Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thanks, Again, for Your Votes

Once again, thanks to every registered citizen and their family members and friends who exercised their right to vote in the May 13 primary election. You showed the impact we can have by helping to send Jon Bruning and Pete Pirsch to the loser's corner.

Bruning and Pirsch are the chief architects of the laws that place you and your family on the Nebraska State Patrol's public hit-list website, and if you voted, you played a role in putting these two out of office. Good for you!

Now, please help spread the word for the general election and every election after: Felons in Nebraska are eligible to vote if they completed their sentences two or more years ago and have not reoffended. For your review, here is additional information.

We will be interviewing candidates for various offices and we will keep you informed of their views on whether you, your spouses, your children, etc., should be exposed to state-sanctioned vigilante violence.

And just why are you exposed to this violence?

It's because of the huge and profitable sex-offender industry. Law enforcement agencies get millions of your tax dollars for fattening the registries. They are paid with your tax dollars for the home-invasion stunts that they pull.

Take a look at some of the metrics for the federal grant dollars (pork -- your tax dollars) that are handed to law enforcement agencies (these are pulled directly from the document outlining expenditures of funds in the discredited Adam Walsh Act):

  • "Percentage of records/data made electronically accessible for inclusion in SORNA jurisdiction sex offender registries . . . "

  • "Percentage of registered sex offenders in compliance with jurisdiction registry requirements."

  • "Number of sex offenders newly registered . . . "

It is an evil, ingenious method: Whip up public fear of sex offenders (by ignoring research proving their low reoffense rates); use that fear to pass outrageous laws that do not enhance public safety but pack more and more families onto sex-offender registries; channel tax dollars into grants that support additional registry-packing activities . . .

It's just a huge numbers game that has nothing to do with public safety, because the research shows that the Adam Walsh Act does not enhance public safety and probably erodes it.

To repeat:

 It is a numbers game designed  to fatten former sex-offender registries and siphon off your tax dollars.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

'An Electorate That Subsists on a Steady Diet of Fear'

In March 2011, Professor Catherine L. Carpenter of the Southwestern Law School published The Evolution of Unconstitutionality in Sex Offender Registration Laws.

Published here is the abstract from that article. At the end of the post, you will find a link to an online source for the entire article. NU / FACTS recommends this article to anyone in Nebraska who has a sincere interest in public safety. We urge politicians and certain segments of law enforcement to read it, too.

The Evolution of Unconstitutionality in Sex Offender Registration Laws

Catherine L. Carpenter 

Southwestern Law School

March 13, 2011

Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 63, p. 101, 2012 

More is not always better. Consider sex offender registration laws. Initially anchored by rational basis, registration schemes have spiraled out of control because legislators, eager to please a fearful public, have been given unfettered freedom by a deferential judiciary. 

This particular article does not challenge the state’s legislative power to enact sex offender registration laws. Instead, this piece posits that, even if sex offender registration schemes were initially constitutional, serially amended sex offender registration schemes – what this piece dubs super-registration schemes – are not. Their emergence over the last several years demands reexamination of traditionally held assumptions that shaped the original legislation. 

Two intertwined causes are responsible for the schemes’ constitutional downfall. The first is a legislative body eager to draft increasingly harsh registration and notification schemes to please an electorate that subsists on a steady diet of fear. When combined with the second cause, a Supreme Court that has yet to signal much needed boundaries, the ensuing consequence is runaway legislation that is no longer rationally connected to its regulatory purpose. Ultimately, this article is a cautionary tale of legislation that has unmoored from its constitutional grounding because of its punitive effect and excessive reach.

Click here to find a downloadable PDF of the entire 63-page paper.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

U.S. Marshals Service Release: No Problems With Vast Majority of Former Sex Offenders

The U.S. Marshals Metro Fugitive Task Force Lincoln Division announced recently that the vast majority -- about 90 percent -- of the former sex offenders that it checked on are in compliance with the law. The remaining roughly 10 percent didn't happen to be around when law enforcement showed up, so the compliance number could very well be more than 90 percent.

A news release from the U.S. Marshals Service says that the Task Force checked on 94 registered citizens in Custer, Sherman, Valley, Nance, Boone, Howard and Greeley counties. Of those, 85 are exactly where they are supposed to be, doing what they are supposed to be doing. The release says nine "weren't contacted," which could mean they were at work, or at the store buying milk or out walking the dog when law enforcement banged on their doors.

The news release says this activity tied up personnel from more than a dozen law enforcement agencies.

The news release failed to mention that a recent University of Nebraska-Omaha research study found that a tiny fraction of Nebraska sex offenders are likely to reoffend. The year-to-year reoffense rate for former sex offenders is less than 1 percent.

The release also failed to point out the fact that despite the alarmingly high rate of reoffense for convicted drunken drivers (something like 33 percent), no similar home-invasive technique is employed to make sure those people are not drunk. (We don't necessarily believe the people who say that's because so many politicians have DUIs).

The release did not say how much taxpayer money was expended on an effort that targets a lot of people who are not and likely will not be lawbreakers.

None of the news media organizations that printed the news release almost verbatim as they received it asked any questions about why law enforcement is wasting its precious time and our tax dollars on tracking down problems that do not exist.

Cities Scramble to Repeal Residency Restrictions

Orange County, Calif., cities that enacted residency restriction laws for former sex offenders now are rushing to repeal those bans under the threat of lawsuits and unfavorable court rulings.

Latest community to repeal residency restrictions is Laguna Hills. Fullerton may soon follow.

Research has long established that residency restrictions simply do not protect anyone, yet politicians continue to promote them because they think that's one way to curry favor with voters.

Here is background on the Orange County situation.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Voters Dump Saunders County Prosecutor

Voters turned thumbs-down on Saunders (Nebraska) County Attorney Scott Tinglehoff, an enthusiastic supporter of Nebraska's 2009 legislation that adds punishments for former sex offenders who have completed their sentences.

The chief architects of the law, LB 285 of 2009, also were losers at the polls. By placing the vast majority of former sex offenders who are at little to no risk to reoffend on the state's shaming website, the law puts the public in danger.

Political novice Steven Twohig, a Fremont attorney, handily defeated Tinglehoff in the May 13 primary election. Twohig garnered two-thirds of the Republican votes. Nebraskans Unafraid thanks those in Saunders County who heeded our call to vote.   More here.

Oh, Happy Day! Bruning, Pirsch Lose at the Polls

The chief architects of Nebraska's politically motivated former sex offender law saw their political careers go down in flames in the Tuesday, May 13, primary election.

Attorney General Jon Bruning lost the Republican gubernatorial primary to Pete Ricketts, and former State Sen. Pete Pirsch finished fourth in a four-person race for the GOP attorney general nomination. Bruning and Pirsch were the moving spirits behind LB 285 of 2009, which exposed you and your families to vigilante violence and in general made the state more dangerous.

Icing on the cake: Bellevue City Council member Carol Blood, champion of a silly residence restriction law, came in behind a relatively unknown opponent.

Nebraskans Unafraid thanks all who heeded our call to vote. We heard from more than a few who registered specifically to vote against Bruning and Pirsch. You have demonstrated what a huge difference you can make. See complete election returns here. We also thank Heaven that Bruning and Pirsch are out of public life.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Today Is Election Day

Former Sex Offenders' Low Rate of Recidivism Again Ignored by News Media

Reporting on former sex offenders.
It certainly is not news that the news media can't get their facts straight about former sex offenders.

So the kerfuffle in Colorado between "9News 'Colorado's News Leader' " and the Colorado Department of Corrections over the station's factual errors is not a surprise.

What MUST be pointed out however, is this fact that emerges from the push-and-pull over what's right and wrong about former sex offenders:
For the 854 (Colorado) sex offenders released in 2010, eight returned to prison within three years for a new sex crime. That makes the recidivism rate just less than 1 percent.
As was first and thoroughly reported by Nebraskans Unafraid last year, a University of Nebraska-Omaha study found a similarly low rate of recidivism among Nebraska sex offenders.

Yet the news media continue to premise their stories upon the utterly wrong and discredited idea that former sex offenders are all high reoffense risks. Proving again that most reporters won't let the facts get in the way of what they think is a good story.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Better Than Whining

A reminder to former offenders: If you completed your sentence more than two years ago and you have not reoffended, you are eligible to vote. The primary election is May 13.

Vote. It is so much more effective than whining. Here is more information.

$ex Offender$!!!!!!

Just one humble opinion:

Nothing about Nebraska's laws regarding former sex offenders has anything to do with public safety. Nothing.

It is all about money.

The insane, weird web of laws and regulations that endlessly hammer former sex offenders and their families are so difficult to dismantle because too many people are making too much money now, and they will not easily let go of the golden goose.

Nebraska's attorney general, who revels in "dropping a hammer" on former offenders while admitting the state's public shaming website includes people who are NOT dangerous, became wealthy during his time in office. Who could give that up?

Think about the others who profit from the sex-offender industry:

  • Law enforcement agencies that rake in grant money (your tax dollars) for conducting useless home invasions of former offenders,
  • state corrections operations that need packed prison populations to justify their budget requests,
  • manufacturers of ankle bracelets and other monitoring technology,
  • online companies that operate like foul vultures, selling to a fearful public the information about you and your family that is on the State Patrol's hit-list website.
The Nebraska law that sends you to prison if you're away from your home for the weekend is not about protecting the public. It is about manufacturing prisoners to feed the former offender industry.

We at NU/FACTS receive wonderful and cogent communication from readers of this blog and of our monthly hard-copy newsletter NINETY-FIVE%. One correspondent thinks it will be useful to determine exactly how the Nebraska State Patrol's website has been used by for-profit companies that earn their dollars by exposing you and your family to vigilante violence. There's no question this is happening, and there's no question it is illegal. Will Nebraska ever do anything about it? Doubtful. Too much money at stake.

The same correspondent, commenting on the true story of the Nebraska-based prosecutor who laughingly admitted outside the courtroom that his argument against a former offender was BS, remarked upon our criminal justice system's similarity to Nazi Germany. Some are tired or offended by such comparisons. But the comparisons hold up, and that should send chills down the spines of everyone, former offender or not.