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May 20, 2009

"Sex Offenders Forced To Live Under Miami Bridge"

The title of this post is the title of this segment from today's episode of All Things Considered on NPR. Here are excerpts:

In Miami, a causeway in the middle of Biscayne Bay has become home to one of the county's least desirable populations: sex offenders. What began a few years ago as a stopgap solution has become de facto public policy.  For sex offenders with few resources who want to stay in Miami, there's just one option: an encampment of tents and shacks on the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

The encampment got started a few years ago, when Miami-Dade County, like other communities across the country, adopted an ordinance banning sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of anywhere that children gather....

What once was a collection of tents has now become a small village. There are a half-dozen shacks, some with kitchens and working toilets.  A few of the men have built a dock for fishing where some small boats are tied up.  Right now, 67 people live here.  And nearly every week, probation officers drop off sex offenders, recently released, who have nowhere else to go....

So far, officials in Miami-Dade County say they see no reason to change the ordinance. Jose "Pepe" Diaz is one of the county commissioners who sponsored the law.  He concedes that the growing encampment presents health and safety problems but notes that it's the state, not the county, that's put the sex offenders there.  And that's a population for which he has little or no sympathy.

May 20, 2009 at 09:15 PM | Permalink

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Comments

NPR is a Communist front propaganda outlet. Nothing it says has the slightest credibility.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 20, 2009 11:04:03 PM

I don't know that NPR is a Communist front, but here are some things I do know:

1. Adults are responsible for their own lives, including where they live. We are not (yet) such a complete welfare state that the government is responsible for getting you a decent house.

2. I do not for one minute believe that there is no low cost housing available except in areas closer than 2500 feet to where children gather.

3. Encampments of the kind described have existed for years. They are more common in hard times, like the deep recession now underway. They existed well before the creation of any of these sex offender-oriented residency restriction zones. The notion that they are a creation of such restrictions, while implied by the article, is at best unproven.

4. Assuming arguendo that the encampment is a by-product of those restrictions, there is an easy way to reduce them. People could trouble themselves not to engage in the perverse behavior that brings the restrictions to bear. Acting on one's impulses is a choice, not an inevitability.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 21, 2009 10:33:45 AM

Men accused of inappropriate sex acts have become our nations scapegoats. It is worse than the Salem Witch Hunts, and I am saddened to see that there are still human beings who have self centered attitudes such as the previous poster. They embrace the slogan "survival of the fittest", usually because at that time, they are among the fittest. They were blessed with good health, intelligence, and good opportunities, so they are ready to grind under their heels people who are sick, weak, unfortunate, old, or in any way vulnerable. These people do not have the slightest comprehension of what it is to care about anybody but themselves and their loved ones. The ironic thing is, every now and then, either themselves or a loved one gets unexpectedly snared in the same trap that other unfortunate people have been caught in. I have noticed that they can then change their life view really quickly. As long as they are on top, or in power, they spew out these opinions of hatred towards people less fortunate than themselves. As Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake." What did her attitude get her?

Posted by: DL | May 21, 2009 11:36:10 AM

Bill: I'm still curious. Do you agree with federalist that heroin dealing is not that serious a crime?

Posted by: observer | May 21, 2009 12:23:36 PM

Observer --

What I'm curious about is why you continue to post anonymously. When I asked before, you said it was to protect your employer, whom you also did not name. My response was that you could easily protect it by stating that the views expressed were your own, and were not necessarily shared by your employer, who bore no responsibility for them. Given that, I asked why you won't tell us who you are.

As I say, I'm still curious. I have also found that it's unwise for me to answer questions put to me while questions I have posed get no answer. It's a two-way street.

I'll say this much, though. First, your question has nothing to do with the subject of this thread, that being the supposed by-product of sex offender residency restrictions. Second, I would have to think that the reason for veering off the topic is little more than to attempt to drive a wedge between me and federalist, whom you view as an ally of mine. Third, my view of dealing in drugs like heroin is well known to anyone, like you, who has read my posts.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 21, 2009 1:52:50 PM

Hi Bill. Thanks for answering. I must not be the same "observer" you exchanged posts with before though. I've never said anything about protecting my employer, etc. I just picked the name "observer" out of the air, probably subconsciously plagiarizing a previous poster's nom de blog (sorry, original "observer").

I'm not trying to "drive a wedge" between you and federalist so much as trying to provoke federalist. It's so easy to do, and I find the results amusing. But I promise not to drag you into it anymore. You're in a completely different class than federalist - i.e., you are respectful of Prof. Berman and other commentators. Unlike federalist, you don't accuse people of having been dropped on their heads when you disagree with them. Unlike federalist, you (and Kent S.) actually respond thoughtfully.

So, my apologies. And, FWIW, I agree with you that heroin dealing is a serious offense.

Posted by: observer | May 21, 2009 2:12:17 PM

DL --

Yes, well, while I'm doing my Maire Antoinette imitation, maybe you could point to just one sentence I wrote that you think is factually incorrect and explain why you think so. Between your swooning over perverts and condemning as "self-centered" people who manage to behave normally, you forgot to do that. But I wouldn't want to deprive you of the chance.

I knew your post was going to be a piece of work when it started off with this: "Men accused of inappropriate sex acts have become our nations scapegoats. It is worse than the Salem Witch Hunts..."

First, we aren't talking about the "accused." We're talking about the convicted, usually by their own sworn guilty pleas.

Second, I have to love your locution "inappropriate sex acts." Yeah, well, that's one way of putting the violent rape of an eight year-old, plus the other (and even worse) stuff these people do.

Third, it's Salem Witch TRIALS, not Witch Hunts. You're so overwrought with zeal to make excuses for these characters you're mixing one phrase with another.

I'd say that you should just calm down, but it wouldn't do any good.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 21, 2009 2:17:41 PM

Obsever (#2) --

My apologies for having mistaken you for the other Observer. On the computer screen, it all looks the same.

Thank you also for your kind remarks. But I have to confesss that the degree of my respect in responding to posters tends to match the degree of respect (or even just seriousness) in their remarks. I'm capable of being flip, by I try to hold it down.

Prof. Berman provides a valuable forum and seems to me to be quite open-minded about what he allows here. He is also, to say the obvious, an expert in the subject matter. I for one am grateful for his efforts, even though I most often disagree with him.

Finally, many thanks for placing me in a category with Kent -- a thoughtful, responsible and (in my view) billiant man.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 21, 2009 2:33:32 PM

Bill, I think there are a few problems you're not even attempting to address.

The range of crimes that result in sex-offender restrictions is pretty broad. Some of them are horrendous, but some are pretty minor. Statistics show that, for many of these crimes, the probability of a second offense is extremely low. Yet, we force these people into ghettos—something we do not do for criminals far more likely to re-offend.

If we have decided as a society that a particular crime does not warrant life in prison, then it is in our interest to make it possible for these people to re-integrate into society and live normal, law-abiding lives. Failure to do so creates other burdens on the taxpayer. If you read the article, you will note that many Miami citizens are not happy about a permanent "sex offender camp" that is a perpetual blight on their city.

Partly, your post is just plain ignorant. For instance, I do not for one minute believe that there is no low cost housing available except in areas closer than 2500 feet to where children gather. You see, poor people have children too. The trouble isn't finding low-income housing, but housing where no children are present.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | May 21, 2009 2:40:49 PM

Marc Shepherd --

"The range of crimes that result in sex-offender restrictions is pretty broad. Some of them are horrendous, but some are pretty minor."

But so far as I have seen, you oppose residency restrictions in ALL cases. I will stand to be corrected if I'm wrong about that. If you support such restrictions in some cases, however, it just becomes a matter of where to draw the line, and our disagreement is more narrow than you seem to think.

"Statistics show that, for many of these crimes, the probability of a second offense is extremely low."

This is not something you'd want to tell Jessica Lunsford, the ten year-old who was raped and murdered by a previously convicted sex offender. (He killed her, incidentally, by burying her alive).

When the "probabliites" don't work out so well, who winds up paying the price? Who SHOULD wind up paying it?

"Yet, we force these people into ghettos—something we do not do for criminals far more likely to re-offend."

No one is forcing them into ghettos. We don't tell them where they must live. We tell them where they must not live. Florida has about a zillion square miles. Think they could find a legal place to hang out if they really wanted to?

"If we have decided as a society that a particular crime does not warrant life in prison, then it is in our interest to make it possible for these people to re-integrate into society and live normal, law-abiding lives."

Residency restrictions might make it somewhat more difficult to re-integrate, but they do not make it impossible. How you behave is a geat deal more important than where you live. The major point, though, is that it is not society's job to see that these guys lead normal, productive lives. It is THEIR job. Best they get to it.

"Partly, your post is just plain ignorant. For instance, 'I do not for one minute believe that there is no low cost housing available except in areas closer than 2500 feet to where children gather.' You see, poor people have children too. The trouble isn't finding low-income housing, but housing where no children are present."

Partly, your post is just plain oblivious to the actual words I used. The excerpt of the article Prof. Berman posted talks about residency restrictions that forbid these offenders from living "within 2,500 feet of anywhere that children gather." Contrary to your post, this in NOT the same thing as being barred from places where children "are present." A gathering place would commonly be understood to mean a school or playground. The mere fact that the offender was living next to a poor couple and their kid would NOT ipso facto put him in violation of the restriction as described in the article.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 21, 2009 3:40:43 PM

Bill, you may well be ignoring how much ground 2500 feet covers - 2500 feet is approximately a half mile. How many low income housing places are there which are not within a half mile of a playground, school, day care center, church, library (all are locations where various localities have prohibited sex offenders from living in the radius) etc. Each one of the locations where a sex offender is prohibited from living within 2500 feet will prevent a person from living in a half mile long radius from that location.

How many urban environments are there where there isn't a school, day care center, park, or playground within a half mile?

Posted by: Zack | May 21, 2009 4:18:10 PM

Exactly. "Gathering" is what children tend to do, when they are present in more than trivial numbers. In a city like Miami, there is probably no housing development that is not within 2500 feet (i.e., half-a-mile) of of a gathering-place covered by the statute. That is precisely why these people are being dumped into a tent city underneath a bridge.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | May 21, 2009 4:48:49 PM

Bill Otis:

Marc Shepherd said it was in society's INTEREST that offenders re-integrate into society. He did not say it was society's JOB to re-integrate offenders. Those are two different sentiments.

You keep coming back to personal responsibility and how every person is responsible for his own behavior and/or rehabilitation, no matter how high the barriers. But how's that working out? Let's get real: People have been "choosing to act on their own impulses" since Cain murdered Abel. It happens. Merely saying, "People shouldn't commit crimes, then we wouldn't have any crime" is not helpful. It doesn't work as policy.

Posted by: CN | May 21, 2009 5:40:34 PM

Zack --

"How many urban environments are there where there isn't a school, day care center, park, or playground within a half mile?"

I don't know and I suspect you don't either. Nor would it be conclusive in any event, since no one is requiring these people to live in "urban environments." There are plenty of suburban, exurban and rural places to live.

Marc Shepherd --

What you said was that the statute prohibited these offenders from living "where no children are present." But, as you now apparently admit, that is not what the statute says. Any way you slice it, a prohibition on living where children ARE PRESENT is a different and more onerous condition than a mere prohibition on living near a place where children GATHER. Specifically, it would not include just living next to a low-income family with kids -- which is what you were directly implying by telling me, somewhat sarcastically, "You see, poor people have children too."

Don't they ever. But the statute doesn't cover that.

Of course you can prove me wrong by citing a case -- just one case -- in which a sex offender waa punished merely for living within 2500 feet of a poor family that had a kid. And the name of that case is.............???


Posted by: Bill Otis | May 21, 2009 5:49:01 PM

CN --

"Marc Shepherd said it was in society's INTEREST that offenders re-integrate into society. He did not say it was society's JOB to re-integrate offenders. Those are two different sentiments."

True as far as it goes, but the first implies the second. Moreover, it was the whole burden of Mr. Shepherd's post to spell out why society should take it upon itself to make arrangements that would facilitate re-integration.

"You keep coming back to personal responsibility and how every person is responsible for his own behavior and/or rehabilitation, no matter how high the barriers."

Indeed I do. This is because (1) it's true and (2) so many people here seem intent on running away from it. And the supposed "barriers" generally consist of willfulness, selfishness and callous disregard of the victim. If you're waiting for me to be sympathetic to that sort of stuff, you'll be waiting a long time.

"But how's [the personal responsibility bit] working out?"

Pretty darn well (since the majority of people aren't criminals), and better than you give it credit for, but not as well as it could or should. A principal reason for its shortcomings is that a segment of society insists on making excuses for people shirking their responsibility to behave. The more currency these excuses get, the more likely it is that exactly the wrong people will come to believe them.

"Let's get real: People have been 'choosing to act on their own impulses' since Cain murdered Abel. It happens."

Which is hardly a reason to condone or accept it. Indeed it's a reason to do the opposite.

"Merely saying, 'People shouldn't commit crimes, then we wouldn't have any crime' is not helpful."

For someone who was at pains to insist on the exact wording of Mr. Shepherd's post, you sure are willing to play fast and loose with the wording of mine.

At no point did I say, "People shouldn't commit crimes, then we wouldn't have any crime." What I said was that it blinks reality always to point the finger at society, while making endless and often phony excuses for the person whose me-and-what-I-want-first behavior is actually the source of the problem.


Posted by: Bill Otis | May 21, 2009 7:53:28 PM

Bill and Observer #2,

Glad we cleared up the misunderstanding, #2, and no problem on copping my non de post... not like it was incredibly original or something; I just thought "anonymous" was too generic (although, as Bill consistently points out, accurate).

Bill, I see your point, I realize anonymity can be a screen and an excuse for ad hominem attacks and generally irresponsible behavior, and I try not to engage in those kinds of activities (thought I may have slipped into questionable territory here and there). Despite your suggested approach, disclosure is not feasible for me personally. So, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. And honestly, I don't feel like this is that big of a problem, or makes that much of a difference in credibility. It's interesting to know who people are in real life, but I figure that if I make a comment, it can usually be judged on the merit of the ideas contained in it, not on my personal credibility. At any rate, if I really wanted to attempt to bring whatever meager influence and prestige I have to bear to influence the public/policy debate, I would choose a forum other than blog comments. This is just healthy discussion.

Also, sorry, I did not mean to engage you in a dialogue (on a previous thread) and then disappear. I've been on vacation fromr my (undisclosed, anonymous, highly guarded) workplace.

-Observer numero uno

Posted by: Observer #1 | May 21, 2009 10:32:59 PM

Observer numero uno --

No problem. Posting here is an avocation, not a profession. Hope you enjoyed your vacation. I take it you had sense enough to leave the PC at home. Good for you. These things can be addictive, and the only way to stop...............is to stop.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 21, 2009 10:54:22 PM

The sex offender should apply for Social Security Disability. If refused, sue under the Amended American with Disabilities Act. They have an impaired major life function and meet the enhanced criteria. Their statutory exclusion violates the Equal Protection Clause. The new law, signed by George "Commie" Bush, applies to the States.

I find it ironic, but can explain it. Homosexuals have a more deviant sexual interest. They cause the deaths of 10's millions of people by spreading a disease, sometimes intentionally. They are more disruptive and vicious in their bullying of Christians.

Yet the lawyer is privileging them with criminal penalties for case reporting to the Health Department. The vile, family killing lawyer is legitimizing their relationships with marriage, when it will never be more than a friendship. The lawyer will silence even verbal criticism from the pulpit with enhanced hate speech legislation.

In the Iowa article, a commenter had a neighbor who was a doctor that dated a patient, now a registered sex offender. A senior high school student who dated a sophomore, now a sex offender. He liked these sex offenders as neighbors.

How to explain the privileging of a very deviant breakdown in the ability to reproduce, the sole meaning of life, and the persecution of people who have done nothing wrong, except violate the extreme, family hating prejudices of vile feminists.

The Rent Seeking Theory.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 22, 2009 7:04:16 AM

Bill, all I know is that I have never once in my life lived in a location (in large cities, small towns, and suburban areas) that was more than a half mile from a school, park, day care center, or playground - other than my grandparents who lived on a farm, I can't think of any friends or family members who lived in such a location (and note that even at the farm, there was a one room school house nearby) (maybe its been years since you lived in apartment complexes, but many apartment complexes have playgrounds on their premises - many of the new "exurban," suburban developments, and planned urban developments (especially) also would include park space and playgrounds as part of the ammenities. And parks and schools have always tended to be located near residential areas (at least in every place where I have ever lived). Don't forget that small in house daycare centers are not uncommon in many middle class and lower middle class areas.

Bill, my life experience and observations suggest that few residential areas are going to be open with such a restriction and while not specific knowlege of everywhere, the places where I have lived and work and visited (such as where my family and friends live) probably comprise a pretty decent sample. I suspect that most other people would reach the same conclusion.

Also if you want some more tangible real world evidence on the effect of buffer and exclusion zones, read up on some of the adult use zoning cases.

Posted by: Zack | May 22, 2009 10:19:40 AM

And Bill, I never disputed that rural areas would be available for sex offenders (my oberservation suggests that most suburban areas would also be off limits) - but is dumping sex offenders from cities and suburbs onto rural areas and thus requiring rural areas to have to provide the probation/parole supervision and treatment the best solution?

Posted by: Zack | May 22, 2009 10:39:24 AM

But of course, sex offender registration and residency restrictions are not "punishment." Such niceties are merely "regulatory." Because they are not "punishment," society neatly sidesteps the double jeopardy issues inherent to a regime that reappears decades after the original proceeding to uproot the ex-offender because the people have chosen to "regulate" where he may live.
It is refreshing to see the "punishment is divine" usual suspects here not even consider the fig leaf and go straight to the meat of the matter and talk about good, old-fashioned "punishment" for the evil ways of the wrongdoer.
Moreover, and I hate to bring this up where the righteous are feeling so righteous, but there are people who are registered who have not been convicted of a sex offense (Texas, like some other states, has "deferred adjudication, where there is no finding of guilt); and people who took a deal long before sex offender registries--or residency restrictions--were even a gleam in a demagogue's eye, who would have insisted on a trial were they made aware of the "regulatory" intrusion in the future.
Finally, you can always spot a tool of the state; they will invariably trot out the boogyman (in this case, the killer of Jessica) to instill fear in the masses in order to gain affirmation of whatever engorgement of state power they are seeking. However, such tactics are probably not so effective in this forum due to the audience. Factually, the killer of Jessica is an anomaly and an outlier from the core of what is considered a "sex offender." Just as everyone who drinks before getting behind the wheel is not an intoxication manslaughterer, every sex offender is not a child rapist-killer. The tool of the state has an interest in blurring the lines between "sex offender," "child molester," and "sexual predator" in order to increase the perceived danger in the minds of the masses, regardless of the factual distinctions. A population that is afraid is putty in the hands of the state--and it makes jury selection much less complicated from the state's table.

Posted by: Mark#1 | May 22, 2009 1:29:44 PM

Mark#1 --

"It is refreshing to see the 'punishment is divine' usual suspects here not even consider the fig leaf and go straight to the meat of the matter and talk about good, old-fashioned 'punishment' for the evil ways of the wrongdoer."

Don't know that punishment is "divine." It's an appropriate response to crime, sure. Do you disagree?

And if sexually abusing a defenseless kid isn't evil, what's your definistion of "evil"? Let me guess -- Alberto Gonzales.

"Moreover, and I hate to bring this up where the righteous are feeling so righteous..."

Somehow I don't think you really hate to bring it up. The more likely prospect is that you're obsessed with it. As for being righteous, one would have to look hard to find a post more convinced of its righteousness than yours. You give a new definition to the phrase "high horse."

"...but there are people who are registered who have not been convicted of a sex offense (Texas, like some other states, has "deferred adjudication, where there is no finding of guilt); and people who took a deal long before sex offender registries--or residency restrictions--were even a gleam in a demagogue's eye, who would have insisted on a trial were they made aware of the 'regulatory' intrusion in the future."

I don't really see why being called "regulatory" or "punishment" makes a difference as to whether residency restrictions are WISE, which is the topic here.


"Finally, you can always spot a tool of the state..."

Not as easily as you can spot a mouthpiece of the criminal.

"...they will invariably trot out the boogyman (in this case, the killer of Jessica)..."

That's it, he was just a boogyman.

"...to instill fear in the masses in order to gain affirmation of whatever engorgement of state power they are seeking."

Actually, I noted Jessica's rapist/killer in response to the claim that sex offenders have a low recidivism rate. The defendant there, John Couey, had an extensive record of child sex crimes, but the "engorged" state power of which you speak was not so engorged as to actually do anything effective to stop him. Instead it put him back on the street.

"However, such tactics are probably not so effective in this forum due to the audience."

That being largely defense lawyers.

"Factually, the killer of Jessica is an anomaly..."

One would hope.

"...and an outlier from the core of what is considered a 'sex offender.'"

To deal with such grotesque "outliers" is exactly why we have the death penalty. Of course you don't like that either.

"Just as everyone who drinks before getting behind the wheel is not an intoxication manslaughterer, every sex offender is not a child rapist-killer."

Who said otherwise?

"The tool of the state has an interest in blurring the lines between "sex offender," "child molester," and "sexual predator" in order to increase the perceived danger in the minds of the masses, regardless of the factual distinctions."

The mouthpiece of the criminal has an interest in hyping cases of innocence in order to increase the phony perception that the jails are chock full of blameless people.

"A population that is afraid is putty in the hands of the state..."

A population that is unconcerned and complacent about what goes on with their kids is the petri dish of most of the bad stuff that happens to children. Fortunately, the great majority of people are not about to become complacent on that subject, for however much you might pooh-pooh John Couey and other "boogymen" you would like to censor from the discussion.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 23, 2009 9:08:39 AM

Bill, if you're certain there are plenty of places offenders can legally reside within the region, please contact the judges and law enforcement agencies who have been telling offenders, lawmakers, and the media that there are not any such places available. Perhaps you've missed it, but offenders have been ORDERED by those supervising them to live under the bridge.

"A population that is unconcerned and complacent about what goes on with their kids is the petri dish of most of the bad stuff that happens to children. Fortunately, the great majority of people are not about to become complacent on that subject, for however much you might pooh-pooh John Couey and other "boogymen" you would like to censor from the discussion. "

Folks willing to stand up and fight for false security are most successful in the raising the level of harm to which their children will become victim. You see, even the Center for Missing and Exploited Children is backing away from the "stranger danger" borne policies such as residency restrictions. Sure, you can continue to support them on principle if you'd like (some folks feel it raises their credibility to support tough policies--even if those policies fail), but you can do so knowing the focus of those policies has done zero--according to all research, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and victim advocacy groups--to prevent children from becoming victims.

Posted by: Rika | May 23, 2009 12:14:55 PM

Rika --

1. There are 54,252 square miles of land area in Florida. You're telling me that the only place not within 2500 feet of where children gather is underneath one bridge in Miami?

I guess I just don't believe it. I doubt you believe it either.

2. Perhaps you could post a copy of a court or probation department order directing a particular person to live under the bridge. I haven't seen any such thing.

3. I can't speak for you. For myself, the security of my family is my responsibility, and I am not counting on convicted sex offenders to give me a lot of help with it by actually obeying the law that requires them to live apart from where children gather. If they were inclined to obey the law, they wouldn't have been fooling around with children to start with.

So you need not concern yourself with my having, or foisting off on others, a "false sense of security." My family is as secure as I can make it, but as long as there are men out there -- like the ones whose right to live anywhere is so dear to you -- I am fully aware that there is no foolproof route to security. What I am also aware of -- but it seems you aren't -- is that this fact doesn't mean you don't try to do what you can.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 23, 2009 12:49:48 PM

To address but a few points--assuming momentarily the killer of Jessica was in fact raised by your as some sort of rebuttal to the low recidivism fact: anecdotal recounting of sensationalist and brutal murders as support for public policy leads to bad laws; I don't think that anyone without a vested interest would disagree. However, even assuming the "recidivism rebuttal argument" is authentic, you fail to make a connection between residency restrictions and child safety. I'm not taking you to task over the omission however--because you can't make the connection--as there is none. As a matter of fact, this failure to make any connection between residency restrictions and child safety infects most of your arguments here. Moreover, you seem to have fallen prey to the hysterical fallacy which permeates this issue: equating "sex offender" with a person who had previously committed a sex offense against a child. The sex offender registration and residency restriction laws apply equally to persons whose accusers were adults. How does that guy affect the safety of "The Children"(tm).

The characterization of residency restrictions as "regulatory" is in fact one of the most important aspects of the conversation. There's this thing called the United States Constitution, which on paper prohibits being punished twice for the same offense. Were it not for the "regulatory" ruling by most of the courts, residency restrictions would affect only a fraction of the persons dislodged now, as being uprooted from one's home at gunpoint can fairly be considered "punishment."

I haven't heard anyone argue that the population isn't concerned with what happens to their kids. What many people argue in reference to residency restrictions is the fact that "stranger danger" is an over-hyped hysterical drumbeat which drowns out the more prevalent threat of sexual abuse to children--according to Department of Justice statistics. 87% of sex offenses against children are committed by family, friends, acqaintances or persons with permissive access to the child. Yet by pandering to the agenda-driven fear represented by residency restrictions, people like you are actually making children less safe by obscuring the more serious danger to "The Children"(tm).

Posted by: Mark#1 | May 23, 2009 1:29:22 PM

Mark#1 --

You ignore numerous questions I asked, and I've found it counterproductive to respond in detail to commenters who just stay on single-minded offense. So I'm not going to spend a lot of time replying to your last post. There is one thing that stands out, however, and gives away the game.

That would be your use of "The Children(tm)." That, combined with your brushing off the Jessica Lunsford rape/murder as just a boogeyman sideshow makes all too obvious your appallingly dismissive attitude toward children.

Maybe you'll find some takers for it here. I will not be among them.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 23, 2009 5:30:44 PM

"No one is forcing them into ghettos. We don't tell them where they must live. We tell them where they must not live."

I see what you did there...clever thing you!

Rika,

You have the most clear and concise, logical presentation of facts related to this issue that I have ever seen. Logic and reason have been losing this battle for quite a few years now, and it is very refreshing to see facts presented so well. Crucial, undeniable facts are consistently ignored by people who would otherwise seem reasonable and intelligent. I've never seen anything like it. It is literally the same "If she floats..." mentality that we have read about in history books.

I've been reading this blog for almost 4 years now. I have a friend in GA, and this quote sums up his situation:

"there are people who are registered who have not been convicted of a sex offense (Texas, like some other states, has "deferred adjudication, where there is no finding of guilt); and people who took a deal long before sex offender registries--or residency restrictions--were even a gleam in a demagogue's eye, who would have insisted on a trial were they made aware of the "regulatory" intrusion in the future."

It's actually happened twice. The first time "the law changed" they just threw him up on the registry. I woke up one morning and there he was. He was able to fight it and received a court order from the original judge that took him off. 2 years later, the precedent case that was cited in the order was overturned in the appeals court, and he was put back on in Jan. of 08. His crime was statutory rape. He was in college and claims he didn't know, but I guess "they all say that."

This article really did grab my attention, though, and the 26 comments made me want to chime in.

In other news...

"Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau host 'Hot For Teacher' night at local club"
http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/archives/169396.asp

Posted by: John | May 25, 2009 8:26:49 AM

what no one seems to understand is that the offenders HAVE TO BE RELEASED to the district/county of their conviction and remain there for the entire time they are under supervision which can be years.....so yes there are lots of areas they could probably live and be in compliance it's just not legal for them to move there.....so that is why the parole/probation department sticks them under the bridge .....geez you guys sound like 12 year olds arguing back and forth but totally missing the main point of why this is happening and by the way it protects no one.....

Posted by: jamie | May 25, 2009 11:48:10 PM

1. You are apparently either ignorant of, or unwilling to acknowledge the existence of, standard conditions of release that restrict unfettered movement. Ask someone who works in probation or parole why anyone under supervision may not simply set up a shack on any spot of available land in the state. Then, the problem may make more sense to you.

2. I do not have ready access to court documents. However, I believe the judges, attorneys, probation officers, and victim advocates who have stated that many of those same professionals have given those orders--at least verbally. You may assume they're lying, but I don't.

3. "What I am also aware of -- but it seems you aren't -- is that this fact doesn't mean you don't try to do what you can." No, it'a quite apparent you're the one unwilling to do what OUGHT to be done. By continuing to support residency restrictions, you are making the world a more dangerous place. It's really that simple. You may turn to the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and numerous law enforcement agencies for information as to why that is true. After all, they joined forces to ask the Ohio Supreme Court to THROW OUT residency restrictions as a matter of public safety.

So yes, I do understand the matter of self-responsibility, and that the matter includes the obligation to follow what is true rather than what sounds tough. Others believe tough is of greater virtue, and there's the pity.

Posted by: Rika | May 28, 2009 12:11:07 PM

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