Daily Archives: August 2, 2007

Danbury wants to kick sex offenders out of its shelter

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Anyone who has been following sex offender issues across the country knows that it is an extremely difficult task balancing the safety of the community and the human rights of sex offenders. But this is just plain ridiculous.

Danbury apparently has one of only three or four shelters throughout the state that do not have a prohibition on sex offenders living there. Danbury Mark Boughton is not happy (Boughton was most famously in the news for soliciting the help of Federal agents to crack down on illegal immigrants in Danbury)*.

“These people had nothing to do with Danbury before they were sent here,” Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said. “Danbury is one of only five or six shelters in the state without a prohibition against sex offenders. This is outrageous.”

What’s outrageous is the fear-mongering. Sex offenders need somewhere to live, too. Or would you rather that they disappear into the wild and no one can keep tabs on them?

In a letter dated Wednesday to Chief Court Administrator William J. Lavery, Boughton wrote: “We have grave concerns of a concentration of sex offenders in our shelter, therefore, we are promulgating new rules that will only allow one or possibly two Danbury resident sex offenders present at any time.”

Concentration? There are only three sex offenders, Mayor, three. Apparently he’s okay with one or two sex offenders with prior ties to Danbury living in the Danbury shelter. I don’t see how it makes a damn difference where they come from. Does Danbury have special rules for living that these “outsiders” won’t know?

The homeless shelter on New Street has 15 beds in the summer and 20 in the winter, director Claudette Fogarty said. She said she isn’t there to judge who gets a bed at night and that people who were convicted of sex offenses stay at the shelter like other people, usually without a problem.

Fogarty said the shelter is open to people who are 18 years old or older. Families with young children do not stay there. She said sometimes the state’s probation office phones to ask if a particular person is staying there. She will answer, then alert the client about the call.

“They’re just people. This is my job,” Fogarty said. “It’s not my job to judge them.”

Fogarty said people on the state’s sex offender list have a tough time finding apartments, and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development won’t let them have public housing.

“We’re bashing our heads against the wall on this,” Fogarty said. “These people need housing.

Fogarty said to the best of her knowledge – and she has been working at the shelter for 20 years – there has not been a problem caused by a person on the sex offender registry. The list includes anyone convicted of a sexual crime, not just those guilty of offenses against children.

Nothing more than plain old fear-mongering. SEX OFFENDER! BOO! Are you scared yet? Go crawl into your bed and lock your doors, the big bad anonymous, not yet violent SEX OFFENDER is out to get you!

Disgusting.

While we’re on this topic, the Saucy Vixen is asking for your help, criminal defense lawyers.

All sex offender related posts can be found here and residency restriction posts can be found here.

*See previous coverage of the immigration mess here, here, here, here, here, here and here . [Please be aware, all of these links are to posts that were written when I was on typepad. They were imported but the formatting in the blockquotes is all messed up. Sorry.]

A plea of not guilty is NOT evading responsibility

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It should be painfully obvious to most of us (even non criminal lawyers), but apparently not to the good folks at Good Morning America. Today’s show featured a segment with Nicole Richie, who is off to (or perhaps already in?) jail for a DUI conviction.

She was interviewed this morning by the venerable Diane Sawyer [click here for the story and the video on the right] who repeatedly insinuated that Richie’s plea of not guilty was connected with her lack of desire to take responsibility for her drunk driving.

As the story went, one day Richie and her baby-daddy were watching TV when, on the TV, started flashing pictures of kids who died in accidents caused by drunk drivers. This led to an epiphany on Richie’s part and now she’s going to court to “take responsibility” and plead guilty.

Stop perpetuating this nonsense, GMA. A plea of not guilty does not equate to evading responsibility. An accused has an absolute right to persist in a plea of not guilty. It simply means you are leaving the state to their burden of proof.

I can’t believe I’m posting about Nicole Richie.

Cheshire killings and parole fallout recap

A lot has happened in the last few days, so after one more new item, here’s a recap of all my posts on this topic.

According to this story in today’s Courant, the younger of the accused, Komisarjevsky was under GPS monitoring for 120 days after his release. The monitoring condition expired 4 days before the incident in Cheshire.

“It is not unusual for people who are leaving prison and are on parole to be monitored for a period of time,” [State Rep.] Lawlor said. “The normal period is 90 days. The officer has the option to shorten it or lengthen it. They opted in this case to lengthen it to 120 days.”

Komisarjevsky kept his curfews and met other conditions of parole, so the bracelet was removed July 19. Lawlor said he believes that Komisarjevsky either would not have been paroled or would have been subject to longer monitoring had parole officials known of his propensity for burglarizing occupied homes at night.

Oh, one more thing: His “prior record” didn’t exist. His sentencing in 2002 was his first brush with the system. His “history of home invasions” was limited to the 12 burglaries that led to his conviction in 2002. Nothing prior to that. So it is a bit misleading to say that parole didn’t have his record. They did. It comprised the offenses for which he was serving a sentence.

I will continue to disagree with the Representative in his assessment there, but this is another indication that parole was doing all it could.

Here is all my coverage on this: