|Mike Hale, Jefferson Co. Sheriff|
Lawmen track registered sex offenders displaced by the storm
Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 12:12 PM Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 12:22 PM
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Sex Offender unit identified 10 registered sex offenders that lived in the neighborhoods hit by Monday's EF-3 twister. Of those, six of them had been hit by the storm, said sheriff's Sgt. Jacob Reach.
"We went out and rode all the affected areas and checked on addresses," Reach said. "We're going to make sure we know where they are."
Post-storm tracking of sex offenders became an issue following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. An estimated 2,000 registered sex offenders fled the Gulf region to seek shelter in other states, and some vanished from the required tracking all together.
All states are required to have sex offender registries, and people convicted of sexually violent offenses are required to register their current addresses.
The confusion that followed led to new requirements that the Federal Emergency Management Agency share with law enforcement contact information on registered sex offenders receiving disaster assistance.
Reach said the sex offenders affected by this week's storm lived on the northwest and northeast sides of Center Point, and a section off Old Springville Road in the Clay area. Some had structural damage; others simply were forced to leave because of a lack of electricity. "We were able to locate them and know where they were going to be staying," Reach said.
One of them, he said, was found to be living somewhere other than the address he had registered. Deputies are obtaining a warrant against that man. Reach said detectives did the same thing after the April 27 storms.
"We have to," he said, "because unfortunately an offender can attempt to take advantage of the situation and put himself back where potential victims are." The sheriff's office currently tracks 748 registered sex offenders.
Birmingham police also monitor registered sex offenders following storms, but said none of their 620 were affected by this week's storms. "In April we had two that lost their homes and had been displaced," said Sgt. Scott Thurmond. He said some do try to take advantage of the situation; others are simply overwhelmed and not thinking clearly. "It's probably the last thing on their mind when they've lost everything," he said. "When we found them, they went immediately and registered." "We're just trying to ensure the public safety by knowing where they are," Thurmond said, "and knowing that they are living at a compliant address."
© 2012 al.com. All rights reserved.
On to another story, the state of Louisiana is pulling out all the stops on persecuting, er, prosecuting the infamous Crimson Tide Teabagger. It seems the LSU fan who was the victim is the second cousin of the sheriff who signed the warrant for his arrest. Now he's facing 10 years and a lifetime on the sex offender registry. Overkill for an act done in poor taste if you ask me. My opinion, 90 days and community service with some reparations but not the registry. That's bullshit.
Defense lawyers for Alabama fan accused of assault begin public rhetoric tour
Posted by Ben Kercheval on January 27, 2012, 5:01 PM EST
Well, what else are they going to do? Their client is accused of sexual battery against an unconscious LSU fan. Might as well come out swinging.
And that’s just what the lawyers for Brian Downing, the man connected to that famous post-BCS championship game video, uploaded to YouTube and later picked up byDeadspin.com, have done.
In a statement released by lawyers Miles Swanson and Michael Kennedy,Downing’s alleged actions are downgraded to what appears to be similar to frat house hazing, which I also believe has been outlawed in some states. The two lawyers go on to call a possible 10-year jail sentence should Downing be convicted “a little troubling.”
“The eighteen year old victim was never physically harmed and, in fact, was so intoxicated that he would have had no recollection of the incident, but for a video posted online,” , the two wrote in a statement. “Any ‘harm’ is entirely post hoc and amplified by media.
“[The accusation] demeans the real and serious trauma of actual victims of sexual violence.”
The New Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office has yet to bring charges in the case.
“[Downing] has already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion,” the lawyers say. “He has been fired from his job and suffers continual harassment by the public and media.”
Downing, a 32-year-old from Alabama, turned himself into authorities last week after New Orleans police issued an alert for the individual connected to the video. As it turned out, Downing’s second cousin was a local sheriff who made the call to bring Downing to police. Downing was later set free on $10,000 bond.