Friday, October 20, 2017

Trick or Treat

This morning I got up to listen to the crime/weather/traffic report, in other communities that would be news but here they throw in sports at least to break up the lather/rinse/repeat newscasts that dominate Nashville's local news.  When it is a slow crime day they add crime reports from other regions to fill the down time.  News, national or international, is apparently for educated folks aka "Liberals" and as I have well documented there are few of either here in the land of 1/4th illiterate.

I still love the day I offered The New York Times to a man whose response was "I don't read that fake news."  Yes, no thank you would have been sufficient. Ah Southern Hospitality you just can't beat it!

As I am having coffee, the Alert Desk, announced the sweep and enforcement of what I assume are nearby trailer parks to ensure that the Sex Offenders on the registry are following with the compliance regulations that are required as a part of their lifetime of probation.  Sex Offenders are forever branded just to make sure they never get on with their lives ever and are stigmatized in the community FOREVER.

Now let's talk about the junk data and science behind this logic and in turn the many many "crimes" that are listed as sexual offenses that gets you placed on this list.  Well Harvey Weinstein would be living in said trailer park with his neighbor Bill Cosby and some Catholic Priests if this was truly a system that worked, so right there it is utter bullshit.

I have said that true sex offenders should be placed in Jail then there get the appropriate treatment accompanied with said punishment to understand the history behind the offense and in turn the care needed to ensure that the offender will never be compelled to harm others again.  And like anything with regards to Psychiatry we cannot be sure if they will do so in the future but for many it is possible that they were abused and harmed as a child and have not been been treated for this abuse so for many they may be treatable.  And in high risk cases the need for close observation may in fact be necessary to ensure compliance.

We also have innocent people and many children who have texted photos of genitalia and in turn sexual encounters with each other that while consensual were illegal under the law.  My personal favorite, a Mother.  And of course innocent individuals who were caught up in stings and other sweeps that include soliciting Prostitutes.  We are obsessed with sex and drugs/booze in this country and it is clear that many of our "convictions" and penalities are tied to that hyped up fears.  We can thank Evangelicals for most of this paranoia and judgement call.  They are fucked up sad hateful folk who cannot stay out of anyone's business under the guise of religion.

These are the same people that eschew Science but Junk Science not a problem. And these are the same budget hawks yet the costs to taxpayers from the endless incarcerations, Police malfeseance and Prosecutorial misconduct goes ignored for reasons that I assume are vested less in Christianity and more in Racism.   For here in the South the law can do no wrong.  And looking at the nascent early days of Black Lives Matter there were numerous incidents of Police violence but the South rose to the top of the charts for their issues with murder by cop.

So are these "registries" a way to spend tax payer dollars and ensure a safe community?   No.  Sorry they are bullshit.  

I was pleased to see Colorado recognize the idiocy and futility of these registry's and in turn note they are unconstitutional.  The endless stigma and branding of those who have served their time and in turn have been released and are trying to rejoin society was the point of the internment but apparently no we want people to pay forever for any number of crimes.

Currently in California they are working to change this in getting expunging and sealing records for felony convictions or getting them reduced to misdemeanors  to get people working and back into society.  This system is new to the region and is proving to be challenging but for many life changing as it enables them to vote, find employment and housing.  All ways to improve their lives and reduce this recidivism that we so fear.  And other States are following suit and this is the way to circumvent the crazy that is currently in the Justice Department.

Colorado sex offender registration act is unconstitutional, federal judge declares
Ruling could set stage for changes nationwide to the way citizen get access to the list

By Kirk Mitchell | | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: September 1, 2017

A federal court judge’s ruling finding that Colorado’s sex-offender registry violated the Constitutional rights of three sex offenders who sued could change the way the public gets access to the list.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch found that the Colorado Sex Offender Registration Act violates the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the due-process rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Thursday’s ruling came in a civil case filed against Colorado Bureau of Investigation director Michael Rankin in 2013 by registered sex offenders David Millard, Eugene Knight and Arturo Vega.

Matsch found that the men are entitled to compensation and attorney fees, which will be determined later.

Technically, the ruling only applies to the three plaintiffs in the case, but it could lead to more universal impact — particularly if the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the decision on appeal, said Boulder attorney Alison Ruttenberg, the attorney for the three plaintiffs. There are similar cases in other states challenging sex-offender registries.

Ruttenberg said she expects the cases will eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I would characterize this as a landmark case. My goal eventually is to get rid of this sex offender registration altogether, at least as it applies to a public registry that people can pull up on a website,” Ruttenberg said Friday. “I would be surprised if the state doesn’t appeal the decision.”

Ruttenberg said that faulty research suggests that sex offenders have a high recidivism rate when only 5 percent of offenders are arrested for new crimes.

Matsch found that Colorado’s registration act poses a “serious threat of retaliation, violence, ostracism, shaming, and other unfair and irrational treatment from the public” for sex offenders and their families.

“The registry is telling the public — DANGER, STAY AWAY. How is the public to react to this warning? What is expected to be the means by which people are to protect themselves and their children?” Matsch wrote in his ruling.

In answering his own question, he determined the law exposes sex offenders to punishments “not by the state, but by fellow citizens.”

“The fear that pervades the public reaction to sex offenses — particularly as to children — generates reactions that are cruel and in disregard of any objective assessment of the individual’s actual proclivity to commit new sex offenses,” Matsch wrote. “The failure to make any individual assessment is a fundamental flaw in the system.”

The ruling also criticized Colorado lawmakers who claimed that the sex offender act is not punitive.

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office issued a statement on the ruling: “We are looking at the opinion and will take steps to ensure we are complying with the law. It’s too early to know what specific steps the legislature might take, but we must adhere to Constitutional protections.”

Nancy Lewis, executive director of Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance, said she doesn’t condone harassment of sex offenders but said the registry serves a critical purpose.

“I’m sorry there are people who would harass people because that is illegal, too,” Lewis said. “But we are trying to contain (convicted sex offenders) and hold them accountable.”

Matsch wrote that public shaming and banishment are forms of punishment considered cruel and unusual under the Eighth Amendment.

Each of the plaintiffs in the case sufficiently described instances where they were punished outside of the judicial system, Matsch wrote. Millard, for example, said he “suffered the indignity of being unable to find housing despite hundreds of applications.”

Another time, he was forced to move because of a TV news story focusing on sex offenders in apartment housing.

“Other evidence shows that these experiences are not isolated or unusual and that plaintiff’s experiences, fears and anxieties are not exaggerated or imagined,” Matsch wrote.

Matsch cited Englewood’s zoning ordinances that limit how near sex offenders can live to schools, day-care centers and other locations where children congregate, such as public swimming pools.

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