Episode 29 – Testimony, Judges and LEO Oh My!

Larry and Andy talk about a hodgepodge of subjects. After coincidentally running into each other on the Interstate, we sat down to record a rare face to face episode.

How formal do you need to be while giving testimony?
Will monitoring panels be implemented in the wake of the Judge Persky recall?
Should judges be coerced to give harsh sentences because of public opinion?
We will be fighting these battles at the state level, not the federal level. We can have success by just showing up, versus losing by default for not being represented.


Episode 27 – Interview w Mike of The Registry Report

Joining us tonight is Michael – He is the published author of several non-fiction books, a writer/researcher for NARSOL, and the executive editor of The Registry Report. He also assists NARSOL in marketing, social media, and podcasting.

Comment from listener Will:
If legislating a specifically targeted group into chronic homelessness and unemployment does NOT constitute cruel and unusual punishment, then the 8th Amendment needs to be stricken from the Constitution because there’s nothing that would shock the conscience of the public. I’d say the same thing about denying registrants safe shelter equal to that of the “respectable law-abiding public”. If telling registrants “You’re on your own. Come to my shelter and you’ll be arrested and taken to jail!” is not cruel and unusual punishment, then there’s no longer any such thing as cruel and unusual punishment. Telling registrants they can ride out the storm in the local jail is a slap in the face. Besides that, what if the jail is in range of the storm surge? What then? Is it “Oh well! Too bad, so sad for you!”

  • https://amp.tallahassee.com/amp/638627002
  • https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/inmates-who-learn-trades-are-often-blocked-jobs-now-something-n877666
  • https://www.yahoo.com/news/nj-supreme-court-bars-retroactive-080711231.html

10 (more or less) Questions to ask an attorney you’re going to hire to represent you

Share the podcast with those you know so that we can continue to grow our audience! We continue to receive a lot of positive feedback. Help us grow!

“The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of one’s self to others.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Registry Matters logo with images representing articles covered this week

Episode 26 – How Lea Bickerton Is Helping Registrants

We are graciously joined by Lea Bickerton. Who is a practicing attorney in the Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania area @ Bickerton & Bickerton Attorneys at Law. While doing research for tonight, I discovered that you’re a multiple-time recipient of the Rising Stars award from Super Laywers.com. We’re very fortunate to have you joining us tonight 🙂
@bickertonlaw on Twitter https://twitter.com/bickertonlaw

Our favorite nemisis and his scorched Earth policy

Episode 25 – Why GPS Monitoring Should Be 1 of the 7 Deadly Sins

Episode 25 – Why GPS Monitoring Should Be 1 of the 7 Deadly Sins

Larry and Andy talk about the weeks issues and listener questions and comments.

Why GPS monitoring should be 1 of the 7 deadly sins
A malfunction in the charging could land you in jail
No access to power? Could land you in jail.
Poor cell signal? Could result in being detained while proof is obtained
You could spend a week or more in jail for an unspecified violation
Spending time in jail, you could lose your job which can lead to loss of housing
The GPS.gov website sites a 16’ radius of accuracy in best conditions

“You can’t be an important and life-changing presence to some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.”
-Mark Manso

Episode 24 – Distorted and Misleading Numbers

Larry and Andy talk about:
The extremely complex residency restrictions that law enforcement have to deal with.
Inmates in Florida being put in solitary confinement for not working.
Hotels on fire, can you fire someone for being on the registry.
How to make sure you don’t rent a hotel room next to a registrant.
People up in arms about a group home in their neighborhood.
Expungement of misdemeanor offenses, eyewitness testimony is unreliable.
And last but not least – Ron Book is so angry!

“You can’t always choose the path you walk in life, but you can always choose the manner in which you walk it.” ~ John O’Leary


“You can’t always choose the path you walk in life, but you can always choose the manner in which you walk it.” ~ John O’Leary

Recorded 2018/05/12

Episode 23 – Acquitted But Guilty Anyway

Episode 23

We have a guest joining us tonight. Joshua B Hoe. Josh is the co-host of the podcast Decarceration Nation which is a podcast about radically changing the way America does criminal justice. He’s recently interviewed gubernatorial candidates in Michigan and book authors on CJ reform. Josh is also a published author. And hard charging his Bars2Ballots campaign.


From NorthJersy.com: Bill Cosby verdict sends ‘strong message’ to victims, NJ experts say

Judge O’Neill allowed for five other accusers to testify as prior bad act witnesses during the retrial, explained Levy. Although prior bad acts are generally not admissible, there are exceptions, he said. “None of these prior bad acts were proven in court,” said Levy. “That’s going to be on this issue of appeal.”


From Criminal Legal News: The Sex Offender Registry: It’s Not What You Think
Sandi, a board member of NARSOL provides a lot of information about the misinformation of what the registry is. Including 40% on the registry committed their crimes as juveniles, for things like ‘mooning’ or ‘playing doctor’. She also presents evidence that 70% of those on the registry would be considered the lowest level of risk followed by 20% fo moderate risk and only 10% would be considered the highest risk.


From Maine Public.com – Maine Towns Allowed To Ban Sex Offenders From Parks, Fields
A new law allows municipalities to prohibit sex offenders from coming within 750 feet of such property. Officials in Madawaska had argued that state law only allowed municipalities to ban such individuals who come near property leased to nonprofits.

From Missourinet.com – Missouri Supreme Court hears case on prosecutor who targeted letter writers in sexual assault case
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers joined together to submit a Friend of the Court document in support of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s proposal to impose sanctions on Prosecutor Zahnd.

From The PBS Newshour – Missouri public defenders are overloaded with hundreds of cases while defendants wait in jail. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees every American facing trial the right to a lawyer, even if they cannot afford one. But across the country, the public defender system is being stretched to the breaking point, and Missouri may be ground zero.

From ProPublica.org – Baltimore to Pay Largest Settlement in City History – $9 Million – to Man Wrongfully Convicted of Murder.  James Owens, who was featured in a ProPublica investigation last year, sued police detectives for the alleged misconduct that landed him in prison for 21 years. Prosecutors had tried to make him take a controversial plea deal.

Homeless Sex Offenders Are Getting Kicked Out Of Their South Florida Encampment. Now What?
Homeless sex offenders living in tents outside Hialeah say they have nowhere to go

From Appellate Squawk – The Court of Appeals believes the victim (even when the jury doesn’t)
In a 6-1 opinion, with only the redoubtable Judge Rivera dissenting, the Court upheld the lower court decision putting the defendant on the internet Sex Offender Registry for the rest of his life based on acquitted charges.

Episode 22 – What The Heck Is 404b

Episode 22

This is an opinion piece From The Hill written by Jesse Kelley. The Sex Offender Registry: Vengeful, unconstitutional and due for full repeal
If 95% of people in prison will be released, why is it that we saddle them with such hardship. This isn’t just an SO issue, although the punishment is more harsh for them. What is the long term gain for society to put one group of people in the dirt for eternity?

  • Does SORNA violate the constitution?
  • Is it OK to violate the constitution in favor of public safety?
  • Does this pass the rational basis test?
  • Does it violate due process having to register for life. I’m taking their side and assuming that you do have a higher risk of reoffending
  • Do you have a right to privacy? The right to be more or less anonymous?

From the Washington Post Opinion: ‘The Watch’ blog: Behind the scenes, prosecutor lobbies wield immense power. The state’s defense attorneys and their assistants have a long history of Brady violations, including in death-sentence cases, and it it has one of the highest wrongful conviction rates in America.

  • Isn’t it conflict of interest to have the group in charge of prosecuting crimes, also then responsible for what becomes a crime? Not different from the prison guard lobby, or the sheriff’s association lobbying to make xyz a crime. It is in their interest to have more things crime to further entrench their position, their need.
  • Is there a problem for these groups to have people paid w/ taxpayer funds? Isn’t in their interest to have a safer society?
  • Brady Violations are where the prosecution withholds evidence that could sway the decision in court

From The New York Times: Voting Laws for Felons Can Be Hard to Follow. Here’s an Overview.
It is up to states – not the federal government – to say whether convicted felons can vote, and which ones, and when. So the rules for convicted criminals can change, sometimes drastically, from one state to the next. (The issue can be knotty within states, too: This past week, New York’s governor announced plans to sidestep a resistant State Legislature to give the vote to felons on parole.) It’s a lot to keep track of, but here’s an overview of where states stand – at least for now – on felons’ voting rights.

  • How many people have a felony record in the US? Maybe ~8%
  • Some states ban people for life for any felony. Others, you can continue to vote while you are in prison.
  • Is there evidence to support that this is to further disenfranchise minority voters? Jim Crow?

From The Washington Post: Justice reforms take hold, the inmate population plummets and Philadelphia closes a notorious jail. The American criminal justice system’s gradual realization that too many people are in jail needlessly just got a large, visible boost from the city of Philadelphia. The city announced last week that it would close its notorious 91-year-old House of Correction jail because reforms begun two years ago have dropped the city’s jail population by 33 percent, without causing any increase in crime or chaos.

  • Without an increase in crime or chaos? HOW CAN THIS BE? Aren’t felons likely to wreck society when they are released?
  • More petitions for parole are being granted, as well as diversion to treatment vs time
  • This is striking: In July 2015 there were 8k people in Philly jails. Last week, after reforms began in late 2016, as of last week there are 5300. That’s a 33% drop. And why is this?

From The Miami Herald: Lockup guard slugged a skinny kid. Prosecutors say it’s justified. Here’s the video. Broward County prosecutors have ruled that a former detention center officer was justified when he slugged a 14-year-old boy in the face – breaking the teen’s nose in two places – because the juvenile was aggressive with staff and causing a disturbance in the county’s long-troubled lockup.

  • The kid didn’t comply. Didn’t he deserve to be forced into compliance?
  • The report says the other detainees offer store goods to be aggressive to others. This is like fight club
  • And here again, prosecutors hold the keys to whether an individual is charged or not. He’s not be prosecuted

From North Jersey.com: New Jersey Supreme Court allows juvenile sex offenders to get off Megan’s Law registry

  • Who are they allowing to get off? Are they automatically removed?
  • James Maynard, who specializes in sex crimes, said the most onerous requirements of Megan’s Law were born of misperceptions about the likelihood of sex offenders to commit new sex crimes. He said people convicted as youths have very little chance of re-offending, especially after undergoing therapy.

From the Washington Post: Privately run prisoner transport company kept detainee shackled for 18 days in human waste, lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in western Virginia against three companies – Brevard Extraditions, which conducts business as U.S. Prisoner Transport; Prisoner Transportation Services of America; and its parent company, Prisoner Transportation Services – illustrates the risks posed by the increasing privatization of prisoner extradition

  • This makes me wonder about the people who work for companies delivering this kind of treatment
  • Why isn’t there a criminal case against the companies’ for some form of murder?
  • To me it feels like a conflict of interest for private companies to handle people with reduced capacity to support themselves. A private prison or transport company might be able to do it more cheaply, but where do those lower costs come from? From reducing the resources given to the ‘cargo’ they’re handling. Which are people.

Comment from Don:
Ironically, as I am embroiled in legislative wrangling over this very issue, the young son of a good friend of mine has just been caught up in one of these situations.  He was playing with a younger boy at an after-school program and a teacher found them when the younger boy’s pants were part-way down. He said, “Jack (name changed) did it.”  Jack says that he just pulled the boy across the carpet by his hands and his elastic-waisted pants didn’t stand up to the drag. Because our mandatory reporting laws make failure to report incidents a felony, everything that has any possibility of sexual content gets reported and now the case is being referred to authorities for a criminal investigation.  We pray that common sense will prevail, but if the wrong person gets ahold of it, “Jack” could be facing charges of sexual assault with the possibility of being tagged “sex offender” for the rest of his life. It was on his 12th birthday. Happy birthday, Jack.

We received this comment from Travis. He writes:
Guys, Thank you for all your hard work and diligence.  I look forward each week for the next podcast. I hope your numbers are increasing weekly. I’ve spread the word to all the registrants and my therapist.

With this being a midterm election year. How do you see our fight/cause progressing?  If you would please discuss the influence that the media has on the registry. The media loves to blow every sex offender story out of proportion and puts “fake fear” into the public.

I do have a couple of criticisms though:  People want to listen to your podcast for the issues. Not long civics lessons. Explaining the Louisiana bills and committees literally took up half the podcast. Watch or listen too “gayusa”. A great model to go by.  Finally. If I was to have a drink of beer for every time Larry said “So”. I would be passed out after 10 minutes. Gather your thoughts and slow down. It’s really annoying. Ok. That’s it. Guys seriously, I truly appreciate your efforts and voice.

Rule 404. Character Evidence; Crimes or Other Acts
Character Evidence. (1) Prohibited Uses. Evidence of a person’s character or character trait is not admissible to prove that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character or trait.

  • Isn’t this circumstantial evidence? It is anecdotal
  • Studies show that memory is highly malleable. It isn’t like a VCR (or DVR) recording. Every time you pull a memory out, you alter a little something and then put it back in the changed version

Episode 21 – Is Burglary Always Violent

Episode 21

From KALB: Bill to remove non-violent, non-sex offenses from habitual offender law voted down.
What does it take to get a bill into your legislature. Who sponsors a bill? How do committees work? How are they split between the parties?

A big SCOTUS decision in Sessions v. Dimaya ruling that helps our cause. How is it that void-for-vagueness doctrine helps us with our fight in the registry? Do people in the media skew the information to support their agenda; distorting facts

Related to the Dimaya story.
And here is talk radio host Mark Levin, who reaches 7M listeners describing the plaintiff incorrectly.


From Vox.com:
The ability to prosecute and jail people for lying to investigators is, obviously, an incredibly powerful tool of the FBI, US attorneys’ offices, and other aspects of federal law enforcement. it’s also prone to abuse in some fairly obvious ways — especially because it’s perfectly legal for the investigators to lie to you. That’s why standard legal advice is to simply refuse to talk to investigators under any circumstances. “People seem to think that: If I haven’t done anything wrong, then it’s okay for me to talk to the government,” writes defense lawyer David Benowitz, “and that’s just dead wrong.”


Episode 20 – Not Guilty By Insanity

Episode 20

A brief discussion about a woman on the registry for NOT reporting that her son was having sex, while NOT in her custody??? WTH!

There Are Too Many Kids on the Sex Offender Registry https://reason.com/archives/2018/04/09/there-are-too-many-kids-on-the

Dissenting Against the Supreme Court’s Rightward Shift
When Stephen Reinhardt, the famously liberal judge who died last month after 37 years on the federal appellate bench, visited Yale Law School a few years ago, a student asked him what the point was of issuing decision after decision that the Supreme Court would predictably overturn. The question was a challenge, but Judge Reinhardt took it with a smile. ‘They can’t catch ’em all,’ he said. I didn’t know then that this was Judge Reinhardt’s stock answer to a frequent question, and it startled me; the judge’s tone may have been mild, but his stance was one of open resistance, defiance even, toward a Supreme Court that was moving ever further to his right.

From The Times-Picayune
Louisiana efforts to free wrongfully convicted may lose money under House bill
Louisiana public defenders said a bill moving through the state Legislature threatens to shut down efforts to exonerate people who were sent to prison for a wrongful conviction. It would also take money away from other efforts to appeal convictions of people who can’t afford their own attorneys and whose cases are too expensive for local public defenders to handle.

Writing Sex Offender Laws Based on Fake Recidivism Numbers Is Rational, Court Says

Listener question
why not file John Doe lawsuits everywhere since anyone filing suit has nothing to lose mentality I would think and/or those with something to lose have no interest in being the sacrificial lamb who gets harassed for being a plaintiff?

Allie commented at registrymatters.co
I don’t see them ever abolishing the registry. They found a goldmine and they’re not giving it up. I just keep hoping and praying that they’ll one day realize just how cruel it is to punish these citizens so severely.

Mental disease or defect defense

  • Q: Most of us have heard the terms insanity and incompetent, but I’m guessing that very few understand the difference. Can you explain the difference in simple terms?
  • A: Insanity is lack of criminal responsibility for an action and incompetence is the lack of ability to understand and participate in the court proceedings.
  • Q: Well, based on that answer, let’s focus first on competence and then we can discuss insanity.
  • Q: How is the issue of incompetence raised?
  • Q: Is there a specific test that is administered to determine if a person is competent?
  • Q: What happens if a person is deemed incompetent to stand trial?
  • Q: What is the insanity defense? What does it mean to assert the insanity defense?
  • Q: Who bears the burden of proving the defense?
  • Q: How often is the defense used?
  • Q: Does it ever work?
  • Q: Use of the defense had declined over the years. Why is that?
  • Q: What happens to a person who is successful using the defense?
  • Q: Are they actually provided treatment in the hospital wards that provide treatment for the found to be criminally insane?