[ UPDATE: In the Comments to this Entry, I said that Santa Clarita City Council candidate Johnny Pride was arrested. The Sheriff's had him released because the D. A.'s Office said that there was insufficient evidence. It does not mean he can't be re-arrested. There's just not enough to try him.]
From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
Experts: Predator laws not working
By Jeff McDonald, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 11:13 p.m.
The crimes are horrible enough to outrage even the most impassive observers: a popular teen murdered and buried off a lakefront jogging trail, a young girl lured to her death by a predator with the promise of a puppy.
Human nature all but mandates that something be done to prevent others from suffering the fate of Chelsea King or Megan Kanka, the 7-year-old New Jersey girl now remembered as the Megan in Megan’s Law.
Calls to action already are ringing across San Diego County and the nation for tougher legislation after the rape and murder of 17-year-old Chelsea, whose body is believed to have been found near Lake Hodges on Tuesday and whose accused killer appeared in court Wednesday to answer the charges.
But legal experts note that California already has a litany of laws named after child victims adopted in the heated aftermath of terrible crimes. Too often, the rules fail to deter pedophiles and other sexual offenders who may never be reformed.
“Virtually every study done of the subject has concluded that Megan’s Law hasn’t reduced sex offenses,” said Shaun Martin, a law professor at the University of San Diego. “So it’s pretty clear at this point that the law doesn’t reduce crime.”
Karen Doll-Murphy of Escondido was so disgusted by the inability to effectively police sexual predators after they are paroled that she launched a Facebook page to lobby for a new law to lock them up for life after a single conviction. By evening, it had more than 800 members and was growing by the minute.
“We the people must stand united together in a nationwide effort to change legislation that protects our children, not their predators,” she wrote.
Elected officials joined the debate just as quickly.
At San Diego City Hall, Councilman Carl DeMaio, who represents the Rancho Bernardo area where Chelsea King’s car was found after she went missing, huddled with advisers to discuss what his office might do to better protect constituents. In Sacramento, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, R-San Diego, said he was already examining possible legislation in response to Chelsea’s murder.
“Our laws are supposed to protect the innocent, but they didn’t protect Chelsea King,” said Fletcher, who urged people to pray for Chelsea’s family on his state Web site.
The best-known statutes aimed at protecting children from sexual predators are Megan’s Law and Jessica’s Law, referring to state laws advocated by people appalled at the murders — years apart and in different states — of two young girls.
In 1994, Megan was sexually assaulted and killed by a previous offender in Hamilton Township, N.J., who coaxed her into his house with talk of a new puppy. Megan’s parents said they had no idea the former convict had moved in nearby, and the crime prompted state lawmakers to require sex offenders to alert local police whenever they move to a new town. Two years later, Congress required all states to create a registry of offenders.
John Albert Gardner III, the suspect in Chelsea’s case, was paroled in 2005 after a child-molestation conviction and was registered at his grandmother’s home in Lake Elsinore. He also alerted police in Escondido, where he had rented an apartment.
“That (Megan’s Law) didn’t help,” said Melissa Holiday, president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Poway High School, where Chelsea would have graduated this year. “He didn’t live here. He was visiting family.”
After 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford was abducted from her home in Homosassa, Fla., by a convicted sex offender in 2005, state residents demanded and lawmakers enacted a law mandating 25-year prison terms and lifetime electronic monitoring for defendants convicted of lewd and lascivious acts against a child under 12.
For California’s version of Jessica’s Law, convicted sex offenders are not allowed to live within 2,000 feet of a school or park, although the restriction has been challenged on constitutional grounds.
One of the ideas Fletcher floated Wednesday was to study whether the California law should be extended to prohibit convicted sex offenders from even loitering within 2,000 feet of a school, park or other places where children congregate.
But if policymakers want to stop sexual predators more effectively, said Andrew Vachss, a New York lawyer and author who represents children in court, they should boost funding for child-welfare and other government services so that abused children do not grow into abusers.
“Every time a kid gets killed there’s a demand for new laws,” said Vachss, who has written extensively on the failure of legislation such as Megan’s Law. “We don’t put any of our money into interdicting the process by which monsters are made.”
Brian Adams, a San Diego State University political science professor, said he doubts any elected official these days will seriously pursue a new law to protect children if it costs much money because so many government agencies are struggling to balance budgets.
“Up until a year or two ago, politicians were falling over themselves to be tough on crime and tough on sex offenders,” Adams said. “Now, with the budget crisis, politicians are a little more hesitant to get longer sentences and put more restrictions on (convicts) because it means more costs to the state.”
Meanwhile, efforts to expand the use of electronic tracking systems for sex offenders have run into legal, jurisdictional and financial disputes.
Several states are wrestling with the constitutionality of added penalties that lawmakers began placing on “sexually violent predators” in the 1990s. Those rules allow certain convicts to be held in a state hospital — after completing their prison term — if the government says they are still a threat to society.
The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing that question now, said constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean at the University of California Irvine School of Law.
“It worries me that once somebody has served their sentence they can continue to be incarcerated, but unless we’re going to go to life without parole for sex offenders or sentences that are decades long, there’s not really a way we can solve this,” he said. “I think everybody wants solutions, but I’m not sure anybody has them.”
Jeff McDonald: (619) 542-4585; firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff writers Michael Gardner and Peter Rowe contributed to this report. [Emphasis added.]
Here, the experts now claim in part as to what we need to do. STOP BEGATING ABUSE! Now there are calls for "life without parole" setences for these molestors. It doesn't stop future molestors!
Until you stop those who were victimized, and later turn angry and abuse and molest, YOU DIDN'T STOP SHIT! You just made a decision to jail future generations because you thought of only today, but not tomorrow.
Remember, Brian David Mitchell, Phillip Garrido, etc., have been abused by one or more caretakers. Simply jailing them or putting them to death will not stop future abuse. Until you do, your child will always be in danger.
Just because places like Watts or East L. A. are bad neighborhoods doesn't mean your child is safe in your $500,000 home in some far out condo community somewhere. It's time for rational thinking, even though Mitchell, Garrido, and assholes like John Albert Gardner III need to have their asses impaled. Until we stop the begatting, one's son or daughter may not be back tonight.
THAT'S A CRYING SHAME!
Weekend Roundup - - *UVA Law* is digitizing "the 336 legal texts catalogued by the University librarian in 1828." They are “part of a group of roughly 8,000 l...
2 hours ago