Monthly Archives: April 2012

Texas Allows Less Serious Sex Offenders to be removed from Registry

Texas recently implemented changes to allow some sex offenders to petition for removal from the registry, according to sources. The change in policy is for the less serious sex offenders whom are no longer considered a threat to the public. The change is a welcome one to critics who argued that the change was long overdue. “The problem is that we have been tied to federal law, and federal law requires the offense to determine the length of the registration,” said Allison Taylor, executive director of Texas’ Council on Sex Offender Treatment. “What we’ve been working toward is basing length of registration on risk levels.” Many registered sex offenders were arrested for public urination, a teenage love relationship (“Romeo and Juliet” offenders), or other less serious offenses. The registration became so overloaded with sex offenders that did not pose a threat, that the registry was less effective. By reserving the…
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Justice Department Leaves Wrongfully Convicted Citizens in the Dark

According to the Washington Post, the US Justice Department has been withholding critical forensic evidence that may have lead to overturning wrongful convictions of defendants. The Justice Department and prosecutors obtained information about forensic evidence they never shared with the defense. One example is the case of Benjamin Herbert Boyle, a man who was executed in Texas in 1997 over a year after the Justice Department began investigating the forensic evidence in his murder case. If not for botched forensic work by the FBI that misidentified him as the murderer, he would not have been eligible for a death sentence, according to a prosecutors memo. Essentially, the FBI or the Justice Departments gathers the faulty evidence and just sits on it instead of sharing with the defense. This practice is deplorable; you would think the JUSTICE Department would be interested in finding the real murderer in most cases. “It is…
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Illinois University addresses False Confession ‘Epidemic’

Experts in Lake County, Illinois plan to look into what is considered and ‘epidemic’ of false confessions in the area, according to the Chicago Tribune. Juan Rivera was convicted of a 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. Rivera was exonerated with the assistance of DNA evidence and released on April 15 after spending nearly 20 years behind bars. “I am very angry,” says Rivera, who is now 39. “I am very disappointed that I lost half my life. This is a struggle that I go through every day. I don’t sleep well. I don’t trust anyone.” Rivera recently spoke about his experience to 75 students at Lake Forest College. Rivera was joined by Rob Warden, executive director of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions and Jed Stone, a criminal defense attorney. Stone suggests that all confessions should be videotaped to make sure the suspect is not coerced. False…
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