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October 15, 2011

Sex offender registers Occupy protest camp as home address

This local article from Oregon, which is headlined "Sex offender claims Occupy Portland as address," reports on an interesting new connection between recent public protests and crime and punishment. Here are excerpts:

Portland police report that one of the residents of the Occupy Portland camp is a sex offender from California. A police lieutenant says the man registered at the Portland Police headquarters, and gave his local address as ‘Lownsdale Square, Occupy Portland.'

Protesters whom FOX 12 spoke with remained unconcerned that a sex offender may be in their midst....

"He is in Portland from California, and he listed his address as ‘ Lownsdale Square, Occupy Portland,'" Said Portland Police Lieutenant Robert King. King says the man registered with detectives as Raymond Allen Curtis, 32, and is complying with the law by checking in with Portland Police.

"It doesn't concern me, ‘cause I lived in Southeast Portland where there's one in every corner and every house anyways," Julianne Dunn says. "You never know when you could be attacked wherever you're at. So you have to be aware of your surroundings."

Surrounded by City Hall, the Justice Center and the Multnomah County courthouse, campers are preparing for the second weekend of Occupy Portland.

October 15, 2011 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

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Comments

This might be indicative of a growing trend of unintended consequences of over-reaching and ever expanding registries. 10 years ago, the reaction to being notified that a sex offender is within your midst would have been mortification and fear.

The reaction from the crowd of Occupy Portland seems to be: *shrug* "Meh."

Registries that include many more crimes than were originally intended, and notify the public of offenders both dangerous and innocuous, lose their potency.

"It doesn't concern me, ‘cause I lived in Southeast Portland where there's one in every corner and every house anyways," Julianne Dunn says. "You never know when you could be attacked wherever you're at. So you have to be aware of your surroundings."

Though this is just the opinion of one participant in the movement, the lack of any reported significant reaction leads me to believe that there was non, and the response above was more the rule than the exception.

Is public perception changing in response to over-inclusive and diluted registries?

Certainly the opinion above shows less reliance on who government(s) tell us to fear and relies more on personal accountability and common sense.

Posted by: Eric Matthews | Oct 15, 2011 5:17:07 PM

Eric Matthews --

Let me just ask a question. One's attitude toward sex registries is going to depend on who's on them. I keep hearing that the people on them are really just there for public urination and Romeo/Juliet romances. I have my doubts about this. I suspect the heavy majority are there for forcible rape or attempted forcible rape or for taking indecent liberties with a minor much younger than they are.

So let me ask you: What are the percentages? What percent are there for forbicle rape? What percent for child abuse? What percent for public urination? Etcetera.

Sometimes "fear," as you put it, is warranted. Sometimes it isn't. It depends on who we're dealing with. So who ARE we dealing with on thes sex registries? What are the numbers?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 15, 2011 7:16:26 PM

Bill:

Sex-offender obeys law! News at eleven!

You have the resources through your DOJ contacts to find out how many are forcible rapists and child-molesters, and how many others there are. I am sure the answer is very few.

The issue really (as described by an ignorant Justice Kennedy in Doe vs. Smith) was recidivism.

Well, currently people defined as Sex-Offenders are re-arrested on (any other crime, not necessarily a sex crime) at 3-5%, less than the typical 70% for robbery and drug crimes (1994 DOJ Study - You look it up).

That is less than 1 in 20. I guess we can crucify 600,000 people because we are too lazy to make distinctions.

Posted by: albeed | Oct 15, 2011 10:17:05 PM

Bill,

I decided to look at Texas data. Unfortunately for this purpose the TX system only publicly identifies people who did in fact commit what people normally think of as a sex offense. My understanding however is that lots of other offenders are required to go through the registration process.

I wrote to the Tx DPS first to verify that my understanding is correct, and if it is to see if they will break down the ratio of publicly visible offenders to those who are merely required to register. I don't expect a reply over the weekend but I will post whatever response I do get.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Oct 15, 2011 10:34:20 PM

Bill,

Do you think the sex offender in the story, Raymond Curtis, is in the heavy majority?

Considering that the Portland authorities allow him to stay in a park that is the site of protests, I have difficulty believing him to be an imminent threat. (I am assuming the Portland authorities have good judgement in these matters) I also couldn't find him on the California on-line registry.

Unrelated, but I find it interesting that the Fox news story reports on this sex offender and then dovetails to how children are present at the park. But no information is released about if this particular sex offender is a pedophile.


Posted by: Robert | Oct 15, 2011 11:24:10 PM

Soronel:

I hope you get meaningful data from Texas, but I doubt you will. Most state SO laws were established (1994-1996) as part of Megan's Law to receive the maximum federal dollars for their LE agencies.

Please see the NCMEC website, http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/sex-offender-map.pdf

This is the most damning document ever established (inadvertently) to demonstrate the arbitrariness of SO laws.

Notice that PA has 87 registered SOs for every 100,000 population. Oregon has 612 registered SOs for every 100,000 population.

That means that Oregon has 7 times the number of SOs as PA.

Crime reports indicate that the number of Sex Offenses in Oregon and PA are probably equivalent.

In addition, there are 740,000 registered SOs in the US and if each one recidivated at a rate of 1 in 35 years, you would have 22,000 crimes annually repeated by SOs. I don't see that number.

The political expedience of having a group to hate and (Bill: Hear the word FEAR), is being repeated again in history. Where have we heard that before, and are hearing it NOW!

My fears, would have begun years ago with the the corrupted establishment of the Sullivan Acts!

Don't criminalize me for getting the means to defend myself, my family and my property, for political lies and expediency.

Where has the real political leadership gone, long time passing!

Posted by: albeed | Oct 15, 2011 11:37:23 PM

Soronel --

Thanks for looking. Please let me know if you can find actual numbers.

To the rest of the commenters: I asked a perfectly valid question; I'm looking for info, not looking to start a fight. YOU'RE the ones spoiling for the fight.

If and when you get over that, and you find the statistical breakdown I'm seeking, please let me know.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 16, 2011 7:15:21 AM

Bill -


As you know, sex offender laws vary widely nationwide. The Adam Walsh Act of 2006 carried a piece of legislation intended to standardize State registries in order to give some sort of semblance of uniformity between them. The teeth of the law threatened to take away 10% of a given State's Byrne grant funding for law enforcement if "Substantial Compliance" was not met, judged by the SMART office.

I won't try an speak to all 50 registries here. However, I can speak to my home State's registry: Nebraska. With it's current law (passed for the sole purpose of being AWA compliant), the state went away from risk-based assessment and switched instead to an offense-based level system demanded in AWA.

Currently, well over half of all registrants here are now a Level 3, made so after psychiatric professionals were no longer tasked to evaluate the actual risk a registrant posed to the community. Here's why:

The way the current law is written, the offense based system measures the penalty a registrant could have been sentenced to. Any crime that carries a sentence of over 1 year of incarceration disqualifies a registrant to level 1 status. Nebraska's sentencing law makes the lowest felony, Class IV, punishable by 0 - 5 years of incarceration. Thus, only some misdemeanor offenders are allowed on level 1.

That means that offenders who were given probation because their specific crime did not warrant years in prison, despite the statute their conduct violated, are not given any deference for their actual sentence or risk to the community. If that conduct was considered a Class IV felony, the offender is automatically pushed to Level 2 or above.

Also, since the passage of the AWA 'compliant law' (even with this attempt, NE is not considered to be sufficiently compliant by the SMART office because NE refused to put juveniles on the public registry and website), all offenders are put onto the State's public website. The Nebraska public used to see only Tier III offenders online, who are those that were deemed by a professional to be the greatest risk to the public. Now, the number of registrants online has more than tripled.

I can give you numbers of registrants who are broken down into the three levels and I can tell you what triggers those levels, but there is no data set that I'm aware of that will break down how many registrants are in each level and for which crime.

Are there any DBA's or programmers out there that can write a string of code for this? I wonder if there's a grant I can get that will pay me to manually count them all?!

So, Bill, those are the best 'numbers' I can give you right now. Nothing exact, I regret, but it gives a very clear idea of why it seems the public is less scared.

There are monsters out there, and definitely people that should be feared. We agree 100% on that. As detailed above, the current systems in place, if they are AWA 'compliant', do not do an effective job distinguishing monsters from those that are not scary, wouldn't you say?

I know that words like 'monster' and 'scary' are not scientific terms, and many offenders fall somewhere in between, but my point was only that public fear may be diminishing because a Romeo's is listed as Level 2/3 next to the monsters. Even one Romeo dilutes the potency of the level system, IMHO.

Posted by: Eric Matthews | Oct 16, 2011 12:18:24 PM

how true eric. ohio had the same thing happen. they caved to the nazi's in washington and make thier sytem awa compliant! suddenly they not only had their sytem go from the majority were lvl 1 or 2...to 90% going to lvl 3...the worsst of the worst!

plus they had 1000's who had not even been registered or had finished everything decades ago getting letters stating they NOW HAD TO REGISTER with the local police every 90 days for the rest of their lives!

after 20,000 lawsuits and 2 trips to the state supeme court...the entire mess was canned as an ILLEGAL RETROACTIVE PUNISHMENT!

the state is REQUIRED to use the law in effect at the TIME OF THE CRIME to determine IF they register and WHAT conditions apply during that registration!

you know!

they are now REQUIRED to FOLLOW THE CONSTUTION!

Posted by: rodsmith | Oct 16, 2011 1:42:39 PM

Eric --

Thanks very much for your answer. Like you, I hope someone can come up with a system for telling us the numbers -- i.e., who is actually on the sex registries and the crimes for which they were convicted. I just can't imagine how anyone could develop an intelligent way to know how to regard sex registries while we're so much in the dark about who's on them, why, and in what numbers.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 16, 2011 5:13:06 PM

"I just can't imagine how anyone could develop an intelligent way to know how to regard sex registries while we're so much in the dark about who's on them, why, and in what numbers."

Bill, no truer words were ever spoken by anyone than your comment above. However, we are dealing with political pandering for votes. Note how many times the bogeyman sex-offender and Halloween restrictions will be reported in the next two-weeks.

As the Democrat Leadership once said:

"Never let a good crisis be left unused" (something like that).

The whole sex-offender registry laws are not based on reason, but political capital.

Mark Foley originally proposed them; (he was found to like teenage boys).

Bill Clinton signed the original Megan's Law; to deflect concerns about ML.

LE embraced them (for the extra-funding).

John Walsh has financial interests (and btw, is the only fully recovered sex-addict in human history).

Your friend Sensebrenner supported them for reasons I cannot understand.

Rep. Scott knows the problems, but is aware of the political risk.

The media love it for ratings!

No one on the National Level can respond to your question, especially the DOJ SMART (just plain dumb) office. The answer to your very appropriate question is that no one knows because the original definitions were established by individual states (all 50 of them) and we don't really care to understand and are trying to pretend to protect the women and children.

That is much easier (and wasteful of government dollars and hurtful to the non-dangerous).

I propose a starting point, but will be shot down by the feminists:

No absolutely consensual act between persons above the age of 14 (historical maturity and hormonal reasons), should be listed as a sex-offender. Other sanctions may be appropriate, but SO registration should not apply.

I believe that these are the majority of the people listed as Sex-Offenders.

Posted by: albeed | Oct 16, 2011 7:39:51 PM

The people are starting to realize the sex offender registry is nothing more than a means of taking away freedom for all citizens. It is beyond time to abolish the registry.

Posted by: oncefallendotcom | Oct 18, 2011 6:25:44 PM

Soronel:

Do you have the Texas data yet?

I don't want one of Bill's most intelligent comments on this blog to go unanswered.

oncefallendot.com:

"The people are starting to realize the sex offender registry is nothing more than a means of taking away freedom for all citizens. It is beyond time to abolish the registry."

I agree: along with that, all government pensions and retiree health care benefits!!!

Posted by: albeed | Oct 18, 2011 10:35:27 PM

Eric Matthews: "Are there any DBA's or programmers out there that can write a string of code for this?"

What would that programmer be looking for if he were to write a "sting of code?" Its not as if you could create an algorithm to search all online registries to determine the crimes and number of people who committed a crime that required SO registration - each state lists the crime in different ways [e.g. state penal code].

Posted by: Huh? | Oct 18, 2011 10:50:03 PM

@ Huh?
I believe the FBI collects cotton swabs from all felons convicted of sex crimes for a national DNA database. I would be certain to avoid confusion that they've broken down offenses into a more basic nature of what crime was involved.

Posted by: prisoner #F-390362 | Oct 18, 2011 11:07:27 PM

The FBI does collect DNA.

Posted by: Huh? | Oct 20, 2011 10:00:48 PM

Sorry, meant to say that The FBI does NOT collect DNA.

Posted by: Huh? | Oct 20, 2011 10:01:31 PM

To add to this discuss from a different standpoint: I'm a registered sex offender and I've never touched, or had sex with a minor even when I was one. My crime was having knowledge of a runaway and I did not report the crime to authorities. In WA State this is "Kidnapping 2". I was called to a location by the pastor of our Church where there were two students. The Pastor took them and kept them away from there parents for five days. I was called by the police and asked if I knew where they were; I said no as I did not know where they had been moved to. I was also out of state at the time of the call. After the teenagers returned home one of their parents pressed charges. Based on a new law in WA State we were guilty of Kidnapping 2 for failure to notify the police or their parents. Even though neither teenager was unlawfully imprisoned, was in my home, my car and my contact with them was limited to 10 minutes I was guilty of this crime. And even though my crime had no sexual motivation I have to register as a sex offender. The more I've researched this the more cases like mine I've uncovered. There are thousands of "Sex Offenders" just like me.

Posted by: Mark | Oct 21, 2011 3:31:22 PM

Mark:

Kind of makes you proud to be an American and respectful of LE and prosecutors at all levels of government, doesn't it.

To make sure that prosecutors have the easiest laws to obtain a conviction, have absolute caveats with no distinctions and differentiations. This absolves LE, prosecutors and judges from intelligent responsibility to justice.

Posted by: albeed | Oct 21, 2011 8:03:38 PM

SORONEL:

WHERE IS BILL'S PRECIOUS TEXAS DATA!!

Posted by: albeed | Oct 21, 2011 10:53:13 PM

@Huh?
"In the USA, the FBI has organized the CODIS database. Originally intended for sex offenders, they have since been extended to include almost any criminal offender."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_DNA_database

Posted by: prisoner #F-390362 | Oct 23, 2011 12:49:59 AM

Hello - to "albeed” I suggest looking on the net for articles written by Jill Levinson and others. They are experts in the statistics aspect of sex offenses. It is hard to give exact numbers because each state is different. In regards to the poster that said they thought they doubted the reports of benign offenders being on the list and that they were actually mostly dangerous-that is true in some states but in others (like Florida it is not true). In Florida, ALL sex offenders are on the registry for life (including hundreds of deceased persons) regardless of the crime. I can tell you that last time I checked about 5 percent of those registered (in Florida) are actually dangerous. The others were benign crimes and stupid choices by young people. In many cases these laws are ruining young lives for things that are just normal human behavior. I wish people would become educated about this growing issue and begin to finally protest these laws. The media perpetuates the public perception by reporting misleading and just plain incorrect information about sex offenses and offenders-no one protests it because it is sensational and makes people feel safe. For instance, a local news program reported that a certain action by a sex offender was due to a “loop-hole” in the law. It was not a loop-hole it was just simply the law! The offender had completed his punishment and was now allowed a privilege that he was not before. Yes, I want to know who is a danger to children but the 19 yr old guy that looks at pornography of 16 and 17 year olds on the internet is not a danger to society.

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