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April 8, 2010

Mass high court considering GPS tracking rules for sex offenders

As detailed in this Boston Herald article, which is headlined "DAs unite to use GPS on sex offenders," the most popular of modern technocorrections was before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court yesterday. Here are the details:

Allowing sex offenders to roam free without GPS monitoring has district attorneys joining forces to appeal to have judges granted the authority to slap the fiends with ankle bracelets.

The state Supreme Judicial Court yesterday heard both sides of the controversy in a case about a convicted Middlesex County child rapist who objected to wearing a GPS-monitoring device during his 10-year probation term.  “These are people who by their very nature cannot control their sexual impulses and are likely to reoffend,” said Middlesex County District Attorney Gerard Leone, whose office prosecuted Ralph Goodwin, the sex offender at the center of the legal battle.  “It’s paramount we have some means of significant monitoring.”

After he finished jail and civil sentences last summer, the Probation Department requested GPS monitoring for Goodwin.  Superior Court Judge Kathe M. Tuttman, however, ruled she did not have the authority to impose the monitoring.  In her ruling, Tuttman cited a 2009 SJC decision that decided a 2006 law mandating GPS devices on all sex offenders placed on probation cannot apply retroactively....

Since the summer, about 234 sex offenders have been allowed to remove their ankle bracelets as a result of the SJC ruling.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said it makes sense to give judges the right to decide whether GPS monitoring is appropriate.  “I believe that judges should have the option to make that finding,” he said.  “It doesn’t necessarily mean it would be done in every case.”

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett agreed.  “It’s just another probationary tool to help keep the public safe,” he said.  “We have an obligation to speak up about this and ask the court to make a decision.”

April 8, 2010 at 10:45 AM | Permalink


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“These are people who by their very nature cannot control their sexual impulses and are likely to reoffend,”

Ok, so change that to:
“These are people who by their very nature cannot control their thieving impulses and are likely to reoffend,”

And explain why that doesn't apply to convicted thieves? Or is Leone saying "by their very nature" to imply that these people are doing what comes NATURALLY?

Either way, bad argument.

Posted by: Jwild | Apr 8, 2010 11:19:52 AM

This is ridiculous. They say the judge would know best in which cases who is supposed to have the bracelets? So, now we trust judgements again? I mean, when AWA was enacted, we re-classified thousands not based on what their judges in their cases thought, but based solely on the charge they plead to or were convicted of.. regardless of the particulars of the crime. So now we have people on the SO list who we have no idea why they are there except their charge, but now we are going to let judges decide on individual cases? Why? It is clear in previous litigation, they did not give a hoot what the judges, prosecutors or attorneys thought. And why should they? They were only involved in the actual cases.. why would you want a judges opinion when you could just railroad all sex offender into wearing bracelets? And most of the public could care less, because it does not effect them or their family.. they think "sex offender" automatically makes you a child molestor.

I am ashamed of the country we live in.. we intentionally ignore what the constitution says about our rights so we can attack those we are afraid of, and those that we blame our problems on erroneously. Sounds a whole lot like the ideology that killed 6 million jews in Nazi Germany. I don't think I am overreacting, because they are saying right in this article that this is every offender's "ver nature" ... See? "These people are not human, just look at them."
Worked against the Jews, and its working against the Sex Offenders. (Some of whom did nothing more than grab a butt, were a 'romeo' or who peed in public.) And they have already proven the judges have no say in the case, even if they were the judges who originally sentenced. This country is doomed to hypocrisy and the creation of 2nd class citizens. What happens when the law is 'Death for ALL sex offenders?" Do they challenge it in court AFTER it takes effect, like now? Complete horsesheeit..

Posted by: tbucket | Apr 8, 2010 12:04:42 PM

"These are people who by their very nature cannot control their sexual impulses and are likely to reoffend,” said Middlesex County District Attorney Gerard Leone, whose office prosecuted Ralph Goodwin, the sex offender at the center of the legal battle. “It’s paramount we have some means of significant monitoring.”

Where's the data? Is there smoking gun proof that every sex offender MUST reoffend? Nope.. The rate of recidivism is low (just over 5%), and this guy's OPINION is taking the place of fact.
I like how the article called all sex offendersd 'fiends'.. Nice and inflammatory. Once again, iam SO SURE they have looked into the over 700,000 cases in America and said "They are all fiends and all will reoffend"... 630,000 people must suffer for the acts of 5%? (70,000 truly dangerous?) And how do we tell the difference? Oh yeah, we are SUPPOSED to look at the facts from the original cases.. God forbid we actually look into the facts. Hey attorneys, is there any basis for defamation suits here when a news paper article labels all sex offenders as dangerous fiends without actually looking at individual cases? They are giving all a bad rep, and preventing all from getting decent living accomodations and jobs because of inflammatory, erroneous opinions such as this? How does anyone with a minor offense even live a normal life when newspapers and DAs are out to "prove" with their opinions alone that all are just as dangerous?

Posted by: sari | Apr 8, 2010 12:50:54 PM

i agree...these CRIMINAL LIES by DA and politicans have long went past stupit to CRIMINAL and they should be prosecuted to the follest extent of the law. If the state fells to do that they lose any right to claim to be either a state or any immunity from the reaction of the citizens they are screwing over.

Posted by: rodsmith | Apr 9, 2010 2:43:19 AM

Private Citizen

The day that I'm shown that having this put on sex offender will protect my children or any other child is the day that I will be all for it.It seems to me that having this will only do any good after a event, shouldn't the focus be on stoping the event BEFORE it happens? The after is to late.

Posted by: Mike | Jan 4, 2012 9:56:58 AM

To Jwild: Although I cannot read the entire article since too much time has passed since it was published, from the excerpts I gather that the issue was about if the judge thought that GPS could be implemented retroactively on this offender. Of the 39 states that currently use GPS tracking of sex offenders, the vast majority of them have included in their statutes descriptions what sorts of offenses classify the sex offender as serious enough to need GPS tracking (whether it be a “tier” or certain types of “offenses”, depending on the particular state’s classification system). In other words, GPS tracking is not blindly used on sex offenders who, as you phrased it, “did nothing more than grab a butt, were a 'romeo' or who peed in public.” (Which are still crimes, even if not necessarily one that requires lifetime GPS tracking.) Additionally, GPS tracking of sex offenders has been ruled unconstitutional when it is mandatory, for life, and non-reviewable, so offenders do have a way to appeal to get out of GPS tracking.
As for your argument that this is at all comparable to the Holocaust, please keep in mind that the Holocaust consisted of genocide of six million innocent people. That is, killing people who had never committed a crime other than being of a certain religion. Here, we have people who have committed crimes, some of them being the most terrible kinds of sexual offenses which cause both mental and physical pain for the victims for years to come (and some of the victims being very young). And yet, GPS tracking is being used to allow these offenders to be released from prison and have much more freedom than if they were in prison and had no freedom.

To tbucket: Again, I emphasize that GPS tracking of sex offenders does have an alternative that will limit sex offenders even more: the state could simply keep them in jail longer. Additionally, there are three problems with your argument that “630,000 people must suffer for the acts of 5%”. First, all of these sex offenders have been convicted of a crime. This means that they are not entitled to the same rights as law-abiding citizens insofar as these crimes have led to their imprisonment. So, it is not the ones who reoffend who “ruin” it for the sex offenders who may not (or who may) reoffend. It is every single sex offender’s own fault that they offended in the first place and subsequently lost their rights. Second, I again emphasize that GPS tracking is being used as a tool to enable sex offenders to be given more rights than they would be given if they were forced to stay in prison. This tool has been proven to be an effective way of deterring sex offenders from committing additional sex crimes after their release (sex offenders not on GPS tracking are actually three times more likely to recommit than sex offenders on GPS tracking). Finally, the rate of recidivism of over 5% has actually been under-accounted for since the vast majority of sex crimes go unreported. The real rate of recidivism is thought to be over 15%, with over 40% of these crimes occurring within the first year of the offender’s release.

Posted by: Katie | Jul 8, 2012 9:22:39 AM

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