Families Affirming Community Safety (FACTS)

December 18, 2009

A Reality Check on Bruning, Kleine

Filed under: Fact Check — constitutionaldefense @ 7:42 am
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Here is a reality check about Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star coverage of legal questions about the constitutionality of LB 285.
First off, Stu Dornan got it right: “If the constitution doesn’t protect all of us, it protects none of us.”

Now, about those who got it wrong:
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said: “This is a group of people who are obviously very unhappy they are caught, and they’re going to challenge everything.”
The FACT is: This is a group of people who have paid dearly for their crimes, succeeded in therapy, and have become productive members of our community. They have families and jobs and they pose little or no threat. They are unhappy that LB 285 strips them of their constitutional rights and will destroy their lives.

Bruning and Kleine both implied/stated that this was about public safety.
The FACT is: Many of the actions that become felonious under this law are already a felony.  Yes, it’s already a felony to prowl the internet for child victims.   This law makes normal legitimate healthy activities felonious on top of that.  It takes an enormous pool of people, who have already been clinically checked, and deemed “non dangerous”, and pools them in with a group who have already been deemed “dangerous”.  The law then presents this very large pool to the public and basically makes you decide if they are dangerous or not.  Many of these people have no victims, but their life is over once they are placed on the public registry.  Every study done on this law states that this will make it more confusing to the public, and make registrants less likely to be able to complete therapy.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine: “These laws have a very important purpose to empower the public to protect their neighbor, their children and their schools.”
The FACT is: Experts agree, and experience elsewhere has shown, that these laws increase danger to the public.  Is the public better served with a low risk registrant working full time living with his family or unemployed, homeless, and hopeless? 

Bruning said if shared computers are an issue, adding a second one to the home that’s off-limits to the sex offender is one solution.
“It’s not unrealistic for households to have more than one computer,” he said.
The FACT is: LB285 forces the registrant to sign a consent form, permitting law enforcement to search all computers or electronic communication devices possessed by the person, and allowing law enforcement to install hardware or software to monitor the person’s Internet usage on all the computers or electronic communication devices possessed by the person.  This shows Bruning doesn’t even understand this law because there’s no way by law a computer in the home could not be considered possessed by a registrant.  All family members will be monitored.

Bruning stated this new law made things “simpler”.
The FACT is: The new law strips all due process rights, the rights to appeal, the rights to present evidence on your own behalf, and numerous other rights.  It stops using “risk” to place a registrant, and just lumps anyone convicted of a crime, loosely related to sex, into one huge pool. 

Bruning stated that under the old system, registrants were often appealing their level.
The FACT is: Under the old system, only extenuating and negative aspects of the case were looked at.  Therapy, rehabilitation, and mitigating circumstances were intentionally ignored.  Under the old system, even a victim impact statement was ignored.  If a registrant wanted to present any of these items, the only possibility was to file an appeal, so that the “good”  items could be considered in determining the risk level.  The frequency of appeals was simply due to a flaw in the scoring, because it only looked at negatives.  As offenders would complete therapy and rehabilitation, their only choice was to file an appeal again, to get this new information taken into their “risk” level.

Bruning stated he “was confident” that this would withstand a constitutional challenge, and that similar laws like this were already challenged and stood.
The FACT is: This law is so incredibly unconstitutional that it is shocking.  Read the complaint — the law violates nearly every aspect of the Bill of Rights.  Bruning’s statement seriously brings into question his understanding of the U.S. Constitution.  More than that, this law is unique, in that it restricts registrants from communication with their spouse and employer.  No other law has EVER been written that was this overly broad.  He may be referring to Smith v Doe 2001 in the U.S. Supreme Court, but that decision does more to prove this is unconstitutional, than it does to support it.

Kleine argued that a person’s computer at work is already monitored by the person’s employer. “This may create a hardship for some offenders, but that’s not our concern. Our concern is to empower the public with information,” said Kleine.
The FACT is: Employers may be allowed to monitor an employee’s computer, but the State Patrol is not allowed to monitor their computer.  The new law forces an employer to allow the State Patrol to monitor everything the employee does with no legal protection of their data.   Additionally this law makes it a felony for employees to use social networking, chatting, or text messages to communicate.  In the global economy, this is the method of choice for communication in the work force.   No employer would consent to this and therefore would not be able to hire a registrant.  So Kleine has no concern about making low risk registrants unemployed and hopeless. The law will contribute to the nation’s already desperate unemployment situation.

Bruning stated that this will STOP predators from using text messaging to look for victims.
The FACT is: That is ALREADY illegal. Before this law, that is a felony. This new law makes it a felony for registrants to use text messaging to communicate with their spouse or employer.  This law makes it a felony for registrants to communicate with their children’s teachers in school.  This law makes it a felony to use any ‘internet enabled device’ that cannot be monitored, which excludes DOZENS of devices, such as game counsels.  It becomes a felony for a registrants’ children to even have one of these devices.

Neither Bruning nor Kleine addressed the fact that by lumping all registrants on the public web site, it will be impossible for communities to focus on those who pose a true risk.

Nor did they address the roughly $3 million that it will cost Nebraska taxpayers to implement the law. All for the sake of a couple hundred thousand dollars of federal funding that would be denied as a penalty for keeping Nebraska’s current common-sense system in place.

When the State of Nebraska wants to evaluate a sex offender’s risk of reoffending, it calls upon Omaha psychologist Stephen Skulsky, PhD. What does Skulsky have to say about the new law?
“LB 285 represents a clear and present threat to public safety,” Skulsky said.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Ben Franklin

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December 17, 2009

Expert: LB 285 a Threat to Public Safety

Filed under: Child Safety — stfacts @ 3:05 pm
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By Stephen Skulsky, PhD

The author is an Omaha clinical psychologist and nationally recognized expert on sex offenders. The State of Nebraska and criminal justice system officials routinely call on him to evaluate sex offenders.

The State of Nebraska would be making a costly and dangerous mistake if it implements the sex offender management and tracking protocol outlined in LB 285.

A recently filed federal lawsuit appropriately calls into question the constitutionality of LB 285. I will leave it to the courts to decide that question.

My concern is the safety of our communities. Safety is best served by the current system in Nebraska, under which scientific and law enforcement expertise determines a registrant’s risk of reoffending.

Tossing that system out and replacing it with the “one-size-fits-all” approach of LB 285 means that truly dangerous sex offenders like Phillip Garrido (kidnapper of Jaycee Lee Dugard) will be able to “hide in plain sight” on a public web registry that lists all sex offenders regardless of their level of risk. California has some of the most stringent sex offender laws in the nation, and all sources agree that Garrido escaped law enforcement attention because the system was distracted and overly burdened by tracking registrants who posed little or no risk.

I have evaluated hundreds of sex offenders. I know that there are low-risk registrants capable of succeeding in therapy.

LB 285 will have the effect of isolating, degrading and putting in danger these registrants who pose little risk, as well as inflicting harm upon their families. Low-risk registrants should be required to receive therapy and they should be integrated into society. This is the most effective means of preventing recidivism.

LB 285 could actually have the effect of making it more likely that a low-risk registrant would reoffend. Why? Because the law’s shaming and degrading treatment of low-risk registrants could cost them their jobs. It further could drive them away from seeking therapy and discourage them from compliance with registration laws.

By using a misguided “one-size-fits-all” approach and ignoring expert and law enforcement judgment as to the risk posed by a particular sex offender, LB 285 represents a clear and present threat to public safety. It also is a threat to the families of thousands of registrants who long ago completed their sentences, succeeded in therapy and have become productive, respected, taxpaying members of our communities.

Iowa’s ‘tough’ law puts children at high risk!!!

Filed under: News Stories — billorights @ 1:29 pm
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Wilber said that since the residency law took effect in September 2005, hundreds of Iowa sex offenders have dropped off the registry.

referring to public perception

“I know a lot of sex offenders over there who have gone underground, and they have no idea where they’re at, what they’re doing. It make them feel safe, and they’re not safe. As a matter of fact, I’d say they’re worse. They’re probably worse off than Nebraska,” he said.

http://www.kcci.com/news/14543576/detail.html

John Doe and Jane Doe 1 through 20 et al v. State of Nebraska et al

Filed under: Legal — constitutionaldefense @ 11:41 am
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On Wednesday, Dec. 16 a complaint was filed in federal court to block the implementation of LB 285 and related legislation. The complaint says that the law is unconstitutional and asks for a preliminary injunction to halt implementation of the law until many questions about its constitutionality are settled by the courts.

They have requested:

  1. A declaration that LB 97 and LB 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution;
  2. A declaration that LB 97 and LB 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the ex post facto clause of the Nebraska Constitution;
  3. A declaration that LB 97 and LB 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the double jeopardy clause of the United States Constitution;
  4. A declaration that LB 97 and LB 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the double jeopardy clause of the Nebraska Constitution;
  5. A declaration that LB 97 and LB 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the United States Constitution;
  6. A declaration that LB 97 and LB 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Nebraska Constitution;
  7. A declaration that LB 97, as amended by LB 285, violates, both facially and as applied, the search and seizure clause of the United States Constitution;
  8. A declaration that LB 97, as amended by LB 285, violates, both facially and as applied, the search and seizure clause of the Nebraska Constitution;
  9. A declaration that LB 97 and 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the due process clause of the United States Constitution;
  10. A declaration that LB 97 and 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the due process clause of the Nebraska Constitution;
  11. A declaration that LB 97 and 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution;
  12. A declaration that LB 97 and 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the equal protection clause of the Nebraska Constitution;
  13. A declaration that LB 97 and 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the special legislation clause of the Nebraska Constitution;
  14. A declaration that LB 97 and 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the freedom of speech guaranteed by the United States Constitution;
  15. A declaration that LB 97 and 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Nebraska Constitution;
  16. A declaration that LB 97 and 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the contracts clause of the United States Constitution;
  17. A declaration that LB 97 and 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the contracts clause of the Nebraska Constitution;
  18. A declaration that LB 97 and 285 violate, both facially and as applied, the separation of powers doctrine of the Nebraska Constitution;
  19. A preliminary injunction prohibiting each Defendant from enforcing LB 97 and LB 285 during the pendency of this matter;
  20. A permanent injunction prohibiting each Defendant from enforcing LB 97 and LB 285;
  21. Reasonable attorney fees; and
  22. Other and further relief the Court deems just and equitable.

http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-nedce/case_no-8:2009cv00456/case_id-50706/
https://constitutionaldefense.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/complaint.pdf
https://constitutionaldefense.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/brief-main-one.pdf

December 16, 2009

Romeo and Juliet Case Destroys a young man

Filed under: News Stories — billorights @ 9:37 am
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This young man age 16, fell in love with a 14 year old girl. Once he turned 17 (and she 15) he was charged with sexual assault on a minor because her mother thought she was too young for a committed relationship.  So he became a ‘dangerous sex offender’, for having consensual sex with his girlfriend 2 years younger than him.  He was degraded and humiliated to the point he left school, and is forced to move away from his family. Neighbors see his name on the registry and harass him, and file police complaints against him for simply playing basketball with what few friends he has left.

His life is over, for doing something most of us have done. This shows the true injustice of these laws.

http://www.annarbor.com/news/a-young-man-struggles-with-the-sex-offender-label

December 15, 2009

Consent To Search Under Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Act

Filed under: Legal — constitutionaldefense @ 9:42 am
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As part of LB285 all registrants are required to sign the below consent form.  If they refuse to sign this form they will be in violation of the act which would result in a felony charge.

When you read this, I want you to envision a registrant who is married with children that owns a business.  The state is FORCING him or her to sign away the rights of their family’s privacy as well as every employee of their company.  The state will have the legal right to search and monitor the registrants spouse, children, and employees activities because these computers are owned and in the possession of the registrant.

Consent To Search Under Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Act

I,____________________________________________, acknowledge that
pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 29-4006 and the remainder of the Nebraska Sex
Offender Registration Act Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-4003 – § 29-4013, I have a legal
obligation to provide the Nebraska State Patrol any and all remote
communication device identifiers and addresses, including all global unique
identifiers, serial numbers, Internet protocol addresses, telephone numbers, and
account numbers specific to the device. I further acknowledge that I must
provide all e-mail addresses, instant messaging identifiers, chat room identifiers I
use or plan to use, all domain names registered to me and all blogs on Internet
sites to which I have uploaded any content or posted any messages or
information.
I hereby consent and agree to allow a law enforcement agency to search all
computers or electronic communication devices possessed by me; and, to allow
the installation of hardware or software to monitor the Internet usage on all the
computers or electronic communication devices in my possession.

Signed Date___________________
Witness Date___________________

Recidivism down to 3.2%?

Filed under: Research — billorights @ 9:21 am
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Report from 2008 shows that in California, the re-offense rate was only 3.2%.  That is showing that therapy is 97% successful.  So you have to ask yourself, why as a society, do we make life so difficult for the 97% that will succeed?  Isn’t that counterproductive?  Why not focus on therapy, and stiffen penalties for those that do re-0ffend?  Public witch hunt does nothing for public safety.

http://forensicpsychologist.blogspot.com/2008/07/new-scientist-reports-low-sex-offender.html

December 14, 2009

Nebraska Secretary of State Interpretation of LB285

Filed under: Legal — constitutionaldefense @ 12:45 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

http://www.sos.ne.gov/rules-and-regs/regtrack/proposals/0000000000000791.pdf

December 10, 2009

Fallacy of Recidivism and Low Risk Registrants

Recidivism – Risk of Repeat Offense.  Supporters of public registry say that even the lowest risk people MUST be on the registry for ‘public safety’.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, only 5% of ‘sex offenders’ repeat their crimes (see link on right).

Most studies, including U.S. Department of Justice, and Justice and Policy Center site that 90%+ of ALL sex offenses are committed by first time offenders.
http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-11_RPT_WalshActRegisteringHarm_JJ-PS.pdf
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2003847/posts

Reason would demand, that if 90% of all sex offenses are done by a non registered person, then an unregistered person is more likely to be ‘at risk’ to the public then a registrant (since DOJ states only 5% will reoffend).

If the public demands that even low risk people should be on the internet, then why not register everyone ‘to be safe’.

My point is to show the diminishing returns of the registry.  At some point, registrants need to be allowed to move on, especially if studies show that therapy is over 95% effective.

To put these people on the registry for life is truly barbaric, no better than the way witches were treated in medieval times.

The public registry halts rehabilitation, and makes re-integration into society absolutely impossible.  Leaving most registrants jobless, homeless, and completely desperate.  The public registry is truly a self fulfilling prophecy.  The public registry does more to make a registrant dangerous, then it ever will to make even a single child safer.  The registry does not stop registrants from doing anything.  It simply makes their life more difficult, and gives public a false sense of security.

Mandatory therapy is truly the only answer towards making the public safer.  Public degradation does nothing to promote safety.

Ethical Treatment for All Youth

Human Rights Watch did a 2 year study on ‘sex offender’ Registry laws.   The results are rather shocking.  United States is quickly lowering itself to human rights abuse country such as North Korea and Iran.

Registrants and their families have been hounded from their homes, had rocks thrown through their home windows, and feces left on their front doorsteps. They have been assaulted, stabbed, and had their homes burned by neighbors or strangers who discovered their status as a previously convicted sex offender. At least four registrants have been targeted and killed (two in 2006 and two in 2005) by strangers who found their names and addresses through online registries.

http://www.ethicaltreatment.org/news.htm

So what is worse, having a ‘sex offender’ in your neighborhood, or having your neighborhood turn into a harbor of hate.

What if that ‘sex offender’ never even touched or hurt anyone?

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