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October 28, 2009

Supervised sex offenders required to attend education meeting on Halloween night

Halloween In recent years in lots of communities, sex offenders are formally required or highly encouraged to turn off their lights and/or otherwise avoid any involvement in Halloween activities.  Now, as detailed in this local article from Alabama, it seems that many jurisdictions are now taking more proactive measure to keep sex offenders out of the community and out of sight on Halloween:

A new policy from state and federal probation offices is aimed first at helping educate and reintegrate sex offenders and secondly to safeguard the community, said U.S. Supervisory Probation Officer Jeff Purcell.

Felony sex offenders are required by the State of Alabama Probation and Parole Office and the U.S. Probation Office to report to an undisclosed location for a meeting from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, according to the Probation Office of the U.S. District Court, Northern District. This includes felony sex offenders under federal supervision in Madison, Morgan, Lawrence counties and Madison County offenders under state supervision.

“We thought it would be comforting for the community to know these folks are not at home on Halloween night and they don’t have to worry about kids going to their doors,” Purcell said.

The meeting includes an educational program for offenders, with discussions including updates on sex offender laws, the Adam Walsh Act and rehabilitation opportunities, as well as training for employment. “This operation is a proactive venture to provide education and training to sex offenders, improve accountability and behavior change, as well as safeguard the community in that these sex offenders will not be participating in Halloween activities,” Purcell said.

Previously, felony offenders were required only to turn off their lights, not answer the door or hand out candy on Halloween. “We would have to check up on them and make sure they were doing that,” Purcell said. “It’s difficult to get to all the houses.” The meeting is required only for supervised offenders. “We don’t have any authority over those who are not under supervision,” he said.

October 28, 2009 at 06:08 PM | Permalink

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Also in recent years: the extension of DST to November means an extra hour of daylight on halloween.

Posted by: . | Oct 28, 2009 6:26:46 PM

Halloween Hysteria: Phantom Fears and Sex Offenders

An aside to Bruce Cunningham if you are around.

Manduley v. Superior Court, 27 Cal. 4th 537; 41 P.3d 3; 117 Cal. Rptr. 2d 168; 2002 Cal. LEXIS 622.

In considering the validity of the Court of Appeal's decision, we emphasize that this court is not confronted with any question regarding the wisdom of authorizing the prosecutor, rather than the court, to decide whether a minor accused of committing a crime should be treated as an adult and subjected to the criminal court system. In the present case, rather, we must decide whether section 707(d) satisfies minimum constitutional requirements; we are not called upon to resolve the competing public policies implicated by the measure, considered by the electorate when it voted upon Proposition 21, and discussed at length by numerous amici curiae who have filed briefs in support of petitioners or the People. As we shall explain, we conclude that a prosecutor's decision to file charges against a minor in criminal court pursuant to section 707(d) is well within the established charging authority of the executive branch. Our prior decisions instruct that the prosecutor's exercise of such charging discretion, before any judicial proceeding is commenced, does not usurp an exclusively judicial power, even though the prosecutor's decision effectively can preclude the court from selecting a particular sentencing alternative. Accordingly, we disagree with the Court of Appeal's conclusion that section 707(d) is unconstitutional under the separation of powers doctrine.

Because the Court of Appeal held that the statute violates the separation of powers doctrine, the appellate court did not resolve the other constitutional challenges to section 707(d) raised by petitioners in that court. In order to prevent continued uncertainty regarding the status of numerous proceedings involving accusations of criminal conduct committed by minors, we shall resolve those remaining issues in the present case. As discussed below, we have reached the following conclusions with regard to these questions: (1) the absence of a provision requiring that a judicial fitness hearing take place before a minor can be charged in criminal court pursuant to section 707(d) does not deprive petitioners of due process of law; (2) prosecutorial discretion to file charges against some minors in criminal court does not violate the equal protection clause; and (3) Proposition 21 does not violate the single-subject rule, set forth in article II, section 8, subdivision (d), of the California Constitution, applicable to initiative measures.

Posted by: George | Oct 29, 2009 12:28:02 AM

If anything is going to be done on Halloween this seems like a much better idea than requiring lights out or signs or any of the other such things locales have implemented. As the article itself points out this way they don't have to go around and make sure that everyone is in compliance.

I do, however, wonder how much warning an offender is required to have before changes in release conditions can be considered valid.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Oct 29, 2009 9:36:50 AM

Just heard the same thing is occurring in Waterbury, Connecticut this weekend. Sex offenders on probation reportedly were told that they would be watching a movie together at the probation office from 5-9pm -- mandatory.

Posted by: SM | Oct 29, 2009 2:04:52 PM

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