Wednesday, February 13, 2013

MA Considering Sex Offender Property Forfeiture Law

Should our basic property rights be tampered with, even in the name of protecting us? What many find particularly troubling is that many existing forfeiture laws allow for property confiscation upon arrest, not simply upon conviction.
February 13, 2013

Finegold backs tougher sex offender laws

BOSTON — With anecdotal evidence suggesting computer crimes on the rise and children facing increased risks on the Internet, a bill introduced in the Senate this session would expand the state’s asset forfeiture laws to allow prosecutors to go after the computers, cell phones, cars and homes of child predators convicted on child pornography and enticement charges.
The effort to update the law in the mold of 22 other states follows what prosecutors described as “among the worst cases of child abuse ever prosecuted” when referring to the case of John Burbine, a Wakefield resident and Level One sex offender accused of raping 13 children who he and his wife babysat in their home.
The Burbine case has also spawned calls from lawmakers for reforms of the Sex Offender Registry Board.
Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, and Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian are teaming up to push an expansion of the state’s asset forfeiture laws to include criminal convictions on child pornography and enticement cases, hoping to divert any revenue collected to computer crime investigation and prosecution.
“As a parent you want to do everything you can to protect your children. Like most kids, my kids are on their iPad, their iTouches and it’s scary out there. I think we need to give the law enforcement people, the district attorney and attorney general the tools they need to prevent these heinous crimes,” Finegold said yesterday, sitting down in his office with Koutoujian to discuss the bill he has filed this session.
Under state law, prosecutors can seek judicial approval to seize the assets of defendants convicted on controlled substance or human trafficking offenses, but not child pornography. The bill would extend the current law to include those types of cases, generating a modest revenue stream to help fund what Koutoujian described as underfunded and understaffed computer crimes units.
The money collected through property seizures of cell phones, computers, cars, and in some cases homes used in the commission of the crime could also be used under the proposal for victim services and digital literacy education programs for families.
“I don’t believe this is going to be any kind of cash cow,” Koutoujian said.
According to the Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce, the State Police in 2012 made 16 arrests, received 134 tips, conducted 44 investigations and performed 318 forensic examinations in Middlesex County alone on child cyber-crimes. Statewide, there were 60 arrests, 1,553 investigations and 483 computer exams in 2011.
“It’s terrifying that one out of every seven children who are regular Internet users will receive a sexual solicitation on the Internet and that’s why we need to push for legislation like this,” Finegold said.
Finegold said he and his wife were researching day care options for their one-year-old son when the Burbine story broke. “It shocks the system,” Finegold said.
As many as 22 other states have similar laws on the books, including neighboring Connecticut. Koutoujian said the threat of asset forfeiture could also serve as a deterrent.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Was the Houston Post's "Hottest Female Sex Offenders List" simply a ratings gimmick?

Was the Houston Post's "Hottest Female Sex Offenders List" simply a ratings gimmick, or was it a sincere attempt to draw attention to how average a dangerous person may appear to us?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sex Offender Registration Got You Down?

The Supreme Court of Oklahoma is currently hearing oral arguments which may change existing Oklahoma Sex Offender registration laws

Feb. 11, 2013, 1:51 p.m. EST

M.K. Bailey Law Offices React to Proposed Changes to Oklahoma Sex Offender Registration

The Supreme Court of Oklahoma is currently hearing oral arguments which may change existing Oklahoma Sex Offender registration laws

OKLAHOMA CITY, Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The present issue before the court is whether sex offenders who were convicted before the enactment of lifetime registration should have to remain on the registry. Individuals who were convicted before lifetime registration became mandatory for specific sex crimes originally believed that there was a limit to the length of time that the state could require registration. However, following the lifetime registration enactment, many sex offenders who were due to be removed from the registry or were no longer required to register suddenly found themselves back on the registry--and for life.
Oklahoma City criminal lawyer Mark Bailey has represented hundreds of sex offenders throughout his career in both private practice and while working as an attorney for Oklahoma county. The ruling, which is expected to be decided later this month, will affect a number of Bailey's clients whose appeals are currently pending before the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
"These citizens have paid for their crimes, and when they were convicted, they understood that state-mandated registration would be a part of life," sex crimes attorney Bailey said. "But to retroactively force people back onto the registry, or to require registration for people who never believed registration was part of their conviction, it's not just unfair--it's unconstitutional."
Proponents of the lifetime registration say that the retroactive effects of the law are not in violation of either the Oklahoma or United States Constitution, because the law is not really a 'punishment.' Those who favor the law also voice public safety concerns if some sex offenders are allowed to be removed from the registry.
"I understand the concerns that some people have, but it doesn't stop the fact that my clients, and others like them, have had the rug pulled out from underneath their feet," said Bailey. "The law should be equal for everyone."
About M.K. Bailey Law OfficesM.K. Bailey Law Offices is a full service law firm offering legal representation for criminal defense, civil cases, juvenile crimes, personal injury, and workers compensation. For over 20 years, M.K. Bailey attorneys have created strong defenses by custom-tailoring legal strategies to their clients' individual needs.
SOURCE M.K. Bailey Law Offices
Copyright (C) 2013 PR Newswire. All rights reserved 


Child Sexual Predators: The Familiar Stranger

Police seek public's help in finding registered sex offender

Police seek public's help in finding registered sex offender

Updated: Monday, 11 Feb 2013, 10:28 AM EST
Published : Monday, 11 Feb 2013, 10:28 AM EST
STEUBEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) - Police in Steuben County are searching for a registered sex offender.
Police said an arrest warrant was issued on Friday for 53-year-old Ted Benhower. The warrant charged Benhower with failure to register as a sex or violent offender, a class C felony.
The Steuben County Sheriff's Department received information through the sheriff department's online Sex or Violent Offender Registry that Benhower was not living at his registered address. Officers said Benhower is in violation of Indiana’s Sex or Violent Offender Registry law.
Police described Benhower as a 5’8” white man with blue eyes and brown hair. He is around 160 pounds. Police said Benhower was last known to have a facial hair.
Police are asking anyone with information on the whereabouts of Benhower to call the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office or Steuben County Crime Stoppers.

A Case For Sex Offender Registration Reform