Fighting the Destruction of Families!


  • 11 Apr 2016 11:56 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    If you have experienced a compliance check then here is a survey to tell about your experience.  This survey is not being conducted by WAR.  It seems to be anonymous. 

  • 11 Apr 2016 1:21 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Hi, all—

    After a tremendous amount of work over the last few years, including the publication of our SMART Summary: Prosecution, Transfer, and Prosecution of Serious Juvenile Sex Offenders last year, today we have posted and opened for comment a new Proposed SORNA Supplemental Guideline which addresses the registration of juvenile offenders. You can find the new proposed supplemental guideline here: Proposed Supplemental Guideline.

    Put very briefly, this new proposed supplemental guideline, if adopted, would allow our office to look at the totality of a state’s system for handling serious sex offenders who are under the age of 18 at the time of the offense. In other words, having a discretionary—or otherwise fairly limited—registration system for juveniles will no longer necessarily result in a finding that a jurisdiction has not substantially implemented SORNA’s juvenile registration provisions.

    I encourage you to review and circulate the proposed supplemental guideline, and to provide any comments that you wish through the official channels indicated. The link to submit electronic comments via has not yet gone live, but should do so within the next 24-48 hours. As someone who has been through this process multiple times over the years, I can assure you that we review every submitted comment, and they are reviewed by higher-ups in the Department, as well.

    If you have any questions, please email me. As you can imagine, we expect that we might get a fairly high volume of folks contacting us this week, and half of our (already small) policy team is on travel this week. 

    I will respond, as quickly as I am able. Thanks!

    Lori McPherson

    Senior Policy Advisor

    SMART Office


    post comments via begining 4/13/2016 if not sooner.

  • 08 Apr 2016 11:31 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    With the goal of keeping tabs on sex offenders, the state of Illinois has veered way off course. Its offender registration statute requires individuals to report every nook and cranny of their online activities to law enforcement—or face jail time. Every Internet site they visit, every online retailer account they create, and every news story comment they post must be reported to police.

    EFF and the ACLU of Illinois today asked the Illinois Supreme Court to strike down these onerous requirements of the state’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). The rules violate free speech rights guaranteed to all people—even unpopular people—under the Constitution.

    The law was challenged by a Normal, Illinois, man who served 12 months of probation for a misdemeanor offense he committed as a juvenile. Several years later he was arrested and charged with a felony punishable by a year in prison because he failed to report to police a Facebook account to which he uploaded a photo. An Illinois judge last year correctly ruled that the online speech requirements of SORA were overbroad and unconstitutional. He noted that SORA has absolutely no limitation on the type of speech or communication offenders are required to report, and disregards whether the speech being targeted “is in any way related to” the purpose of the statute—which is to deter sexual offenses. The state has appealed the decision.

    No one, not even sex offenders, should be forced to report every aspect of his or her online life to law enforcement or be prevented from speaking anonymously on the Internet. Illinois’ law requires reporting of all email addresses, usernames, and websites used, and law enforcement must make that information available to the public. Participating in political discussion groups, banking online or posting a restaurant review has no nexus with police enforcement of sex offender laws. Compelling individuals to turn over this information imposes severe burdens on speech that go way beyond what’s needed for the state to ensure sex offenders don’t offend again. As Illinois Judge Robert Freitag said in his ruling last year (citing a court that struck down a Nebraska law very similar to Illinois’), such online speech reporting rules clearly chill offenders “from engaging in expressive activity that is otherwise perfectly proper.”

    EFF and ACLU in 2012 successfully challenged a state ballot measure aimed at combating human trafficking that restricted the legal and constitutionally protected speech of all registered sex offenders in California. We argued that requiring registrants to turn over their online identifiers doesn't fight trafficking but rather creates a dangerous slippery slope, stoking law enforcement’s desire for accessing more and more personal data online. A district court ruling blocking enforcement of the measure was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and California chose not to appeal the case to the Supreme Court

    In the Illinois case, state officials make the argument that no website is “unrelated” to the purpose of its sex offender registration law, and any physical location in which the public may encounter a sex offender is relevant to police investigations of those offenders. By that logic, sex offenders should be required to report their every move—when they take a bus, go to the post office, shop at the grocery store, or attend a meeting. The law doesn’t force offenders to report to police every place they come in contact with the public, nor should it force them to disclose everywhere they go online. That’s not just wrong, it’s unconstitutional.

  • 07 Apr 2016 11:24 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    CHICAGO – The ACLU of Illinois, joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, today asked the state supreme court to strike down the “incredibly broad scope” of limitations contained in the state’s sex offender registry laws. The amicus brief was filed in the case of Mark Minnis, a young man from downstate Normal who served a 12-month probation for a misdemeanor offense, which he completed. Though years have passed, Mr. Minnis still is forced to navigate a series of onerous and cumbersome requirements under the State’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA).

    Mr. Minnis was targeted by law enforcement officials because he failed to provide the account information for a Facebook account to which he had uploaded a photograph. Mr. Minnis did provide the information for two personal email accounts. A state circuit court dismissed the charges, finding that the Illinois law “clearly chills offenders from engaging in expressive activity that is otherwise perfectly proper.”

    “We encourage the state supreme court to take a close look not only at the facts in this case, but at the impact that these laws have on the legitimate free speech rights of many Illinois residents,” said Rebecca Glenberg, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Illinois. “Under the current law, Mr. Minnis and countless others who made bad decisions as teens sacrifice all freedom to anonymous speech on the internet.”

    “The Illinois law is overbroad in the amount of speech that is regulated and the number of people who are regulated.”

    The two civil liberties groups’ amicus brief filed today notes that such laws are not even justifiable as effective, since sex offenders are highly unlikely to commit a new offense using the internet, and that juvenile offenders (like Mr. Minnis) are particularly unlikely to re-offend since their offenses typically reflect the poor impulse control of an incompletely developed brain. Yet, the Illinois law burdens and limits many types of speech on the internet.

    “Illinois’ SORA is an overbroad statute that imposes jail time on a sex offender who doesn’t report to law enforcement that he has written an online letter to the editor, posted a political comment, or researched health information. This infringement on speech and regulation of Internet expression far exceeds, and in fact has little to do with, the state’s interest in deterring sexual offenses,” said Sophia Cope, Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    For example, someone subjected to these rules could not engage in any anonymous speech on the internet, despite the fact that anonymous speech has played a critical role in political and societal discourse throughout our nation’s history. The rules also substantially burden religious speech and political speech of other types, even though these areas of discussion have no relevance to the State’s legitimate purpose of attempting to stop recidivism among sex offenders.

    “These burdens on speech are just one of the myriad of challenges faced by someone convicted of a whole array of sex-related offenses – even as a youth,” added the ACLU’s Glenberg. “We have built a complex system that severely limits where people can live, where they can work and with whom they interact.”

    “Courts around the country have found similar reporting requirements to be unconstitutional, as they severely burden virtually all online speech with only a tenuous connection to law enforcement’s interest in protecting the public from crime. We are joining the ACLU in urging the Illinois Supreme Court to come to the same conclusion about SORA,” said Adam Schwartz, EFF Senior Staff Attorney.

  • 04 Apr 2016 1:25 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    Supreme Court sides with sex offender in registry dispute.

    Make special note of the use of the word "punishment" in the courts order.

    By Lydia Wheeler - 04/04/16 11:40 AM EDT

    The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday that registered sex offenders do not have to update their status on a state registry when they move out of the country.

    In an 8-0 decision, the justices said a straightforward reading of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act did not require Lester Nichols to notify Kansas that he moved to the Philippines in November 2012.

    The case, however, will have little impact since Congress recently passed legislation that requires sex offenders to notify the government when they leave the U.S.

    “Our interpretation of the SORNA provisions at issue in this case in no way means that sex offenders will be able to escape punishment for leaving the United States without notifying the jurisdictions in which they lived while in this country,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s opinion. “Congress has recently criminalized the 'knowing failure to provide information required by SORNA relating to intended travel in foreign commerce.'"

    Alito wrote that federal law now requires registered sex offenders to report their anticipated dates and places of departure, arrival or return; their carrier and flight numbers for air travel; destination country and address or other contact information while there. 

    “Both parties agree that the new law captures Nichols’s conduct,” he said.


  • 24 Mar 2016 5:38 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

    Martin Niemoeller

    Today can it be rewritten?

    First they came for the former sex offenders, but I was not a former sex offender so I did not speak out.  Then they came for the former arsonists but I was not a former arsonist so I did not speak out.  Then they came for the meth producers but I was not a meth producer so I did not speak out.  Then they came for the animal abusers but I was not an animal abuser so I did not speak out. Then they came for the financial thiefs, but I was not a financial thief so I did not speak out.  Then they came for the drunk drivers, but I was not a drunk driver so I did not speak out.  Then they came for thieves but I was not a thief so I did not speak out.  Then they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."  

    In addition to the 50 states that publicly shame sex offenders, five states including California require registration for arson. Minnesota, Illinois and six others maintain lists of methamphetamine producers. In Indiana, a public website lets visitors use Google Maps to find the location of homes that have been used as meth laboratories. Tennessee requires registration for animal abuse— something nine other state legislatures are debating. Florida law requires registration by anyone convicted of a felony of any kind for up to five years after completing the sentence.

    And now Utah is publicly shaming financial thieves. Read more about it here.

  • 22 Mar 2016 4:23 PM | Administrator (Administrator)

    What sounds like a good law in a twenty-second sound bite sometimes turns out to be less clear when one digs below the surface. Such is the case with International Megan’s Law, which President Obama recently signed into law. International Megan’s Law requires those who committed a sex offense against a child to have a permanent stamp placed on their passport. While this may sound like a no-brainer if we consider the media’s portrayal of the sexual predator, reality is far more complicated.

    International Megan’s Law means a teenager who was convicted of distributing child pornography for sexting with her boyfriend may not be allowed to do a semester abroad in college. A budding architect who plead no contest to child molestation for having sex with his freshman girlfriend when he was a high school senior may never be able to marvel at the Grand Pyramids. A father may not be permitted to cheer on his daughter as she competes for her country in the Olympics because he touched a 12-year-old boy over the clothes some thirty years ago and has remained law abiding ever since.

    The stated rationale for International Megan’s Law is two fold: (1) Individuals who have offended against a child pose an extremely high risk of reoffending, and (2) Megan’s Law will stop them from doing so.

    The first premise (dangerousness) is demonstrably false. Study after study has shown that sex offenders actually have a low recidivism rate. A 2003 Department of Justice study followed 9,691 sex offenders released from prison in 15 states across the country. It found just 5.3% were rearrested for a new sex crime within 3 years, and only 3.3% of child molesters were rearrested for a new sex crime against a child.(Source.) Juveniles pose even less of a risk. A 2009 study of 1,275 juvenile male sex offenders in South Carolina found just 7% were rearrested for a new sex crime within nine years of original offense.(Source.) Women pose the lowest threat. A 2010 meta-analysis of ten studies found only 1% to 3% of women recidivated sexually.(Source.) This premise also ignores that what counts as a sex offense against a child can include a high school senior having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, behavior that should be discouraged but which does not deserve the designation of international pariah.

    The second premise (effectiveness) is wrong as well. Studies show that Megan’s Law has had little to no impact on the incidence of sex offending. Indeed a 2008 analysis by the Department of Corrections in New Jersey concluded, “Given the lack of demonstrated effect of Megan’s Law, the researchers are hard-pressed to determine that the escalating costs are justifiable.”(Source.)

    Instead of crafting a law targeted at those who pose an actual danger, Congress treated sex offending as an immutable characteristic. It ignored research showing that treatment works. (Source.) It closed its eyes to studies demonstrating that sex offending drops with age, and the longer a person remains in the community offense free, the less likely he is to reoffend.(Source.) (Source.)

    Despite the lack of empirical support, it’s not surprising that Congress passed International Megan’s Law.

    When it comes to legislation controlling sex offenders, facts are beside the point. And so out of misguided hysteria, the United States has passed a law requiring sex offenders to have a permanent mark on their passport. And make no mistake — this is going to curtail their ability to travel outside the country, including to places like England and France, not exactly hotbeds for child sex tourism.

    The most depressing thing about International Megan’s Law may be that President Obama, a second term president and a former constitutional law professor, signed it into law. A man who has experienced being judged by ignorance-grounded “facts.”

    On March 30, Phyllis J. Hamilton, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, will hear a Motion for Preliminary Injunction to stop implementation of International Megan’s Law. Those challenging the law have an uphill path as judges often defer to legislative findings of fact even when they are ill founded, and the Supreme Court has generally failed to intervene on the dubious assumption that these types of laws do not constitute “punishment.”

    Sometimes, though, it takes only one courageous judge to listen to what the science actually tells us.  Let us hope this is such a case.

    Follow Tamara Rice Lave on Twitter:


  • 22 Mar 2016 9:55 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    A Macomb County judge said Monday he will issue an opinion this week on a woman’s attempt to allow her boyfriend to have contact with her children even though he is a sex offender.

    Judge Matthew Switalski promised the opinion from the bench after listening to attorneys for the ex-husband and ex-wife argue the motion in Macomb County Circuit Court.

    Rachael Lanni of Warren wants to be able to eventually marry Thomas P. Ireland who is on the Sex Offender Registry for a 1994 one-time sexual incident when he was an 18-year-old high school senior and the girl was 14.

    The request is necessary because Rachael Lanni agreed last may in her divorce decree with Anthony Lannie of Sterling Heights; Mr Ireland could not be present with the children, both under age 10.

    Mrs. Lanni’s attorney, Julie Gatti, said since the incident Ireland has had no contact with the law other than traffic tickets.

    “This was 22 years ago,” Gatti, told the judge. “He (Ireland) is an upstanding citizen of Macomb County and the state of Michigan. Has he done anything since then that would show he is a danger? The answer is resoundingly no.

    “There is no longer a need for this restriction in the judgment.”

    She said when her client agreed to the one-sentence restriction, she was not represented by an attorney and her relationship with Ireland was “brand new.”

    “She didn’t understand this would have such long-lasting impact,” Gatti said.

    But Anthony Lanni’s attorney, Vince Manzella, said Rachael Lanni is “putting her needs above her children’s.” He said the children would suffer if Ireland resides with them.

    He cited a 2009 study that by two university professors that indicate the “psychosocial consequences” on a child who has a parent on the sex offender registry. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said the child was treated differently at school, 78 percent said the child’s friendships were impacted, and 71 percent said the child had become “stigmatized.”

    Other effects include anger, 80 percent; harassment by others, 47 percent; ridicule by others, 59 percent, depression 77 percent and suicidal tendencies, 13 percent.

    But Gatti criticized the study’s format, noting the authors admit respondents were “self selected” and “recruited via several internet sites, list-servs, and blogs identified as advocacy and support resources for RSO’s (registered sex offenders) and their families.”

    “The sample may be more likely to reflect opinions of those who are experiencing distress rather than those who are not,” the study said. That “creates a potential for biased results.”

    Despite the study’s faults, Manzella insisted: “It (allowing contact) would have a more negative effect on the children.”

    Ireland was convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced in 1995 to one year in the county jail.

    He also performed 400 hours of community service that consisted of painting public structures in St. Clair Shores.

    Ireland now operates a painting business.

    Ireland must remain on the registry for 25 years, meaning he could be removed in four years.

    Manzella conceded that in four years Rachael Lanni will have a stronger argument for removal of the restriction but said, “I don’t think the language becomes moot.”

    The motion was initially heard earlier this month in front of Friend of Court Referee David Elias.

    By Jameson Cook, The Macomb Daily POSTED: 03/21/16, 1:52 PM EDT


  • 17 Mar 2016 1:26 AM | Administrator (Administrator)


    A mom just bought a toy for her 2-year-old that signals to pedophiles that the girl is ready to be traded for sex.

    Wait, what?

    I’d repeat it, but it still wouldn’t make any sense. And yet, this modern-day myth has gone viral, showing up on Headline News, AOL, local media, and, of course, it is all over Facebook. One mom there lamented, “I did not know that pedophiles have their own insidious silent language that is infiltrating society through pretty pink images … which signal to other pedophiles the child can be traded.”

    Do we really live in that kind of hell for kids?

    The story — such as it is — involves a Florida mom who bought a pink plush truck for her daughter at a monster truck rally down there. Somehow (the original WFLA–TV reporter never tells us how), the mom came to believe that the “heart-within-a-heart” logo on the toy is a code pedophiles use.

    I should mention that the “heart-within-a-heart” logo is also the logo you see on Good Humor ice cream bars. Oh, and it is also what you see when your barista has mastered the art of making a heart in your cappuccino foam.

    And yet, using a garbled mishmash of horror and hysteria, the television reporter told viewers that because of that heart logo, the toy “held a sick secret; a disgusting calling card for creeps.” And now, “When a pedophile sees children with the heart symbol, it’s a code meaning that child is ready to be traded for sex.”

    While presenting zero evidence that the world works like this, the reporter then interviewed the mom, who seemed as distraught as if her child had just narrowly escaped the clutches of Cropsey.

    “I’m absolutely sick!” she cried. “This is pink! This is for little girls, especially at a predominantly male event.”

    So does the mom think the “male event” deliberately stocked up on pink toys that so that unwitting parents would buy them? And that predators would see the symbol, and go, “Look! A heart on a toy. This mom must be willing to sell her child into sex slavery!”? And then what? Would she feel obligated to trade her kid for cash because that’s how the system works?

    I can’t stop marveling at this “news” story, because it shows that we are so obsessed with the fear of predators — or at least news editors are so obsessed with feeding us these stories — that we never even stop to say, “Wait, what?”

    For a dose of actual facts, I dropped a line to David Finkelhor, head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

    “I can’t reassure you that there isn’t some lonely pedophile club somewhere that has decided to make a logo,” he wrote back. And it is true, in trying to find whether there was anything, anywhere, that could suggest even a scintilla of justification for the story, I learned there was one lone government file, written about 10 years ago (and played up in an episode of “Law & Order SVU,” of course), that suggested pedophiles might wear logos that indicated their leanings.

    “But,” Finkelhor added, “what is certainly true is that pedophiles would not simply decide to pick a victim based on carrying an item with a logo. No one should worry about the logo being dangerous for their kids.”

    But that is the problem.

    We are worried all the time about this least likely of crimes: Stranger-danger. Christie Barnes, author of “The Paranoid Parents Guide,” found that the very top worry of parents is kidnappings. (and number four is “dangerous strangers”). This fear haunts us even though our crime rate is the lowest it has been in decades. It haunts us even though we know that when it comes to crimes against children, the vast majority are committed not by strangers, but trusted adults.

    When stories like this fan the flames of predator panic, we get a population ever more obsessed with sex offenders, ever more demanding of police protection, and ever more convinced that their kids are in constant danger, even from a plush toy.

    Here’s the real news: They’re not.

    Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker and author and founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids.

  • 16 Mar 2016 11:18 AM | Administrator (Administrator)

    The U.S. Department of Justice, July 2015, report shows that sex offender laws are ineffective and create more harms than producing any genuine good. 


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