Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why are People So Terrorized?

I was reading a short article tonight about a man who was accused of molesting a child. There weren't many details but in the comment section afterwards there were many hateful comments. This is not a new thing I do understand that but I got wondering why people responded this way? This is the link to the article and the responses Today the mere accusation of any sex offense heaps scorn and fury onto the person proported to have committed it. There was a time when you were innocent until PROVEN guilty. But today there exsists such terror and hysteria that anyone accused is got to be guilty even if they do "prove" they aren't. People will forever hold onto the accusation and always wonder if they really were guilty after all "Where there's smoke...." Forget that many are falsely accused by someone with an agenda, like an ex who wants custody or someone else who for whatever reason you got angry with you. If it wasn't such a serious thing I would feel sorry for the responders but it raises a spector of vigilantes. I wish the media would think before they issue statements about people caught in these deliemas. There are crazy people out there who take these situations as a license to kill. Like Herbert Jones who showed up with a gun last May to hunt down a man who served time for a sex offense. Luckily he was stopped before anyone got hurt by an alert school officer. Jones told reporters he had seen a documentary on "child molestors" and decided it was his life's mission to kill them. The question I ask is are we safer in knowing who has done time for sex offenses or even who is accused of them? If Jones had not been stopped before going in the AA meeting do you think he would have left without killing someone? The man he was hunting for was in jail for a probation violation and was not at the meeting. The orginal registry was intended as a tool for Law Enforcement only. As a way to rule out those who had sex offenses when a child went missing. I believe that until the registry is rolled back to it's orginal intent then all of us are less safe because of the crazy people out there who feel that they are the judge and jury, once that happens there will be less instances of this hatard and lunch mob mentality that this article and it's responses promote.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Interesting Constitutional Question Raised by Crimal Justice Committe

These past few weeks I have attended several work sessions and listened to many others. The Justice Committee has been working on trying to bring Maine SORNA Registry into compliance with Maine's Constitution. In a recent case Maine's Supreme Court ruled that certain aspects of the SORNA Registry are unconstitutional, That it is in fact not a civil scheme but one that is punitive in nature and that people convicted between 1992 & 1999, who had to register as part of their sentence who then had time added to their registration requirements; when the laws were later changed, were in fact having their sentence added to. This is called ex post facto which means after the fact which both the State and our Nation's Constitution have said cannot be done to anyone for any reason. Also the Court ruled that the every 90 days in person registration at the local police station is punitive and must be changed. Janet Mills Maine's Attorney General gave the committee several options for dealing the these issues. The simplist one would be what they called a rolling registry which would mean that each person would have to comply with the laws in place at the time the offense was committed. Admittedly a logistical nightmare for the state but simplest and fairest solution of all. Bit it also would mean that many people would simply no longer have to register. Instead,what has evolved during their discussions with various experts is they plan expand the waiver program they implimented last year to include those from 1992 to 1999, previously the only people who could take advantage of this were people convicted between 1982 to 1992, those who had the registry imposed on them when they changed the laws in 2005 and made them retroactive to include people all the way back to 1082. This is a simple plan that only allows people who quailify to apply and it is either granted or denied with no room to apeal the decision. They would then add a second step that is more involved, you would get a hearing in front of a judge and could present evidence showing that you are no longer a risk to society. At this stage they are debating the wording and what would be exceptible to show your risk level. This will they hope get them off the hook with the Court and keep the most people on the registry. Never mind the fact that the people we are talking about have served their time and been living in society trying to live an offense free life for 10 to 20 years.
The thing that has come up that bothers me the most is they have decided to exclude anyone who has an out of state conviction. In other words if you are a current resident of Maine no matter how long you have lived here you could not take advantage of either oppurtunity they are considering. Why is this? How can they have two different classes of people? Does the State's Constitution only apply to people who committed their offense here in Maine but not to those who made a mistake outside of Maine but is now a resident? Well I think I can answer why they are trying to do this whether or not it is Constitutional or not. From the very first work session the state was made " We don't want Maine to become a "HAVEN STATE". They are fearful that if word gets out that Maine has easier registry requirements that hoards of former offenders will flock to Maine looking to get off the registry. If they are so fearful of this happeneing why not place some kind of residence rerequirement. Such as former offenders must live in Maine for a certain length of time, for instance say after living here for at least 5 years and if you are eligable according to all other requirements before you could apply. Instead they are trying to interpet the Constituion two different ways.
I wonder how many people are even concerned with this or are even bothered in any way? Does anyone realize that one the Constitution can be twisted to suit different agendas that their rights are in danger as well. There is a reason the statue outside courts are shown as blind, it is that justice should be blind it must apply to those we dislike as well as those we like, or we all stand to lose in the long run. What will it take to get people to notice? Once we have lost our rights it is too late to get them back again.