Sex Offenders Can’t Be Banned From Facebook

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Banned From Facebook

An appeals court decided that sex offenders are not allowed to be banned from Facebook.

A United States appeals court has decided that a law passed in Indiana last year banning registered sex offenders from using social media sites online is not legal.

The ACLU challenged the law a year ago, but it was upheld by a judge in Indiana.  The court recognizes that social media is an important part of today’s society, and offenders online have the same needs for social media that other people do.

The ACLU argues that the law was too restrictive, and it prohibited too many activities that are protected by the First Amendment.

The way the law was written, it barred sex offenders from using online social media to look for jobs on social media sites like LinkedIn.  They also could not post on news sites.  Social media can also be used to follow religious or political figures.

The ACLU feels that existing laws protect children from sex offenders, and this new law was too restrictive without offering more protection.

The Court of Appeals agreed with the ACLU, claiming that banning sex offenders from using social media infringed on their First Amendment right of free speech.  The ruling from this higher court overturned the ruling from last year.

Another reason for the decision is that the Court recognizes that the State already has a law stating that adults can not have inappropriate communication with children, and this new law restricted the same thing and more.

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Rights To Online Anonymity Given To Sex Offenders

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Online Anonymity Given To Sex Offenders

In California, a bill that would remove the rights of a sex offender to have online anonymity while using email, instant messaging and social media, among other sites and service online, has been blocked by a federal judge. Judge Thelton Henderson deems Proposition 35 to be an unconstitutional bill.

The State of California has summarized the bill in question as this:

Sign, Wapello, Iowa. This was put up in reacti...
Sign, Wapello, Iowa. This was put up in reaction to Megan’s Law. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human trafficking fines and prison sentences would be increased and the convicted human traffickers would be required to participate in the sex offenders registry. The registered sex offenders would be required to reveal all activities and identities pertaining to the Internet. It would cost the state and local governments a few million dollars to address the offenses of human trafficking. However, this cost could potentially be offset with the increase in the fines that are dedicated to the victims of the crime.

This bill was passed by a majority vote of 81% in November. However, it was blocked temporarily by the filing of a lawsuit by the ACLU and a few sex offenders.

Speaking of the bill, the ACLU stated that Proposition 35 adds penalties to the sex offenders and puts upon them new restrictions. The example given to back up this claim was that of older crimes that have nothing to do with children or the Internet. The bill would require these offenders to disclose their screen names and their Internet provider’s information. This bill hampers the offenders freedom of anonymous speech online, which infringes upon their First Amendment right to free speech.

The judge who imposed the blockage of the bill stated that while the government has a legitimate purpose in their fight of human trafficking and online sex offenses, they can not regulate a person’s right to speech in this way.

While offenders search for a clear answer of how they can exercise their right to free speech, this issue is not a cut and dry one as the response varies from state to state. In Indiana, it was decided that a social media site ban for sex offenders was lawful. While a similar case in Nebraska was dismissed.

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Keeping Our Children Safe

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Keeping Our Children Safe

Jacob Wetterling was an 11 year-old-boy living in a small town in Minnesota when he was abducted on October 22, 1989.  To this day, all that is known about his kidnapper is that he was a masked gunman. Due in no small part to the perseverance of his parents in lobbying for tougher legislation, Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Act in 1994.  This act requires states to implement a sex offender registry or risk losing ten percent of federal funding for their state and local law enforcement programs. Many states now believe that due to loopholes in registration and an increasingly mobile population, there is a need for a private sex offender registry.

President Bush signing the Federal Funding Acc...
President Bush signing the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, September 26, 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One such online registry is the Klaas Kids Foundation, formed in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of young Polly Klaas in 1993.  This site gives detailed information regarding the rules and guidelines for registration for each state, as well as providing a link to each state government’s registration website. Another valuable online resource is called Offendex.  It boasts a database of over 750,000 offenders and you can search there by state, city, name or zip code. If you plan to visit a different area, it may be worth checking out a site called Family Watchdog as it provides access to lists of offenders in all states as well.

Keeping our children safe should be a priority for all Americans. Given the scope of the problem, it certainly does not hurt to have a private sex offender registry in addition to state registries.  It is worth taking the time to investigate all resources available.

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The Lawmaker Who Wants To Use GPS For Sex Offender Tracking

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Jackson, MS (Mississippi News Now)-

One State Senator, Will Longwitz is proposing a reformed way of registering sex offenders which will change the way that those living nearby are notified concerning the whereabouts of the offenders.

The Senator believes that money can be saved by making use of the technology available to law enforcement. This will also allow the reduction of man hours needed to keep track of sex offenders.

Following the lead of 16 other states that are using similar methods, Longwitz explains that the offenders would be rated on how dangerous they are to society. Those who are most harmful would be required to wear a GPS device for monitoring purposes.

Sign, Wapello, Iowa. This was put up in reacti...
Sign, Wapello, Iowa. This was put up in reaction to Megan’s Law. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This monitoring device would allow law enforcement to be notified if the offender should leave their restricted area. If would also sound an alarm if the offender were to get too near a school.

Although these laws do exist in other states, they have been disputed in court.

The proposed law would require the sex offender to assist in covering the GPS monitor costs.

Because most employers will not hire convicts, there is a high rate of homelessness among those who have been in jail. However, it is important that these offenders have as much penalties as possible when it comes to paying restitution.

Longwitz notes that this type of device might have saved Lenora Edhegard who was killed in October by Cortrell Rose. Had Rose been monitored, he would have not been able to use a fake address and have access to Lenora Edhegard.

Along with the requirement of registering every 90 days and having a recent photo on file, the new law would require the offender to mail letters to area residents that they have moved into the neighborhood.

Because there are so many non-compliant offenders, law enforcement needs the help of area citizens. If someone raises suspicion, citizens are asked to report it to the authorities.

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Finding Sex Offenders In Your City With Google Search

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Google Maps has always been a very useful tool.  Users could employ the tool to locate addresses, people and even offices. The tool could also be accessed through mobile phones and it is a huge asset for people while driving as well. Even so, the Google Design team has now managed to tweak the map to provide an even more beneficial tool. It is now linked with state databases that will show the addresses of local sex offenders. Using the tool is simple. You can access the state database of registered sex delinquent and then enter your address in to the state search engine.  This will produce a Google Map of your address and the locations of sex offenders within a five mile radius of your home.

For additional information, you can click on the red bubbles on the map. This will provide additional information on the sex offender in the form of an address and photograph. The map is generally very specific but there are drawbacks. For example, not every sex offender is required to register their name and address with the state database. Moreover, even though offenders register with the sex criminal registry, it takes some time for the paperwork to be processed and entered into the system. In a few states, sex criminals have to register for their entire lifetime and this information is readily accessible for users.

Although this is a valuable asset for personal security, almost every database carries strict warnings about the misuse of this information. Using the information to harm or injure the registered offender could result in an arrest for the person.

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Sex Offenders Search Is A Smart Move In Today’s Times

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Sex Offenders Search

Whether you have been living in your family home for years or relocating to a new city or even a new neighborhood in your same town, then a sex offenders search can be a prudent first move.

In this day and age sex crimes, not only against minors but adults as well are on the rise. Let’s face it, things are not like they used to be in the sixties and seventies when you could trust most people.

If you are moving to a new location, across town or across the country then you may want to look into more than just property values and the best places to shop near your home. Finding out who your neighbors are could save you and your family a lot of future turmoil.

A sex offenders search can be done as simply as going online to a number of well maintained and informative websites. It can take only a few minutes to save you and your loved ones a lifetime of trouble. One such website is provided and maintained by the U.S Department of Justice, and is named The Dru SJODIN NATIONAL SEX OFFENDER PUBLIC WEBSITE. This website is up to date and allows you to search for offenders nationwide as well as The District of Columbia and other U.S. territories. Family Watchdog is another good website to perform a search for sex offenders in your area. Also check with your local police department for any information on searches related to sex crimes.

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Keep Your Family Safe: Know The Sex Offenders In Your Area

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Sex Offenders In Your Area

Keeping ourselves and our children safe is a daily challenge, one we should never take lightly. Letting your child play in your own backyard might be as dangerous as letting them play in the street if you have a sex offender living in your area. You cannot know who is a sex offender just by looking at them. It is not written across their forehead in red ink. They often look just like anyone else and can be friendly.

You will not know a sex offender just by looking at them, but you can know one when they are listed on the sex offender registry. Sex offenders are required to register so their names can be put on the list. It is often a part of their release from jail. Violating that recommendation is often grounds for the offender to go back to jail. There are a few Websites that are reliable and will give you a location on every offender in your neighborhood. You can do your own offender search. One of those Websites is called familywatchdog.us. To find the offenders in your area, you can search by street, city and state. The U.S. Department of Justice has a Website for the tracking of national sex offenders too. These are databases that you can do an offender search, and it will show you pictures and addresses of those criminals who are registered sex offenders.

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