April 16, 2014

St. Louis police using postcard to shame 'johns' who get prostitutes

4-16-2014 Missouri:

Program will begin in Carondelet and Holly Hills neighborhoods.

ST. LOUIS, April 16 (UPI) -- In an effort to crack down on “johns" who are soliciting prostitutes in town, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department will begin sending a postcard to men who are caught trying to pick up ladies of the night.

The postcard reminds the johns that their “lewd, lascivious and/or suggestive behavior (including but not limited to prostitution, solicitation and prostitution loitering) are a violation of city ordinance and state law” and includes a court date. ..Source.. by Evan Bleier

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Federal judge orders Livingston County jail to stop intercepting mail from ACLU

4-16-2014 Michigan:

HOWELL, Michigan — A judge has ordered the Livingston County jail to stop intercepting mail sent to inmates from the American Civil Liberties Union. Federal Judge Denise Page Hood signed a restraining order last week after the ACLU complained it got no response to two dozen letters sent in February.

Jail administrator Tom Cremonte says officials don't deliver legal mail to inmates unless it's from a lawyer who is representing an inmate. He says the jail also gets suspicious about mass mailings.

But the judge says a prisoner doesn't have to designate a lawyer who is sending mail. Hood says higher courts have ruled that mail from the ACLU is confidential mail.

Separately, Livingston County is being sued over its refusal to distribute a journal titled Prison Legal News. ..Source.. by The Republic

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NEW Bill in Congress: A New Registry and "for other purposes," that portion should scare us!

4-16-2014 Washington DC:
The following bill has been introduced in Congress, readers may wish to review.

HR-4452 A bill to establish a corporate crime database, and for other purposes.
Under the authority of section 534 of title 28, United States Code, and in accordance with this Act, the Attorney General shall acquire data, for each calendar year, regarding all administrative, civil, and criminal judicial proceedings initiated or concluded by the Federal Government and State governments against any corporation or corporate official acting in an official capacity involving a felony or misdemeanor charge or any civil charge where potential fines may be $1,000 or more.

The Attorney General shall establish and maintain a publicly available Web site with a database of information regarding improper conduct by all corporations with revenues, as determined under rules prescribed by the Attorney General, of over $1,000,000,000 per annum.

Notice the trickery, the public registry will only show if the company has income over $1,000,000,000 per annum. Why only those? Who does this protect? You be the judge...contact your folks in Washington with your thoughts.

For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.

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Steven Powell asks state to pay for treatment

So the State only has to comply with a Judge's order, if it feels like it? The State had no problem keeping him incarcerated, why did they stop with that portion of the Judge's order?
4-16-2014 Washington:

He was ordered to get sex offender treatment, but wasn’t offered it while incarcerated; state says he didn’t qualify

Convicted voyeur Steven Powell wants the state to pick up the tab for his court-ordered sex offender treatment.

In a motion filed April 2 in Pierce County Superior Court, Powell — the father-in-law of presumed murder victim Susan Cox Powell — argues that the state Department of Corrections did not make sex offender treatment available to him while he was in prison as it should have.

He wants a judge to order the department to pay for his treatment now that he’s been released.

In a response filed Tuesday, John Samson, an assistant state attorney general who represents the Corrections Department, said Powell is wrong. He did not qualify for sex offender treatment while in prison, and corrections officials were within their discretion to deny it to him, Samson wrote.

“Powell fails to cite a single statute that mandates the department to provide him with sex offender treatment,” the assistant attorney general wrote. “Powell cannot cite such a statute because no such statute exists.”

Judge Ronald Culpepper is to hear arguments on the matter Friday.

Powell, 64, was convicted in Pierce County two years ago of multiple counts of voyeurism for photographing two school-age girls as they bathed and used the toilet in the house next door to his Puyallup-area home. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison and also ordered to undergo sex offender treatment.

Powell was released late last month.

In his motion, Powell contends Sally Nieland, superintendent of the Twin Rivers correctional unit near Monroe, should have offered him a spot in a year-long treatment program when he was transferred there in August 2012 even though he was eligible, because of good behavior, for release nine months later.

Nieland declined to enroll Powell in the program, in part because he was not scheduled to be at Twin Rivers for the year necessary to complete it.

Powell argued in his handwritten motion that Nieland knew the likelihood of his getting out in nine months was slim and that she should have put him in the program. Indeed, the Corrections Department kept Powell locked up until March 23, which was at the end of his maximum sentence.

Powell contends the department now is unfairly forcing him to pay for his sex offender treatment.

“DOC has notified defendant that he will begin (treatment) with a therapist, at his own expense, on April 7, 2014, barely two weeks after his release from TRU prison,” Powell wrote in his pleading. “Defendant respectfully asks this court to issue a writ of mandamus requiring DOC to pay for defendant’s court-ordered (treatment).”

Samson said in his response that Powell is citing a statute that regulates treatment of a different level of convicted sex offender: Mainly sex offenders sentenced to a minimum term of incarceration with the maximum term to be determined by the state’s Indeterminate Sentence Review Board.

While those people qualify for treatment in prison, Powell was not sentenced under that scheme, the assistant attorney general said, so the state had no duty to provide him treatment.

“Finally, Powell cannot show any authority that requires the department to pay for Powell’s treatment in the community,” Samson wrote.

The case against Powell began in 2011 when detectives searched his home looking for clues into the disappearance of his daughter-in-law. Powell’s son, Josh Powell, was under investigation in the disappearance and presumed murder of his wife at the time.

Susan Cox Powell disappeared from the family home in Utah five years ago.

During the search, detectives found a disc containing photographs and video of girls and women in various stages of undress. Steve Powell later was charged with voyeurism, and a jury convicted him at trial in May 2012.

Josh Powell, who was never charged in his wife’s disappearance, killed his and Susan Cox Powell’s two young sons and himself in Pierce County in February 2012.

Some of Susan Cox Powell’s relatives and friends believe Steve Powell knows what happened to her, but he has remained quiet. ..Source.. by ADAM LYNN

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April 15, 2014

Oregon prison officials didn't violate civil rights of imprisoned sex offender, judge rules

4-15-2014 Oregon:

A judge has ruled against an imprisoned sex offender who sued officials at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, alleging that they subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment from other inmates.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon heard testimony in February that extortion and assaults are routine among the 1,700 inmates in the Pendleton prison known as EOCI, and that the most vulnerable of them include sex offenders, the elderly, the disabled, and those who quit prison gangs.

Inmate David George Chandler, serving a long prison term for rape and sodomy in Clackamas County, accused prison officials in a 2008 lawsuit of violating his civil rights by mixing sex offenders with prisoners in the general population. His lawsuit alleged "endemic harassment, menacing, intimidation, coercion, extortion, and assault."

But Chandler's only evidence of physical harm came in 2005, when he complained to a prison staffer that a fellow inmate in an 80-prisoner mental-health dorm grabbed him by the throat, slapped him and called him "rape-o." Chandler required no medical attention.

Simon heard the case in a novel two-day bench trial inside the prison administration building.

He ruled Friday that Chandler failed to prove three key elements of his case: that he faced a substantial risk of serious harm; that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to the excessive risks he claimed to face; and that the prison wrongly failed to put him into protective custody.

Simon's 20-page ruling concludes: "Based on the evidence presented at trial, the court finds in favor of the defendants."

The judge's findings are sprinkled with glimpses of the cruel environment inside EOCI, much of it taken from the testimony of three sex offenders who served time there.

All three of the inmates testified that they had faced extortion demands, and two of them paid the money – through their prison commissary accounts – for a time. A third was assaulted for refusing to pay what is known as "rent."

"On one occasion someone attempted to extort this witness," Simon wrote. "When he lived in the general population housing unit, he was told that all sex offenders in that housing unit were paying rent. He refused to pay and was eventually assaulted in his housing unit." ..Source.. by Bryan Denson

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Springfield 'sex offender house' gets 2-month reprieve

4-15-2014 Missouri:

Thirty days ago, the City of Springfield gave residents of 1809 E. Crestview St. exactly 30 days to clear out. Today, the residents of the home — some sex offenders, some parolees, some drug addicts — are staying put.

An appeal filed today by Recovery Chapel, which operates the so-called group home, has delayed action against the house for at least two more months.

Last month city staffers investigated the halfway house at the urging of neighbors. Many seemed most concerned about the number of residents who appeared on the Greene County sex offender registry.

At the time, there were five. Today, there are two.

During city staffers' investigation of the home, they determined the home did not meet the zoning requirements of a group home.

The director of building development services wrote that the house acts more as a "community corrections facility" than a group home because of the high number of residents on probation and parole.

The city gave the residents 30 days to move or disband.

But today, a St. Louis-based attorney filed a formal appeal with the city on behalf of Recovery Chapel.

That means enforcement of the 30-day notice will be delayed until the case is heard by the city's Board of Adjustment, a five-member board made of members nominated by the City Manager and appointed by City Council.

The appeal is scheduled to go before the board June 3.

Chaplain Farris Robertson, who has fought the city's action against the Crestview house, confirmed the home continues to operate as usual. ..Source.. by Jess Rollins, News-Leader

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April 13, 2014

CITY OF CARSON SEX OFFENDER ORDINANCE CHALLENGED IN FEDERAL COURT

4-13-2014 California:

A sex offender ordinance adopted by Carson, a city located within Los Angeles County, is the subject of a lawsuit filed today in Federal district court. This is the fourth lawsuit to be filed in four weeks challenging a city’s sex offender ordinance that includes restrictions regarding where more than 105,000 individuals can be present.

Specifically, the Carson ordinance prohibits registered citizens from being present in or within 300 feet of a wide range of locations including schools, parks, library, swimming pools, and bus stops. A registered citizen who violates the ordinance is subject to incarceration for a period up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000 for each day of violation.

“The lawsuit filed against the City of Carson is the unfortunate result of two failed attempts to reach a settlement agreement,” stated CA RSOL President Janice Bellucci. “The City offered to stay enforcement of the presence restrictions in the ordinance, however, that offer was made available to some, not all, registered citizens. The lawsuit was filed in order to protect the state and federal constitutions by restoring the civil rights of all registered citizens.”

The sex offender ordinance was adopted by Carson in 2008 and is in violation of both the federal and state constitutions. The provisions of the ordinance directly affect all registered citizens in the state of California as well as indirectly affect an additional 400,000 individuals who are family members.

The Carson ordinance is based upon two myths: (1) that registered citizens have a high rate of re-offense and (2) that strangers commit sexual assaults. The true rates of re-offense*, according to state and federal government reports, are 1.9 percent for registrants on parole and 5.3 percent for registrants overall. More than 90 percent of sexual assaults upon children are committed not by strangers but by family members, teachers, coaches and clergy.**

“The presence restrictions within the Carson ordinance are inconsistent with recent decisions of the California Court of Appeals which invalidated two ordinances – one by the City of Irvine and the other by the County of Orange – as being preempted by existing state law,” stated CA RSOL board member and attorney Chance Oberstein. “The court held that the state statutory scheme imposing restrictions on a sex offender’s daily life fully occupied the field.”***

California RSOL sent a letter to Carson and more than 70 additional cities within California on January 20 notifying them of the recent Court of Appeal decisions and that the sex offender ordinances the cities had adopted were inconsistent with those decisions. California RSOL requested in those letters that the cities repeal their ordinances within 60 days or face a potential legal challenge.

Subsequent to issuance of the California RSOL letter, the cities of Costa Mesa and El Centro repealed their sex offender ordinances. Several additional cities, including Anaheim, Grand Terrace, and South Pasadena have agreed in writing not enforce their sex offender ordinances pending a decision from the California Supreme Court whether to grant review of the California Court of Appeal decisions.

“Future legal challenges by sex offenders can be expected of cities that have failed to either repeal their sex offender ordinances or agree in writing to stay enforcement of those ordinances,” stated Bellucci.

The first in a series of legal challenges to city ordinances was filed on March 24 against the City of Pomona; the second on March 31 against the City of South Lake Tahoe; and the third on April 8 against National City. All lawsuits have been filed in Federal district courts. ..Source.. by CA RSOL

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April 12, 2014

Amputee inmate sues central Indiana sheriff, says he was hurt after jail put him in upper bunk

3-20-2014 Indiana:

An amputee sued a central Indiana jail Thursday that he said repeatedly placed him in an upper bunk from which he fell and was injured when he damaged his prosthetic leg.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the federal lawsuit against the Tippecanoe County sheriff on Thursday. County jails in Indiana, including the jail in Lafayette, are administered by the local sheriff's department.

Anthony Overla, 28, said he was repeatedly placed in the 6-foot-high bunk, which had no ladder, forcing him to jump to get down. On one jump the jar damaged his prosthesis and caused a screw to break in half, and metal from the screw pierced his stump, he said. The resulting infection was inadequately treated and eventually led to MRSA, the complaint said.

Overla also was forced to hop around on one leg to take a shower and fell several times, according to the lawsuit. Jail officers generally ignored his complaints, the suit claimed, and a doctor told him his condition was untreatable and gave him Tylenol and an ice pack.

Overla, whose right leg is amputated below the knee, is serving a term for failing to register as a sex offender.

The ACLU cites violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the federal Rehabilitation Act, and a state law that obligates county sheriffs to "(t)ake care of the county jail and the prisoners there."

The Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Department in Lafayette didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Last October, Overla was transferred to the state's Plainfield Correctional facility, where he was treated and his prosthesis repaired, the suit said.

Before that, however, the suit alleges that the jail commander and other jail officers sat in on a phone call between Overla and his ACLU attorneys at which the commander, Denise Saxton, told him, "No judge will side with an inmate." ..Source.. by Charles D. Wilson

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April 11, 2014

Court overturns coach's sexual exploitation case

4-11-2014 Iowa:

The conviction of a former Bloomfield basketball coach who had sex with a 16-year-old girl on his team was thrown out Friday by the Iowa Supreme Court in a ruling that says coaches without teaching licenses are not school employees under the law and can't be convicted of sexual exploitation by a school employee.

The divided court's 5-2 decision said the conviction of Patrick Nicoletto, 36, must be dismissed.

Nicoletto was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison in 2012 with an additional requirement that he register with the state as a sex offender for 10 years. He never went to prison and has been free on bail during the appeal process, said his attorney Keith Rigg.

The court's opinion will no doubt "surprise school officials, parents, and coaches who had assumed the same law that made it illegal for a teacher to engage in sexual activity with students also applied to coaches," wrote Justice Thomas Waterman in his dissenting opinion that called the majority decision absurd.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Brent Appel, focuses on how Iowa law defines a school employee. Under the sexual exploitation law and Iowa Code a school employee is defined as a teacher, administrator or other licensed professional.

Prosecutors argued that the coaching authorization Nicoletto was required to hold to be a part-time assistant coach fit the definition of licensed professional.

"To apply the term 'licensed professional' to Nicoletto, who worked the night shift at a pipe manufacturer and received a very small stipend for his coaching services, would not comport with our longstanding rule of narrowly construing criminal statutes," he court said.

The opinion pointed out that several states including Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania specifically include coaches in their sexual exploitation laws, demonstrating the ease with which the Iowa Legislature could draw coaches into the law.

"We emphasize that it is not the province of this court to speculate about probable legislative intent without regard to the wording of the statute, and any determination must be based upon what the legislature actually said rather than on what it might have said or should have said," the court wrote.

Waterman, who was joined in his dissent by Justice Edward Mansfield, wrote under the majority opinion "Nicoletto may lawfully have consensual sex with 16-year-old girls he coaches — conduct that would land their classroom teacher in prison. He would be legally obligated to report a teacher who did what he did, but not himself. This is absurd."

"The ball is now in the Legislature's court to amend (the Iowa Code) to close this new loophole," Waterman wrote.

A spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General's office, which argued for the state, said lawmakers might want to consider action.

"We stand ready to provide input on any proposed legislation," said Geoff Greenwood.

Rigg said if the Legislature considers a measure that includes coaches in the sexual exploitation law, he hopes they keep in mind that often assistant coaches can be 18 or 19 years old and the law needs to be crafted in a way that doesn't result in one teenager dating another gets convicted and sentenced to five years in prison because he's also a coach.

"If they want to fix it that's fine but they need to fix it so that we don't end up doing something worse," he said.

Nicoletto was an assistant girls basketball coach at Bloomfield from 2007 through 2009. Court records say he and the student began having sex during the school year and in the summer of 2008. The student was a junior at the school. He was arrested in 2011.

Nicoletto continues to live in Bloomfield and is listed on the state sex offender's registry.

Rigg said the state could ask the court to review its ruling but that unusual. It's likely the court will issue an order to dismiss the case and Nicoletto's conviction will be reversed and he'll be removed from the registry. ..Source.. by David Pitt

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