing homes do screen potential employees for sexual offenses. But as for potential residents Brown said screenings are not required.
Brown, who also owns a nursing home, admits the association hasn't really looked closely at the bill. But he said he really doesn't see this as a problem in Alabama. He said there has been but one or two sexual instances in nursing homes in the state since his 35 years in the business.
Brown said he's not opposed to providing notification, but if nursing facilities are required to do background checks on residents, it will be an expensive process. With the average stay in a nursing facility around six months, Brown said he just doesn't think residents are at risk.
"Is a bank robber going to rob a bank from my nursing home? is a car thief going to go steal another car? folks in nursing homes are awfully sick. they don't get around to much," he said.
Members of the Silver Hair Legislature said if this bill is made into law, it would protect the facility, the residents and the families.
Carol Oden said it would be peace of mind knowing that her family member would be taken care of and she would know that they would not be mistreat in any way and they would be safe.
Glassco said that is a primary concern for her mother-in-law who she says is confined to a wheelchair. She said she just doesn't want anyone to take advantage of her. 
Until House Bill 186 becomes law, it's up to the individual to ask for information relating to sex offenders living in nursing homes and long term care facilities. Brown said if the bill picks up steam The Alabama Nursing Home Association will take a look at it, and suggest changes if needed. He said if it is a good bill, the association will support it. If it is not, they assure the bill would not pass.
Copyright 2011 WAFF. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Times Daily: Professors warn about new sex offenders law

The Times Daily has written a few good articles on the subject of sex offenders, and this article is no exception. The only criticism I have is they did not mention the state felt pressured to pass a quick law due to the threat of losing 10% of Byrne/ JAG funds if they failed to comply with SORNA.

Professors warn about new sex offenders law

By M.J. Ellington  Montgomery Bureau 

Published: Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 3:30 a.m.

Last Modified: Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 10:38 p.m.

MONTGOMERY - Alabama's new sex offender reporting law is designed to increase oversight of people who commit sex crimes, but two researchers warn if the laws are too restrictive, they may backfire and result in more, not fewer, sex offenses.
J.J. Prescott, University of Michigan Law School professor, and Jonah E. Rockoff, Columbia University Business School professor, tracked sexual offender data after states established sex offender registries. The duo did not study Alabama's new law but analyzed similar laws in other states for their report.
Rockoff said states passed stricter laws hoping to reduce the number of repeat sex offenses and make the public feel safer. But in a study encompassing several years, he and Prescott found that such requirements make “sticking to the straight and narrow much less attractive than just throwing up your hands and returning to crime,” Prescott said.
He considers the finding significant since the purpose of most of laws is to cut down on repeat crimes.
“Put differently, living life as a convicted sex offender can be pretty miserable under these laws,” Prescott said.
The effect is that the threat of going back to prison for committing new offenses may seem less objectionable than living on the outside under very restrictive rules, he said.
“... Some of these requirements, particularly the ones that involve informing the public about the identity and whereabouts of sex offenders, are so costly to offenders that they become more, rather than less, likely to commit more offenses,” Prescott said.
While Prescott's study did not track Alabama sex offenders, he said it will be extremely difficult for some sex offenders to comply with the new law's requirements. He used Alabama's requirements for homeless sex offenders as an example.
Homeless offenders in Alabama with no fixed residence must report where they are living and pay a $10 registry update fee every seven days. If they do not, they will be sent back prison under the new law, he said.
If the $10 fee stops the offender from reporting because he doesn't have the money and can't get a job because he is an offender, the state will ultimately pay more to keep him in prison. Alabama's cost per inmate per year is about $22,000.
Alabama's new law, based on a bill by Rep. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, has far-reaching registration and reporting requirements for convicted sex offenders.
“Eighty percent of it was making sure we're in compliance with the” Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Ward said.
The act, in part, establishes new crimes or expands federal jurisdiction over existing crimes in nine areas, including child abuse, kidnapping, obscenity, child pornography, use of the Internet to distribute obscenity or drugs and record-keeping. It also established new offenses and penalties for failure to register as a sex offender.
The state Department of Public Safety and the Alabama District Attorneys Association asked Ward to sponsor the bill, he said.
Local sheriff's offices and police departments are in training to learn how to enforce the law and many expect to devote at least one person on their staff to keep up with reporting changes. The law does not allocate state funding for enforcement.
Some individuals on the House and Senate committees who took up Ward's bill and a similar House bill by Rep. Blaine Galliher, R-Gadsden, said there was little controversy or discussion about the legislation.
“I was for it. There really wasn't a lot of opposition,” said Rep. Greg Burdine,
Rep Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, who is an assistant Tuscaloosa city attorney, raised questions in the House Judiciary Committee about the stringent reporting requirements.
In previous years, sex offender legislation, particularly limitations on where offenders can live, prompted concerns from legislators.
Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, was a House Judiciary Committee member from 2006-10.
She said if the state continues to lengthen the distance between a sex offender's address and community parks, day care facilities or schools, pretty soon there won't be anywhere left for offenders to live.
Jess Brown, political scientist professor at Athens State University, said the thought of sex offenses brings out strong emotions in the public, which often applauds tougher offender restrictions.
Politicians who pass the laws can go home and tell voters they are tough on crime, and few people will voice objections even if they believe the laws may be a mistake, he said.
“There is a belief in America, especially in Alabama, that you can solve a problem with tough-on-crime laws,” Brown said. “But if you continue to have harsh punishment without the likelihood of effective enforcement, then compliance goes down.”
Politics are always a part of the picture with punitive legislation, including three-strikes-and-you're-out laws that also crowd prisons with people who return on technicalities, he said.
“No prosecutor or politician is going to stand up and say we made a mistake with this law,” Brown said. “He doesn't want his opponents to use that against him in the next election.”
M.J. Ellington is the Montgomery Bureau chief for the TimesDaily. She can be reached at

Friday, August 12, 2011

Alabama's final version of the new SORNA law... all 100 pages of it

After seeing the new law I can see why there was some confusion in the media. While HB 378 got lots of attention, a similar bill, SB 296, was signed by the Governor and this is the law that passed in July 2011. Well, if you have a whole day to read it, knock yourself out. I will have my own analysis up soon. Until then, here is the link to the new law, all 100 pages of it.

I recently updated my Adam Walsh Act page on my main site at once Fallen. Feel free to check it out:

Monday, August 1, 2011

Alabama did not learn from Ohio's bad example

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -- George Santayana, The Life of Reason (1905-06)

Many people in Alabama are panicking over the revised Alabama SORNA law (which brought the state into Adam Walsh Act federal compliance) which took effect July 1, 2011, which has been covered here over the past few months. Alabama needed only look at recent history with Ohio's battle over the AWA (known in Ohio as SB 10) to see why the law was such a bad idea.

A recent editorial in the Columbus Dispatch explains it quite well (no surprise, I was one of the critics):

Ohio sex offender registry a mess

Supreme Court has twice ruled it unconstitutional

By  David Eggert
The Columbus Dispatch Sunday July 31, 2011 9:15 AM

Four years after Ohio hurried to comply with a federal law by retroactively toughening the reporting and registration requirements for sex offenders, the state could be forgiven for having buyer’s remorse.

Ohio’s law has twice been declared unconstitutional, which opponents had warned would happen.

Thousands of sex offenders have been or will be reclassified — two times.

The funding the state stood to lose if it did not conform — typically hundreds of thousands of dollars a year — has been offset by millions spent complying with the law and defending against thousands of lawsuits.

“It was a colossal boondoggle,” said Jay Macke, an assistant state public defender.

And the issue remains unsettled, despite the Ohio Supreme Court striking down more of the law this month in a decision that could have implications across the country.

In 2007, Ohio adopted the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, part of a broader 2006 federal law named for Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old Florida boy who was abducted and killed in 1981.

It won unanimous approval from the legislature partly because there was a price for not going along – a 10 percent reduction in federal law-enforcement assistance grants. The federal government in 2009 applauded Ohio for becoming the first state to “substantially implement” the sex-offender law, which created a national system for the registration of sex offenders.

Ohio offenders were reclassified into three tiers based on the crime, no longer considering their likelihood of reoffending. They had to register for longer periods and report to authorities more often, and some once considered lower-level offenders were added to the registry for life instead of a decade.

The changes were applied retroactively to 26,000 sex offenders who committed their crimes before the law went into effect in 2008, something critics at the time said was blatantly unconstitutional.

It turns out they were right.

While the Ohio Supreme Court initially declined to step in and block the law from taking effect, it struck down portions of the law in 2010, reverting 19,000 offenders back to their status under Ohio’s previous sex-offender statute, Megan’s Law.

Then, about 7,000 offenders benefited from a major ruling this month that said the law could not change their punishment after the fact.

“When we name laws after people, it’s usually a mistake,” said Jeff Gamso, former legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio who has fought Ohio’s retroactive sex-offender law. “ They’re driven by immediate passions and not by a whole lot of attention to what makes sense.”

Ohio, he said, has a lot of work ahead in deciding how to handle the fallout from the latest Supreme Court decision.

It is a crime for sex offenders to fail to register and verify their whereabouts. But some still listed on the registry would have come off by now under Megan’s Law, or possibly would not have had to register in the first place.

What if they were jailed for not registering or checking in with authorities under an unconstitutional law?

“The years of confusion continue,” Gamso said.

Attorney General Mike DeWine has another concern — making sure sex offenders affected by the latest ruling still have to sign up for the registry. His office began meeting with lawmakers last week to discuss their status.

DeWine said he is not sure yet whether new legislation will be needed.

“The court has told us what we can’t do, which we accept,” he said. “What we need to make sure is if they are still covered under the previous law.

“We have a duty to look at this and make sure we get it right.”

Sex offender George Williams of Cincinnati — one of thousands to challenge Ohio’s law — won the latest legal fight in the state’s high court. Now 23, he pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual conduct with his 14-year-old girlfriend when he was 19.

For critics, Williams is the poster child for what is wrong with the sex-offender registry.

At the time of the crime, he likely would have been labeled a sexually oriented offender and been required to register for 10 years. However, under the Adam Walsh Act provisions, he was subject to 25 years.

Williams was sentenced to two months of jail and three years of community control, similar to probation. He and the victim had a child together, and she and her family wanted him to have contact with the child.

“If I have some predator living near me, I’d like to know that. But does this really get it done?” asked Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David E. Cain.

He questioned whether the public is served by a registry with tens of thousands of offenders on it. Tougher reporting requirements and more restrictions on where offenders can live make it more likely they will not comply and leave their whereabouts unknown, he said.

“I’m not sure it ever had a chance of doing what (legislators) intended, to make the state safer from sexual offenders,” Cain said. “They have the right intentions, but they don’t always think them out too well.”

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yet more rules in the new SORNA law

This law needs to be fought. There are plenty of fees and it is obvious the intent is to circumvent previous laws that made it illegal to incarcerate individuals for being homeless.Until I can get a complete copy of the law AS PASSED, then I can't even say what other hidden rules there are. Why was the state legislature so quick to pass this bill and so quick to take it down after it was passed? Hm.

At any rate, this list is expanded from earlier reports. Once I get a full copy of the bill as passed (the final version) will post it up.

Key points of 2011 Alabama sex offender law
  • Repeals earlier sex offender law passed in 2005, but incorporates parts of later laws.
  • Requires adult sex offenders to remain in the state sex offender registry for life but makes exceptions for some younger offenders.
  • Requires offenders to report plans to be away from home address for more than three days or any out-of-state travel.
  • Requires day laborers to report when and where they will be on the job each day.
  • Requires adult offenders to verify registration information every three months and pay $10 fee for updating.
  • Requires homeless offenders to re-register and pay $10 updating fee every seven days.
  • Requires offenders defined as sexual predators or convicted of violent sexual offenses to wear a global positioning device at a cost up to $15 per day.
  • Allows offender to petition court for relief from lifelong reporting requirements if the offense was a crime only because of the victim’s age (consensual sex with a minor).
  • Requires offender to register with local law authorities within three days after moving to county and/or attending school in county.
  • Requires offender to update information within three days with every move or change in school.
  • Expands information offender must give to law enforcement to include vehicle information, telephone numbers, Internet and email addresses, palm prints, passport/immigration documents and professional licenses.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More news about the new law to take effect July 1st

It seems this new law recently passed is even worse than previously thought. The Cullman Times reports even MORE new provisions to the newest law taking effect July 1st, 2011. The Day Labor law will effectively prevent registrants from obtaining employment, as most day laborers don't even know where they will work. Who will be able to afford the fees and GPS? It is obviously a ploy to incarcerate those on the list.

A few other significant changes to the sex offender law include:
  • Registered sex offenders who are homeless are required to check in once a week.
  • Those who do day labor must provide local law enforcement with details about where and when they will be working each day.
  • Sex offenders will have to pay a $10 fee every time they register. That same fee will also be charged for every move.
  • A travel permit is required through local law enforcement if a sex offender plans to be away from their residence for more than three days or if they plan to travel outside the area.
  • Those sex offenders who have been classified as sexual predators or convicted of sexually violent crimes will be required to wear a Global Positioning System (GPS) for 10 years, at their own expense.
  • Some youthful offenders and juveniles, those charged with more serious sex crimes, will have to register for a lifetime instead of 10 years.