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October 27, 2010

"Elderly, Ill Sex Offender Sues Perry Over Monitor"

The title of this post is the headline of this interesting and effective new piece from the Texas Tribune reporting on interesting technocorrections developments and litigation in the Lone Star State.  Here are the particulars:

Sixty-one-year-old Marvin Brown has had three mini-strokes in the last two months. He has diabetes, stage-four renal disease and congestive heart failure.  On good days, he walks with a cane.  Other times, he gets around with a walker or an electric wheelchair.

But according to Gov. Rick Perry, Brown is among the most dangerous sex offenders in Texas.  Perry has ordered that Brown and other registered sex offenders who were previously released from continuous monitoring must now be monitored again with ankle bracelets.  Brown, who was convicted in 1985 of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy and of indecency with a 16-year-old boy, says forcing him to wear the ankle monitor not only puts his fragile health at risk — it's also a violation of his civil rights.  On Tuesday, he filed a lawsuit asking the federal courts to keep the state from putting him back on the monitor. “They can’t give you freedom and then take it away,” Brown says.

Last month, Perry announced a raft of new measures to crack down on what he called “the most dangerous sex offenders.”  Among other things, Perry said he would designate $1.7 million in federal grant money to help the Texas Department of Criminal Justice use technology to monitor high-risk sex offenders on parole.  “These initiatives will provide greater protections to our citizens by taking our efforts in dealing with sex offenders up yet another notch,” Perry said in a press release.

Since that announcement, 153 parolees have been returned to active electronic monitoring, says Michelle Lyons, a criminal justice department spokeswoman.  All the parolees who have received ankle bracelets, she says, were previously on a passive monitoring system that logged their daily whereabouts and created a report for parole officers.  Ankle bracelets, she says, allow for real-time monitoring to ensure sex offenders aren’t going near playgrounds or other areas where children congregate.  With the grant money, the department could put ankle bracelets on as many as 600 high-risk sex offenders.

Brown found out about Perry’s new crackdown efforts a couple of weeks ago, when his parole offic er told him he was on the list of sex offenders to be put back on active monitoring. Brown served 14 years of his 40-year sentence in the criminal justice department before he was paroled in 1999 and placed on intensive supervision, which required him to wear an ankle bracelet with a GPS monitor.  In 2007, the Board of Pardons and Paroles took Brown off intensive supervision and removed the monitor.  With the monitor off, Brown says, he could lead a somewhat normal life — shopping, making friends, eating out with family and attending church without an ominous-looking briefcase that carried a beeping device.

He could also deal more easily with his health problems, going to the doctor’s office and taking emergency trips to the hospital when necessary.  Brown, who lives alone, had a life alert-like system installed at his house so that he could use the telephone to update nurses at the hospital with his vital statistics and so that he could get quick help in case he had another stroke or heart attack and couldn’t reach the phone.  The ankle bracelet, he says, will interfere with the system, and he worries that without it he could die.  “If you have a stroke or a heart attack and nobody finds you until the next day, it’s too late,” he says...

In the lawsuit, he alleges that the state is violating his constitutional right to due process by forcing him back on the ankle monitor without justification or a legal hearing on the matter.  “It’s a public embarrassment,” Brown says.  “I don’t know how I’d be able to attend church.”...

Attorney Bill Habern has defended parolees and sex offenders like Brown for decades.  He says he sympathizes with Brown but believes his lawsuit is probably doomed.  The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals — in a case Habern defended and is appealing — ruled that once a person is a convicted sex offender, the state can impose conditions it sees fit to protect the public....

Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for the governor, says the move to increase sex offender monitoring was not politically motivated but was intended to provide greater public protection from sexual predators.  Lyons, the criminal justice department spokeswoman, says she can't comment on pending litigation but maintains that the ankle monitors are designed for those who are considered at high risk for reoffending.  “I can't see how having more supervision wouldn’t add to public safety,” she says.

October 27, 2010 at 08:49 AM | Permalink

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Comments

So he pays for his crime, is released from monitoring. and then a few years laer gets put back on because of no further action from himself? I suppose they are hiding behind "keeping kids safe".. there is no kid in the world who could not outrun this invalid, knowing his every movement is beyond unnecessary.

The old man paid for his crime. Thats it/ Now he gets to fight this for what's left of his short life, after he was released and did no further harm to anyone.

Love Texas.. slave owners from the Civil War flocked there because they thought they would be able to practice their subversion of the human soul there. And guess what? Now they can! All the politician scumbags are bigger in Texas.

Posted by: tbucket | Oct 27, 2010 10:57:24 AM

“I can't see how having more supervision wouldn’t add to public safety,” she says.

It is this kind of truthiness that has the criminal justice system tied up in knots. How many of these offenders had actually reoffended before the monitoring was reinstated? Where is the evidence of need justifying this expense? I guess some politician saying "I'm pretty sure we need it" justifies millions of dollars in expense. A system that isn't capable of distinguishing between a crippled old man and someone who actually has the mobility and strength to commit a criminal offense does not instill confidence.

OTOH, it is an election year and Perry's fabulous hair can only get him so far.

Posted by: Ala JD | Oct 27, 2010 11:19:56 AM

It is always important to follow the money when policies change, or new construction or technology is needed etc.

My guess is that this monitor was lobbied for heavily by the industry that provides and services the monitors. Of course when you see that a federal grant has been received for a specific purpose or department, take a closer look.

Posted by: beth | Oct 27, 2010 11:58:37 AM

loved this!

"But according to Gov. Rick Perry, Brown is among the most dangerous sex offenders in Texas."

To me the BIGGEST threat to texas is THIS RETARD!

as for these tratorious NAZI'S!

"The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals — in a case Habern defended and is appealing — ruled that once a person is a convicted sex offender, the state can impose conditions it sees fit to protect the public...."

I think anyone living in an area under their jurisdiction has every legal right to remove them from office anyway necessary up to and including physical violence!

Posted by: rodsmith | Oct 27, 2010 3:42:09 PM

I admit the following comment is not directly related to this story, but I would like to throw something out there.

As we all know, Halloween is upon us. Its a time of year where local authorities and groups particularly like to play up the "sex offenders are true dangers to the community" scare tactic.

In most cases, offenders wisely choose to not advertise their homes or go one step further by going elsewhere for the evening.

However, there are always a few handfuls of stories where local authorities will round up offenders for the night, force them to post signs in their yard declaring what they are, and so forth.

In my view, this is similar treatment to this story. Extra and unnecessary restrictions being imposed after someone has paid their time and poses no threat.

You all are of course free to follow up on this or ignore it, or perhaps Doug would even want to make a dedicated article to this topic.

Posted by: Questions_Authority | Oct 27, 2010 11:26:03 PM

His personality is really far away from his vision status or health status. he is really a kind of amazing.

But according to Gov. Rick Perry, Brown is among the most dangerous sex offenders in Texas. Perry has ordered that Brown and other registered sex offenders who were previously released from continuous monitoring must now be monitored again with ankle bracelets.

Posted by: exercise bike stand | Oct 28, 2010 12:07:39 AM

"The old man paid for his crime. Thats it/ Now he gets to fight this for what's left of his short life, after he was released and did no further harm to anyone."

Amen to that

Posted by: Self build | Mar 31, 2011 10:58:18 AM

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