Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bill to allow sex offenders to be admitted into residential facilities

I will have to look over HB 621 and see if there are any potential issues.

Bill to allow sex offenders to be admitted into residential facilities
Ohio General Assembly is on recess until the week after November’s general election.
SEP 26, 2014

A state representative from Summit County has introduced a bill that would allow sex offenders to be admitted into residential facilities designed for those with developmental disabilities, clearing up what the law maker calls a “black hole.”

State and county developmental disability agencies aren’t yet familiar enough with this bill to know how it could affect how business is done at residential facilities.

Rep. Anthony DeVitis, R-Green, submitted House Bill 621 to the Ohio House, on Sept. 16, which is in response to an issue that happened at a residential facility in Tallmadge, Ohio. Residents in the Akron suburb were upset last year when sex offenders living were at a developmental disabilities residential facility, and “that didn’t set well in the communities because they were sex offenders,” he said.

That particular issue was resolved, but prompted a need for state protocols to be established. After DeVitis said he didn’t receive or hear from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities any protocols, he said he introduced the bill last week.

According to the legislation, the bill would allow:

• the search for the individual’s name in the internet-based sex offender and child-victim offender database. If the search identifies that person as a sex offender, then all pertinent law enforcement agencies and relevant community leaders would be notified;

• a residential facility to develop a protocol to establish and implement a resident supervision plan, medical emergency plan and community engagement plan;

• a residential facility to establish and implement the developed protocol plans and submit those plants to the relevant local law enforcement agencies and community leaders; and

• a residential facility shall redact all medical information about individuals from the copies of the protocol plans.

The bill has yet to receive any discussion in the General Assembly, which is on recess until the week after November’s general election, and has yet to be assigned to a subcommittee.

“It’s not exactly what the community would like to have happen, but there were certain civil liberties we couldn’t violate,” he said.

DeVitis said he has not yet received a lot of feedback concerning the bill, but said this fills in a “black hole” in the system.

HB 621 comes a year after the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities convened a work group comprised of several experts from around the state. The goal, according to a letter dated on Sept. 11 from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, was “to develop supervision protocols for individuals with developmental disabilities who have been convicted of a sex crime to better serve these individuals and the communities where they lived.”

DeVitis said he was not aware this work group was formed and met.

The 2013 work group developed four recommendations, which included: developing a protocol for assessments, guide to help determine appropriate supervision levels, tool to examine the effect of environmental factors on an individual’s treatment and progress, and plan for relapse prevention.

Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities Superintendent Lisa Guliano said the board has no official position on the bill at this time since it was just introduced and agency hasn’t vetted the merits and disadvantages of the bill.

“Our practice is to plan supports around people in order to safeguard them, the people they live with, and the community they live in,” said Guliano. “People who have sexually offending behaviors live throughout our community whether they have a disability or not. There are rules and laws in place for sex offenders that individuals with developmental disabilities are already subject to.”

Megan Manuel, Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities superintendent, said her agency is holding a similar position.

“I was aware of (the bill), but I wasn’t contacted before it was introduced,” she said. “Our board has not discussed it or taken a position on it at this time.”

Officials with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities don’t yet have a position on House Bill 621.

“We’re reviewing the legislation and we will watch it as it moves forward,” said Kerry Francis, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, though she said officials were aware DeVitis was working on the legislation.

When the Ohio House and Senate reconvenes to its lame duck session, DeVitis said he isn’t certain what kind of traction the bill will receive.

He said the protocols being called for by the bill could be handled without legislation and simply by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities creating new policies and protocols. But if the bill does not pass both chambers of the General Assembly before the end of the 130th General Assembly in mid-December, he will reintroduce the bill provided he’s elected in November.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bills in Legislature that could impact Registered Citizens, Sept. 2014

Ohio Proposed Legislation as of Sept. 2014 (newest bills first)

Directly Affects SO Registry

HB 623 (introduced 9/22/14 by Clyde, not assigned to committee yet) – would establish an address confidentiality program for people who believe their safety is threatened by the availability of their address in public records. Note that RSOs are excluded from the program. You have to be a victim of a crime and have a protection order to be eligible. Gotta wonder about this exclusion. Registrants are not entitled to protections under the same circumstances as others are? The need to show an address on the public registry trumps the safety of someone who reasonably fears for his or her safety? And what about a registrant’s family? Let’s say that the spouse of a registrant is a victim with a protective order. He/she cannot be protected under this program because his/her spouse happens to be a registrant?

HB 621 (introduced 9/16/14 by DeVitis, not assigned to committee yet) – would govern the admission of sex offenders to residential facilities for persons with developmental disabilities – Note that, bizarrely, the emphasis in this statute is on the notification of law enforcement and “community leaders,” and the dissemination of information about the admission to the public. It’s legislated fear-mongering! I’m not up on residential facilities for people with developmental disabilities, but I would assume that those facilities receive complete medical records on new admissions that would include information about any danger the new admission might pose to other residents of the community. Anyone know if there’s ever been any problems anywhere? As I said, I suspect this bill is based more on community fear than on actual danger. –

SB 144 (introduced 6/12/13 by Seitz, in Criminal Justice Committee) – large bill to account for various Sup Ct decisions on registry – would reenact Megan’s Law for offenses committed before AWA – no juvenile public registry qualified offenders (life on registry and on public website, which Sup Ct has ruled cruel and unusual), under proposed law, juveniles could be put on registry for life, but not on public website and there would be periodic review of classification. (It’s well over a year since this bill was introduced. I tried to look at it once and didn’t have the expertise to analyze it. Perhaps at this point it’s not worth the time and trouble? At what point is it fair to assume that a bill is going nowhere? I believe nothing is officially dead until the General Assembly ends in January 2015. Does anyone know whether that’s true?)

Also of Interest

SB 358 (introduced 8/20/14 by Bacon, not assigned to committee as of 9/22/14) – would amend R.C. 2907.09 to add a crime of purposeful public indecency involving a minor and to make that crime a Tier 1 sex offense.

HB 535 (introduced 5/13/14 by Antonio, in Judiciary Committee) – this would establish the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights –

SB 318 (introduced 4/1/14 by Tavares, in Civil Justice Committee) – would allow immediate family of crime victim to seek reparations for psychiatric care and counseling, and would extend time for minor crime victim to file for reparations

HB 516 (introduced 4/8/14 by Rogers and Heard, in Judiciary Committee) – would allow sealing of conviction records if offenses once excluded from sealing are changed to become eligible for sealing, so eligibility for sealing would be determined at the time of the application for sealing and not at the time of conviction/guilty plea (but doesn’t make in changes in what’s now eligible for sealing)

SB 316 (introduced 3/31/14 by Cafaro, Criminal Justice Committee, passed Senate, Introduced in House 6/4/14) – rape kit bill, sets time limits, etc. re DNA specimens and analysis.

SB 293 (introduced 3/4/14 by Brown, in Criminal Justice Committee) – would abolish the death penalty [See also HB 385 (introduced 12/10/13 by Antonio and Ramos, in Judiciary Committee) – Would abolish the death penalty.]

SB 292 (introduced 3/4/14 by Bacon, in Civil Justice Committee) – would provide that any child pornography that comes into the custody of the prosecutor or court will remain in their custody – defendant will not be permitted to copy child pornography if the prosecutor lets defendant, attorney or expert examine it where the prosecutor/court is holding it.

HB 437 (introduced 2/11/14 by Hagan and Ramos, in Education Committee) – would add mandatory school curriculum on child sexual abuse prevention and sexual violence prevention

SB 261 (introduced 1/2/14 by Bacon and Manning, passed Criminal Justice Committee 3/12/14 – introduced in House 3/13/14 – passed Judiciary Committee, with an amendment, 6/4/14) – would permit prosecution for violation of protection order issued on a petition alleging domestic violence, menacing by stalking or sexually oriented offence if person had actual notice of protection order, whether or not personally served.

HB 349 (introduced 11/13/13 by Hackett, in Judiciary Committee) – would provide for additional mandatory sentences of 5-10 years for anyone convicted of a violent felony who is convicted of a specification that the victim suffered permanent disabling harm.

SB 207 (introduced 10/16/13 by Patton and Manning, in Criminal Justice Committee – passed 3rd consideration 6/4/14 – introduced in House 6/4/14) – would terminate parental rights of a person convicted of rape or sexual battery to a child conceived as a result of the rape or sexual battery. It would allow the victim to control by right of consent what rights, if any, the convicted person and the convicted person’s family would have in regard to the child and would not permit the convicted person or family to inherit through the child. [See also: SB 171 (introduced 8/15/13 by Turner and Tavares, in Criminal Justice Committee) – would allow victim of rape, sexual battery or unlawful sexual assault to terminate certain parental rights of persons convicted of crime or determined to have committed violation that resulted in conception] [See also: HB 257 (introduced 9/4/13 by Antonio and Schuring, passed House, Introduced in Senate 1/16/14, in Senate Criminal Justice Committee) – Similar to SB 207, would terminate parental rights of father of child conceived as a result of rape or sexual battery.]

HB 251 (introduced 8/21/13 by Barborak, in Judiciary Committee, committee report 3/13/14) – This bill would repeal statutes that require community supervision sentences rather than prison for 4th and 5th degree felonies. Judges would have discretion to give prison sentences.

HB 244 (introduced 8/15/13 by Becker, in Judiciary Committee) – This bill would create new offenses of aggravated rape, aggravate rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated sexual battery of a child, and aggravated unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The “aggravation” is a prior conviction or delinquency adjudication for one of these crimes. The penalty for any of these aggravated crimes is life imprisonment, or, if one of several aggravating circumstances is present, death. Death penalty would not be available for an offender under 18 at the time of the offense. Among other things, this bill would also change the definition of “sexually oriented offense” for purposes of SORN and would add all the new “aggravated” crimes to Tier III. (This bill is awful! Death penalty for rape is unconstitutional! John Becker is a first term nutcase who brags about being the most conservative politician in the Ohio legislature.)

SB 83 (introduced 3/14/13 by Turner and Cafaro, in Criminal Justice Committee) – would remove period of limitation for prosecution of rape and sexual battery

Still Technically Pending But Replaced by Other Bills

HB 472 ( same provision that was in HB483 that passed and became effective 9/15/14 re screening and accommodations for registered sex offenders in nursing homes)

HB 87 (introduced 2/27/13 by Letson and Retherford, in Judiciary Committee) – would require notice to manager of long-term care facility when Tier III offender intends to reside in the facility or registers an address near the facility, and would require a manager who receives such notice to provide a copy of the notice to all residents of the facility and to the sponsor of each resident.

(Substance enacted as part of HB 59) - HB 108 (introduced 3/20/13 by Baker and Schuring, passed House, in Senate Criminal Justice Committee since 6/13/13) – (1) would add a member to the State Victims Assistance Advisory Council who is a board member or employee of an organization that aids victims of sexual violence – (2) would create a rape crisis program trust fund, administered by the Attorney General, to support rape crisis programs. Anyone convicted of an offense for which registration is required would have to pay a one-time $100 fee which would go into the rape crisis program fund. The AG could file a civil suit against anyone who didn’t pay the fee, and payment of the fee could be made a condition of a community control sanction. In addition, as part of sentencing, anyone convicted of a felony that is a sexually oriented offense or a child-victim oriented offense would be fined $50-$500, which would also go into the rape crisis program trust fund.