At one time, America was simply an idea. People escaping the oppression of England were heading to a new life in a new world. The “idea” was freedom and equality. Later on, along those same lines of thinking a constitution…
What is it about some people? Why do they decide that it is their place to step in and control a situation? Some even going to the point of harassing or becoming violent in the name of what is right. It is not right.
Vigilantism. It’s an age old problem. Vigilantes see themselves as upholding the laws, since law enforcement has not. The problem is, they go beyond the law and most of the time end up breaking the law. Then, when caught they stand up for each other. However, when they break the law, they are the criminals.
Rather than being law abiding citizens and allowing the system to work, they hinder law enforcement in doing their job, which is to protect citizens, all citizens. Vigilantes consider themselves as above the law and in effect thumb their noses at laws they disagree with. Or worse, they feel they can do a better job. In the process the recruit others and soon there is a whole group of dangerous, unstable vigilantes acting on their own as law enforcers. At the very least they stir up paranoia and evoke fear and hatred. And occasionally their actions lead to beatings and murder.
One vigilante has found herself on the wrong side of the law. After harassing registered former offenders in a trailer park in Florida, Barbara Farris, the president of a group known as the Bee Squad, which tracks sex offenders in central Florida has been arrested on a warrant from Alabama. The charge, menacing.
It would seem that this person is the most dangerous in the area, not the RFSO’s who are monitored by the state. This should be a warning for vigilantes everywhere, let law enforcement do their job and worry about your own families.
“There is an old saying the one that screams loudest about someone else has the most to hide.”
While some push the fear and misinformation buttons, a growing number are beginning to understand the facts. This article from Alaska is an example of intelligent thinking.
In 1996 a Federal law went into effect which required all states to require convicted sex offenders to register, and to make that information available to the public.
Many people carry the new Internet enabled
CARR v. U.S.
THOMAS CARR, PETITIONER
Supreme Court of United States.
June 1, 2010.
JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR delivered the opinion of the Court.
Since 1994, federal law has required States, as a condition for the receipt of certain law enforcement funds, to maintain federally compliant systems for sex-offender registration and community notification. In an effort to make these state schemes more comprehensive, uniform, and effective, Congress in 2006 enacted the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA or Act) as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, Pub. L. 109-248, Tit. I, 120 Stat. 590. Among its provisions, the Act established a federal criminal offense covering, inter alia, any person who (1) “is required to register under [SORNA],” (2) “travels in interstate or foreign commerce,” and (3) “knowingly fails to register or update a registration.” 18 U. S. C.
Adam Walsh’ Provision Requiring Attorney General to Reclassify Sex Offenders Violates Separation of Powers
Opinion: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/0/2010/2010-Ohio-2424.pdf Adobe PDF Link opens new window.
Video clip View oral argument video of this case.
(June 3, 2010) In a narrowly tailored decision announced today, the Supreme Court of Ohio voided as unconstitution al two sections of the Ohio Adam Walsh Act (AWA) that authorize the state attorney general to reclassify sex offenders who had already been classified by judges under a previous version of the law, “Megan’s Law.” The Court held that the challenged provisions violate the separation-of-powers doctrine of the Ohio Constitution.
Today’s decision leaves in place all of the law enforcement registration and community notification requirements of the AWA applicable to sex offenders who were classified on or after the Jan. 1, 2008, effective date of that law, and reinstates the pre-AWA registration and community notification requirements that judges had ordered offenders to comply with pursuant to Megan’s Law.
In this case, Christian Bodyke, David Schwab and Gerald Phillips were separately convicted of sex-related crimes prior to 2007. Pursuant to the pre-AWA version of Ohio’s sex offender classification statute (known as Megan’s Law), the trial court in which they were convicted conducted a formal hearing in each case at which the judge reviewed factors enumerated in the statute and issued a final order assigning each of the offenders to a classification that imposed a duty of postrelease registration with the sheriff in their county of residence.
For the past 15 years, the public has been left with a false sense of security. A federally funded study has determined that Megan’s Law does not work.
Conducted by independent psychologists along with staff from the state Department of Corrections’ Office of Policy and Planning, this comprehensive study looked at 21 years of sex offense rates. It confirms in New Jersey what other studies have found elsewhere. Megan’s Law “has no demonstrable effect in reducing sexual reoffenses.”
Megan’s Law struck out on every important area related to protecting the community from sexual offenders. Not only is there no evidence that it reduces sexual reoffenses, Megan’s Law:
Fails to positively impact sex offender rearrest rates,
Fails to change the type of reoffenses or first time offenses that occur, or
Fails to reduce the number of victims involved in sexual offenses.
As the state agency charged with representing those required to register under Megan’s Law, the state public defender agrees completely with the study’s findings and with its ultimate conclusion that “given the lack of demonstrable effect of Megan’s Law on sexual offenses, the growing costs may not be justifiable.”
What is equally remarkable is that other research cited by the New Jersey study, as well as our own experience, shows that Megan’s Law can be “counterproduct ive” to public safety. Notification laws have been found to isolate offenders from normal relationships, undercut their opportunities for housing and employment and subject offenders to threats and assaults.