Sunday, June 29, 2014

Is This The Beginning of the End for Sites Fed by Nebraska State Patrol's Help-the-Vigilante List?

Victims targeted for harassment on sex-offender websites pleaded with a Maricopa County, Arizona, jury to financially punish the owner and take away his ability to continue operating.
The jury listened.
In a unanimous verdict, jurors hit Valley businessman Charles "Chuck" Rodrick with a $3.4 million judgment on behalf of three people profiled on websites such as, SORArchives and
Rodrick is accused of running an Internet extortion racket that used public records maintained by law enforcement to demand money from sex offenders, harassing those who complained. Read the Arizona Republic story.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

P.O.s Gone Wild

The probationer always understood the probation officer's role to be ensuring that all of the provisions of the sentencing order be met, no more, no less.
Nothing in the sentencing order dealt with business management, parenting or acceptable speech. Yet the probation officer repeatedly misunderstood, sometimes telling the probationer (a business owner) how the business should be run; sometimes telling the probationer (a father) how parenting should be done; advising the probationer (who retained the constitutional right of free speech) what could be said, and when, and where, about what issues. It is difficult but not impossible to keep control of a P.O. who doesn't understand professional boundaries.
A probation officer's position of authority over a probationer makes it far too easy for a P.O. to abuse power. Our imaginary probationer described above had the fortitude to respectfully confront the P.O. when lines were crossed that shouldn't be crossed. But not all probationers are in a position to do that.
So it is heartening to see that the U.S. Supreme Court is taking up the issue.
The Supreme Court Press “Petition of the Month”TM for June 2014 is Kyle E. McClamma v. Josepha Michele Remon,Supreme Court Dkt. No. TBD, an appeal coming out of the Eleventh Circuit. The petition was filed pro se by the petitioner Kyle E. McClamma, a resident of the Tampa, Florida Region.
Question Presented:
Whether a probation officer has the power to forbid a person from living in his own home, despite there being no residency restriction in the sentencing order.

It Appears That Someone Finally Will Quantify The Cost-Effectiveness of Registration

Lots of attention on those who were released as a result of the Nebraska Department of Corrections' $50 million math error.

What about the guys who presided over this hot mess? Like the governor and the attorney general.

Accountability is a fine value, for those who break the law as well as for those who are stunningly incompetent and utterly irresponsible with your tax money.

Someone should add up the millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars the current Nebraska regime has flushed down the toilet.

Oh. Wait.

Someone IS going to do that.

The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, with the National Justice Institute, is making grant money available for research into the effectiveness, including cost-effectiveness, of sex-offender registration. The official document seeking grant applications states:

"The purpose of this solicitation is to assess how information is shared through sex offender registration and community notification systems, how the process of information sharing has evolved since the passage of SORNA (either due to sex offender legislation or public perception), and the cost of SORNA systems to jurisdictions."

A nice by-product of this research should be some detailed information as to who profits from the thriving sex-offender industry.

We hope that this research is conducted with rigor and honesty, and we hope that public policy regarding the treatment of former sex offenders will be influenced and shaped by FACTS and not politicians' pandering to fear-mongering myth.

Friday, June 27, 2014

See Live Webcast of White House Conference on Employment for Those With Criminal Records

U.S. business leaders and government officials will gather at the White House at 9:30 a.m. CT Monday to review ways in which government can help—or hinder—efforts to improve employment outcomes for people with criminal records. You can watch a LIVE webcast of the event. Details here.

More on Home Invasions by Law Enforcement

Followup on home invasions by law enforcement:

Many of you requested information on the Minnesota case in which the home invasions were found unconstitutional. The record on Leagle can be found by clicking here.

If you're thinking of starting to document invasions of your home, you will want to review this guide to state laws regarding electronic recording. States are listed in alpha order in the PDF you can download from the site.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Home-Invading Cops Ensure 19-month-old Won't Cause Them Any Trouble

Another thoughtful post on Notes from the Handbasket:

When we complain about the chaos and dangers of SWAT-served search warrants or home invasion-style served warrants, we often hear that the person who broke the law is the one to blame for a family's pain, not the cops who invade homes. A Georgia family would love to hear those people make sense of what happened to their 19-month-old boy.

Jacob Sullum writes about a 3 a.m. drug raid when a flash-bang grenade was thrown into a child's playpen, critically injuring the toddler. The police said they had no idea there were children in the home or they would not have used the grenade. Read the full post.

It's Not the Registered Citizens Who Are Violating the Sex-Offender Laws

The June issue of  Ninety-Five% -- our newsletter for donors to Nebraskans Unafraid -- is about violations of the state's sex-offender laws. You'll be surprised (or maybe not) to learn that it is not the registered citizens who are breaking the law.

We send the newsletter in hard-copy or digital form to those who donate at least $5 per month. The get on the mailing list, send your check or money order payable to Nebraskans Unafraid to: Nebraskans Unafraid, c/o FACTS, PO Box 460664, Papilion, Nebraska 68046.

Another Bloated, Failed Registry

The official California website for viewing a list of the state’s 98,000 or so registered sex offenders advises visitors that the registry is best viewed using Netscape 6.1, a browser that was popular in the 1990s and hasn’t been supported since 2008.
Antiquated and unsupported might be a decent summary of what the California Sex Offender Management Board told lawmakers it thinks of the registry, which it claims has grown too large and unwieldy to be effective.
Building on recommendations (pdf) it made in 2010, the board said the state Legislature should stop treating all sex offenders alike, regardless of the seriousness of their crimes. It proposed that only high-risk offenders be kept on the list for life, while others are removed over a period of years. Around 22,000 of the offenders on the list are currently incarcerated.
Around one-third of those on the list are considered moderate- to high-risk. At the high end, that includes kidnappers and violent predators. The low end can include some unfortunate guy busted while urinating against a wall in public or visiting a prostitute. Complete story.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Douglas County Sheriff's Office Reputation for Rude, Disrespectful Treatment Spreads to at Least One Other State

The Douglas County, Nebraska, Sheriff's reputation for rude and disrespectful treatment of registered citizens has grown beyond the borders of Nebraska, the "Good Life" state.

When one begins gathering facts, it is so interesting that it's hard to stop.

Thus, I've begun to converse with law enforcement folk in distant states about, among other things, their policy, procedure and attitude regarding registered citizens. I pick them at random, identify the person who works with registered citizens, and talk to that person.

Many of them are aware of the University of Nebraska-Omaha research that shows former sex offenders are among the least likely to reoffend. That this work seems more widely known outside of Nebraska is in itself intriguing.

One individual, again not from Nebraska, initiated the conversation about the Douglas County Sheriff's office reputation. I was a bit taken aback because I had not mentioned Douglas County. All this person knew was that I was from Nebraska.

Without getting into any unpleasant detail, I was told that in terms of the way former sex offenders are treated, there is "not much good" to be heard about Douglas County. This from another law enforcement agency.

I responded that while I had little personal experience with Douglas County, I have not heard much good, either.

If anybody has heard anything good, would you let us know? There are two sides to every story, and if there is anything I could say in defense of Douglas County when I'm talking with people from far away, I would like to be able to say it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Coping With the Nebraska Jackboots Invading Your Homes

Here is a guest post from a registered citizen of Nebraska. We are respecting this individual's request to remain anonymous.

Had enough yet? Had enough of the warrantless home invasions by law enforcement? If you are like me, then you are downright sick and tired of the harassment. It turns out that despite the fact that these visits qualify as a 4th Amendment-busting search of person and property, and despite the fact that these so-called compliance checks have been deemed unconstitutional by a Federal District Court in Minnesota which, like Nebraska, is within the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, they simply don’t care, and it seems we are living in a jackboot police state (at least in Nebraska). What will it take for the warrantless home invasions to cease? I don’t have the answer. But as a victim of such visits I have decided to take proactive measures which I believe protect myself as well as possibly thwart the frequency of visits in the future;  I would like to share this with all other registrants. I’m not suggesting these tips will work for everyone, nor do I encourage everyone to follow them. I am simply offering alternative legal measures registrants and their families could take to further protect themselves and possibly lessen the frequency of home invasive visits. These methods have not all been “tried and true” and I do not offer this as legal advice, nor am I a lawyer. The following suggestions apply to registrants who are no longer on probation or parole.

Suggestion #1: Don’t answer the door. There is no law that says you have to answer the door!!! Which begs the question, to what lengths will they go to get an answer? If one does not answer the door, will they mark you down as “non compliant” and seek out a warrant for your arrest? It wouldn’t be surprising, what with today’s kangaroo courts and judges rubberstamping warrants and all. It’s a scary thought that they could potentially arrest a registrant because he or she was absent during a visit because he or she was at work. Or will they simply come back the next day, or the day after that, assuming one continues to not answer the door? And after that, will they ratchet up the intimidation factor by sending an armed SWAT team in the middle of the night, waking a registrant and his/her family from rest to see if he/she answers the door? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but again, one does not violate any law by NOT answering the door if law enforcement does not have a warrant.

Suggestion #2: Post signs on your property stating you have security cameras which monitor your home 24 hours a day. This helps two-fold: it discourages would-be burglars and vandals AND it is my opinion that officers will be less likely to conduct a compliance check if they think they will be on camera. If you don’t own a video recorder of some kind, you can purchase a fake surveillance camera for your home. Amazon sells both inexpensive signs and some very realistic looking fake surveillance cameras for around 10 bucks. Despite the fact that citizens have a legal right to record police, it turns out that cops don’t seem to like being recoded. When they conduct these compliance checks, I believe they know they are in the wrong and that what they are doing is contrary to the constitution and the last thing they want is to be video recorded violating the same constitution swore oath to protect.

Suggestion #3: If you decide to open the door, you don’t have to answer their questions, not a single one. You could simply reply to them “I invoke and refuse to waive my 5th Amendment right to remain silent. I don’t consent to this contact with you. Please leave.” You don’t have to be rude, and can resist them in a respectful manner. Remember, they have no probable cause to be questioning you in the first place. They are the aggressors in this situation. They are the ones invading your privacy. So I suggest you remain calm and polite, but insist you do not consent to their questioning or any searches of you, your family, or any property.
One might ask, “why not just answer their questions so they can get on their way?” To that I respond: has answering their questions stopped them from coming back time and time again, only to ask the same redundant questions?  Do they not keep coming back?? There is something to be said for standing up to a bully. By remaining silent, you not only exercise your 5th Amendment right but you are also likely preventing them from gaining a foothold to obtain a search warrant.

Unfortunately, exercising your rights is risky business and may come at a cost. By following any of the above suggestions, I don’t put it past them placing anyone on a “problem list” or “non-compliant list” which could result in further harassment. These are risks you will have to carefully consider. I can only speak for myself when I say I’m damn sick of the visits and have decided enough is enough and I’m going to exercise my right to resist. I have long since paid my debt to society and I’m fed up with the enduring state-sponsored repunishment.

Knowledge is power. Research and learn your rights and be prepared to stand up for yourself because they aren’t going to stop coming. Remember, it was registrants and family members of registrants who exercised their voting rights and kicked Bruning and Pirsch to the curb. Together, we can overcome much adversity.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Home Invasions Do Not Protect the Public (But They Keep Grant Money Flowing)

Another Douglas County Sheriff's office news release is lapped up without any journalistic judgment by the Omaha World-Herald.

In a practice that utterly fails to make any contribution to public safety, the sheriff sends people around to invade the homes of registered citizens. It finds the vast majority are doing what they should be doing.

It cranks out a news release and gullible auto-pilot "news" organizations regurgitate. Some of the questions a real reporter would ask:
  • There are 800 to 900 RSOs in Douglas County at last count. Why were only 137 visited? How were they chosen? Why followups with the 40 who were not contacted and not the other 750 on the list?
  • Who paid for this? How much did it cost to conduct these checks?
  • How does this make Douglas County safer? Research done by the University of Nebraska-Omaha shows that registered citizens are not significant risks for reoffense.
  • What does non-compliant mean? They weren't home? Walking the dog? Taking a daughter to soccer practice? At work? People are INNOCENT until proven guilty--the article says that warrants will be sought, not that they were obtained.
  • What is the legal justification for conducting these home invasions? Why are these people presumed to have done something wrong? (No one else gets compliance checks to see if they have broken the law once they are off paper).
  • Would Douglas County conduct these publicity stunts if people just stopped answering their doors? If it is a warrantless home invasion, you don't have to answer the knock or doorbell ring.
The story that your local daily is missing: The true reason for this stupid practice is that it helps with numbers that justify sucking up and wasting your tax dollars. The Douglas County Sheriff is not protecting the public here -- it is getting in on the pork available through the nation's sex-offender industry.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

If You Don't Get a Copy of Your Signed Registration Reporting Form, They Can Arrest You for Failing to Register

In Chicago, law enforcement turns you away when you show up as required by law to verify your registration. Then they go out and arrest you for failing to register.

Every registered citizen in Douglas County, Nebraska, should read this.

You better demand a copy of the legally-mandated written and signed proof that you made your verification visit to the sheriff's office. The Nebraska State Patrol says Douglas County should be giving you a hard copy of the signed paper. State law requires it. So don't accept the sheriff's office word when it says it has an electronic confirmation of your visit. Unless you own a copy of your signed and dated form, you are at the mercy of a law enforcement agency that believes you have no rights.

A cautionary tale: In Chicago, law enforcement routinely turns away hundreds of registrants who report as required for verification. Then law enforcement goes out and arrests those people for failing to register. That can happen in Douglas County, too. More on Chicago.