Monday, April 4, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Unanimously that a Kansas Registered Sex Offender did not have to Update his Status on the Federal Sex Offender Registry After Moving to a Foreign Country

Sex offender wins registry dispute in Supreme Court, April 4, 2016

WASHINGTON- The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday that a convicted sex offender did not have to update his status on the federal sex offender registry after moving to a foreign country. 

The justices sided with Lester Nichols, a Kansas man who moved to the Philippines in 2012 after his release from prison without telling authorities. 

Nichols was arrested in Manila and brought back to the United States, where he was convicted of failing to update his sex-offender registration. A federal appeals court upheld his conviction, but the Supreme Court reversed that.

Writing for the court, Justice Samuel Alito said a straightforward reading of the 2006 Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act does not require registry updates after a sex offender moves out of the United States. 

The justices took up the case to resolve an unusual split between appeals courts that had reached different outcomes in the cases of two men who lived within a few miles of each other - one in Kansas City, Kansas, the other in Kansas City, Missouri. 

The federal appeals court in Denver upheld Nichols' conviction, but the federal appeals court in St. Louis said a convicted sex offender from Missouri did not have to register after he also moved to the Philippines. 

Alito said the high court's ruling on Monday does not allow sex offenders to escape any punishment for leaving the country without notice. Congress recently criminalized the failure of sex offenders to provide information about "travel in foreign commerce." Alito said the new law would apply to Nichols' conduct and noted that Nichols' actions also violated state law in Kansas. 

"We are thus reassured that our holding today is not likely to create loopholes and deficiencies," in the federal legislation designed to keep track of sex offenders, Alito said. 

The case is Nichols v. United States, 15-5238.

Supreme Court reverses Tenth Circuit on sex offender registration, April 4, 2016

Justices Side With Sex Offender in Registry Case, April 4, 2016
U.S. Supreme Court overturns Kansas sex offender’s conviction for failing to register, April 4, 2016

For the 2016 Virginia General Assembly Legislation/Bill Totals with Fiscal Impact to State Budget “Sex Offender” Bills were the #2 Request Submitted by Virginia Delegates and Senators

Today was the first Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission meeting of 2016; they usually hold 4 meeting per year. 

I have been attending these meeting on and off since late-2009 but I always make the first meeting because this is where they have the results for which type of Bills (Legislation) were the most popular during the recent General Assembly session based on fiscal impact requests. This is data I’ve been tracking for a few years now and “Sex Offender” Bills are in the “Top 3” every session with last year (2015) being the ONLY exception. 

For 2016, “Sex Offender” Bills/Legislation was #2 in Virginia. 
"Sex Offenders" have the second lowest recidivism rate of ALL crimes and sex crimes are a fraction of the total crimes committed every year. Yet the Virginia General Assembly continues to create new sex crimes, increase misdemeanors to felonies, expand prison sentences, add more registrable offense and restrict and mandate where and what RSO's can be and what they can and can not do year after year. 

Why? Because everyone is allowed to hate, control, manage, restrict, ban, fear and shun Sex Offenders. It's an easy law to get full support for and it looks good on a Legislators website and campaign materials.
What I’ve always found interesting is the VCSC Bill count based on Fiscal Impact requests and the actual overall Bill count for the entire General Assembly session; they are at opposite ends of the spectrum. That’s another reason I started charting this data years ago. 

60 Minutes - Crime and Punishment: The German Prison System Emphasizes Rehabilitation Rather than Punishment and their Incarceration and Recidivism Rates are Significantly Lower than America’s.

60 Minutes: Privacy, weekend leave, keys...This is prison? April 3, 2016
Bill Whitaker reports on the German prison system which emphasizes rehabilitation rather than punishment and allows convicts an astonishing amount of freedom

The following script is from "Crime and Punishment" which aired on April 3, 2016. Bill Whitaker is the correspondent. Marc Lieberman, producer. 

Not many issues can unite Democrats and Republicans. But criminal justice reform is one of them. After 30 years of being Tough on Crime in the U.S., no other nation incarcerates more of its citizens than we do. We have five percent of the world's population, but 25 percent of its prisoners. The cost of housing all those inmates: $80 billion a year. 

We found that American politicians and prison supervisors are looking for new ideas -- in Germany. The main objective of German prisons is rehabilitation, not retribution. Germany spends less money on prisons, but gets better results. Their recidivism rate is about half the U.S. rate. We wondered if Germany had found a key to prison reform. So we visited three German prisons, but our trip started in a small resort town about 100 miles north of Berlin. 

When the weather's warm, the lakeside town of Waren, Germany, attracts families and tourists. We found Bernd Junge there with his sister and niece -- out for a stroll, eating ice cream sundaes -- an innocent scene if ever there was one. But Junge is a convicted murderer, currently serving a life sentence for a contract killing. He shot a woman to death in cold blood. We spoke with him by the lake.