Monday, October 12, 2009

Upcoming Bills effecting Maine RFSOs

Ok all this is what we are facing so far during the next Legislative Session that starts in January. Can anyone tell me what constitutes a Class D sex offense here in Maine? (see LR: 2383) Three of the proposed bills deal with changing the 750 foot residency restriction limit passed last session. Notice the first two would add Day Care Facilities to the places limiting where you can live as an RFSO . And the last one who is going to vote against little old ladies being raped in the nursing home? But my thought is why are they trying to add a new category, when I am pretty sure these are already sex offenses. It will be interesting to see the full bills and how they are worded.

Bills Being Requested as of yesterday.
LR: 2189: An act to Limit the Distance from a Day Care Facility within Which a Registered Sex Offender May Reside

LR: 2142: An Act to Increase the Maximum Distance from a School and a Day Care Center That May Be Set by Municipal Ordinance beyond Which a Sex Offender May Reside

LR: 2180: An Act To Provide to Certain Municipalities a Waiver of the Requirement To Adopt a Comprehensive Plan and Allow Those Municipalities To Enforce Their Ordinances

LR: 2383: An Act To Provide Full Accountability for Convicted Class D Sex Offenders

LR: 2105: An Act To Require Persons Who Commit Sex Offenses Against Dependent or Incapacitated Adults To Register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 1999

Citizens for Change-Maine
Po Box 611
Bridgton, ME 04009
State Coordinator
Maine Citizens For Change

Friday, October 9, 2009

OK Will Force Women Who Get Abortions to Be On Internet Registry!

Too Much Information, Not Enough Common Sense


A new Oklahoma law will require the details of every abortion to be posted on a public website.
Mothers -- or would-be mothers, rather -- will be prompted to answer 37 questions that range from her marital status and race to how many times she's ever been pregnant. One question asks for the woman's reason to abort, offering "relationship problems" as a possible check-off box, and it's difficult to ignore the judgmental and disapproving tone.

The website, which will cost $200,000 per year to implement, is intended to prevent or decrease the number of abortions in Oklahoma, but the bill has already raised considerable debate, attracting opposition from the Center For Reproductive Rights and former Oklahoma Representative Wanda Jo Stapleton, among others. This questionnaire not only forces doctors into an uncomfortable predicament -- failure to disclose this information would result in "criminal sanctions and loss of medical license," as Salon's Lynn Harris reports -- but, put simply, it shames women. "They're really just trying to frighten women out of having abortions," Kery Parks, director of external affairs at Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, told Harris. Indeed, in a small town, probing details would easily identify the woman with a proverbial scarlet A.

Sensitivity issues aside, this possible law poses a question about the extent to which transparency works in today's information-saturated society, where the line between reasonable alerts and public shaming has increasingly blurred. The latter is nothing new, with historical roots in the mark of Cain, Jesus's crucifixion, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and the Nazis' yellow stars during the Holocaust -- quite the range right there.

More contemporary examples include a theft defendant in Michigan who was ordered by
a judge to bear the words "Daddy, don't steal" on his arm, and convicted shoplifters who were sentenced to wear neon green t-shirt with the phrase "I'm a thief" while performing community service in Ohio.

Sometimes, transparency makes complete sense, like when a medical professor promotes a specific drug and simultaneously sits on the board of its distributor. Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig discusses transparency's merits in The New Republic:

In particular, management transparency, which is designed to make the performance of government agencies more measurable, will radically improve how government works. And making government data available for others to build upon has historically produced enormous value -- from weather data, which produces more than $800 billion in economic value to the United States, to GPS data, liberated originally by Ronald Reagan, which now allows cell phones to instantly report (among other essential facts) whether Peets or Starbucks is closer.
But Lessig's piece focuses more on the questionable uses of transparency, arguing that the good intentions do not always yield good results. Consider an editorial recently published in the New York Times about sex offender registries:
Meanwhile, an attempt to create a national registry -- part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act passed in 2006 -- has faltered badly. States fretting about the costs and legal complications all missed the deadline to comply, which was then extended to July 2010. They worry that the registry would create an overwhelming monitoring burden and that it uses crude means of assessing the likelihood that offenders might repeat their crimes. The list of offenders is so large as to be almost useless. It is supposed to include not only rapists and kidnappers but also flashers and teenagers who had consensual sex.
The Offender Locator iPhone application is among Apple's top-selling features, but is it creating more harm than protection? In many ways, as these sorts of disclosures, literally available at our fingertips, spiral out of control, and everyone can find out everyone else's business in the virtual community created by the Internet, we seem to be returning to the dangerous age that Hawthrone described. Oklahoma legislators, take note: "Sunlight may well be a great disinfectant," Lessig says, "But as anyone who has ever waded through a swamp knows, it has other effects as well."

Monday, October 5, 2009

When Adults Fail Children—For Life

Brody's Scribbles... A Guest Editorial from Dr. Marty Klein

article link

When Adults Fail Children—For Life

By Dr. Marty Klein

The Iowa Supreme Court has affirmed the conviction of 18-year-old Jorge Canal, who complied with a 14-year-old friend’s request for a photo of his penis. The young man is now forced to register as a sex offender, meaning his chances of getting a college degree, job, or livable apartment are pretty much ended.
According to the court, the girl “generally hung out with teenagers older than herself;” was “only friends” with Canal; thought the picture was sent “only as a joke;” and was not “a means to excite any feelings.” Nevertheless, Canal was convicted of “knowingly disseminating obscene material to a minor.”
Canal was a foolish kid. But there are many ugly, stupid, irresponsible adults in this story. The girl’s mother, who checked her daughter’s e-mail and internet use, found the photo and forwarded it to her husband. The father then showed the photo to his friend, a police officer. The cop arranged to have Canal arrested. A prosecutor pursued the case, a judge tried it, a jury convicted. These adults failed Canal and his friend miserably. His ruined life will be a testament to their fear, insecurity, and hatred.
All these adults were supposedly attempting to protect Iowa’s young people–by punishing this kid who was fooling around with a pal.
So let’s spend a moment in the real world (which none of these adults seem to inhabit). Which is likely to hurt this 14-year-old girl more—seeing a 2-square-inch photo of a friend’s erect penis, or being the reason that this friend will spend time in jail and decades as a registered sex offender? Her life is now ruined (in addition, of course, to his), because of her criminally negligent parents, criminally ambitious prosecutor, and 12 jury members who failed to protect people who needed justice but received only wrath.
Americans should understand the horrors of our obscenity laws: a picture or word or object is obscene only after a jury decides that it is. And a jury can decide that ANY picture, word, or object is obscene. So no one can know for sure what’s obscene until it’s too late. This is exactly like laws against “hooliganism” in places like Russia that we rightly deride.
The judge in Canal’s case had rightly told the jury that “a depiction of a person’s genitals was not in and of itself obscene. In order for the depiction of a person’s genitals to be obscene, an average person applying contemporary community standards with respect to what is suitable material for minors must find the material is patently offensive, appeals to the prurient interest, and lacks serious literary, scientific, political, or artistic value.” At that point, the picture becomes illegal, and sharing it with someone else becomes a crime.
A jury of twelve Americans destroyed Jorge Canal’s life because they believed that a picture of his erect penis is “patently offensive.” I hope each of them never gets a good night’s sleep for the rest of their lives.

Dr. Marty Klein has been a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist for 29 years. As a clinician, he works each week with couples and individuals who have a variety of sexual and non-sexual difficulties--over 30,000 sessions since 1980.
Dr. Klein fights for the sexual rights of all Americans through his legal and courtroom work. He has been an expert witness, consultant, or invited defendant in many state and federal censorship, internet, and obscenity cases.
He has authored over 100 articles in publications such as Parents, New Woman, and Playboy, as well as San Francisco Medicine, the California Therapist, and the Journal of Homosexuality. He is also a former contributing editor to The New Physician, American Baby, and Modern Bride.