Monday, April 25, 2016

Residency restrictions cause problems finding help for homeless registrants in Mobile

I wrote a far better headline than this reporter did.

Tent City Poses Dangers To The Community
Alison Spann
By Alison Spann
Published: April 24, 2016, 9:48 pm  Updated: April 24, 2016, 10:40 pm

Tent city is a homeless camp located less than a mile from downtown Mobile. Several tents are dispersed in a wooded area off of Conception Street Road. Police have identified 28 people who live at the camp, 8 of which are registered sex offenders.

According to Lt. Rowland, Mobile Police Department, the 8 sex offenders have a registered address of “Tent City.”

The camp is littered with human waste and  a ton of trash. Three Mile Creek runs through the homeless camp which makes way for feces and other trash to trickle into Mobile Bay, and in some cases even Mobile’s Water Supply.

Lt. Rowland said, “All of this trash and human waste ends up in the river, which ends up in the bay, which ends up- some of it in the water supply.”

These are just a few of the issues that prompted MPD to shut the camp down. On May 6th, everyone must go.

There are several volunteer organizations working with MPD to aid the homeless in finding housing. Rowland said, “we’re trying to facilitate the different agencies, get these people in touch with 15 Place, the Salvation Army, etc.”

Jennifer Greene, with Delta Dogs, even helps with the care of the animals that live in tent city. They provide the dogs with healthcare as well as provide them with access to food and water.

However, Lt. Rowland says that finding housing for sex offenders is difficult. Sex offenders don’t qualify for many of the housing options that other homeless do.

There are two weeks left until the area has to be cleared out. Officials are actively working to shut tent city down and find real housing for those that live there.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Take the Once Fallen Police Compliance Check Survey -- Take the Once Fallen Police/ Compliance Check Survey

Dear registrant or loved one of a registrant,

Perhaps one of the most stressful experiences we face as those forced to register as “sex offenders” is having a uniformed member of law enforcement coming to your house to perform a “compliance check” or “address verification” operation. This survey is designed to gauge the experiences of registered citizens or their loved ones while subjected to one of these “random” compliance/ address checks. (For purposes of this survey, I prefer to use the term “registered citizens” or “registrants” as opposed to the term “registered sex offender.”)

QUALIFICATIONS: You must be either a registered citizen OR someone living with a registered citizen AND experienced an at-home or at-work compliance check at least once since being forced to register or, if you are the loved one of a registrant, have personally witnessed the check of the registrant. If you have NOT experienced an in-home or at-work compliance check, then DO NOT complete this survey.

If you have questions about this survey, contact me at or call me at 513-238-2873.

Derek W. Logue of

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hb 245: Restoring voting rights to disenfranchised people

ReFORM-AL strongly supports this bill. It restores voting rights for everyone convicted of a crime.

HB 245 summary

Under existing law, a person convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude is prohibited from voting until he or she has been released upon completion of a sentence, has been pardoned, has completed probation or parole, and has paid any victim restitution. Restoration of voting rights is made through an application to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

  •   This bill would provide for the automatic restoration of voting rights of a person who has been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude when he or she is discharged from incarceration.
  •   This bill would specify responsibilities of the Secretary of State concerning such voter restoration.
  •   This bill would provide for absentee voting for persons who are eligible to vote and are incarcerated.
  •   This bill would repeal the provisions of state law that provide the procedure for the Board of Pardons and Paroles to restore the voting rights of a convicted felon.
  •   This bill would also establish a temporary legislative oversight committee and a task force to monitor the restoration of voting rights.

Alabama pastor wins round in freedom of religion lawsuit

Triumph Church

It is a small victory. The battle is far from over.

Alabama pastor wins round in freedom of religion lawsuit

By Mike Cason | 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on April 07, 2016 at 8:38 AM
A Chilton County pastor has won a round in his federal lawsuit challenging a state law that ended his residential ministry for sex offenders.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins on Wednesday denied the state's requests to dismiss the claims by Ricky Martin, who sued in 2014.

Martin, pastor of the Triumph Church, provided housing for sex offenders who were released from prison in campers on property he owned behind the church.

Martin and his wife live next door to the church, which is on the outskirts of Clanton.

About a dozen men normally lived there at one time, a total of about 60 during the whole time Martin operated the settlement, according to Watkins' order.

State law restricts where sex offenders can live. For example, they cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school or child care facility.

Two years ago, the Legislature passed a bill, pertaining only to Chilton County, that prohibited two or more registered sex offenders from living on the same property unless the homes were at least 300 feet apart.

That forced Martin to evict the men living on his property.

In his lawsuit, Martin claimed the law infringed upon his right to freely practice his religion under the First Amendment, among other claims.

Chilton County District Attorney Randall Houston, named as defendant in the case, asked the court to dismiss it.

But Watkins ruled on Wednesday that Martin had sufficiently made a claim that the law "creates a burden on his sincerely held religious beliefs," allowing the case to proceed.

Watkins also allowed Martin to proceed on claims that the law is a "bill of attainder" because it singled him out and that the law violates his due process rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama is representing Martin in the case.

"We're really quite encouraged by the judge's opinion," ALCU of Alabama Legal Director Randall Marshall said Wednesday.

The attorney general's office, which represents Houston, declined comment.

C.J. Robinson, a prosecutor with the Chilton County district attorney's office, told the Associated Press two years ago that he did not doubt the sincerity of Martin's ministry, but said it was not safe having that many sex offenders in one place.

Former state Rep. Kurt Wallace of Maplesville said at the time he sponsored the bill that families who lived near the church were worried about the safety.