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Thread: Demand Change In Vermont Law

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beyond Belief View Post
    I received two beautiful responses to letters today
    One from:George Coppenrath, Senator
    Caledonia-Orange District
    And: Sen JIM Condos

    I got this one today from Sen.George Coppenrath, thought I'd share...

    I am on your side on this one. I co-sponsored a Jessica's Law in Vermont, S.283, with Senator Wilton in the Fall of '05; and worked to tighten Vt's laws regarding sex offenders; see links below:

    http://www.vnews.com/sexcrimes/news-20060316.htm

    http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060107/NEWS/601070332/1002/NEWS01

    We were successful in increasing the minimum from zero (that's right zero to life) to a mandatory miniumum of 10 years to life, with a compromise with liberals to allow a judge to go down to no less than 5 years only if he/she wrote in the record the reasons for the reduction.

    I will continue to push for higher minimums.

    Thank you for contacting me and other legislators,

    George
    George Coppenrath, Senator
    Caledonia-Orange District

  2. #52
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    This from Sen. Jim Condos

    Thanks for your email... Even though you are not a Vermonter, I will
    attempt to answer your email.
    Before I go further, what happened to Brooke Bennett was a heinous,
    despicable crime. Justice must be served.
    I have a daughter and cannot imagine the hate and anger I would feel if
    something happened to her.

    I am not sure where your info came from, but over the last 4 years, the
    Vermont Legislature has reviewed and changed our laws over sexual abuse
    to the point where Vermont's laws are nationally acclaimed and
    considered very strong.

    In general...

    • Vermont has a comprehensive set of laws in place to prevent sexual
    violence.
    • These laws are specifically designed to prevent the offender from
    commiting any further acts of sexual violence.
    • While serving a jail sentence, presumed to be at least 10 years, the
    offender must successfully complete a rehabilitation course.
    • The offender is automatically placed on the sexual offender registry,
    which is on the internet and can be accessed by the public. This
    registry ensures that the offender will be under supervision of the
    Department of Corrections for the rest of their life.
    • It is important to remember that Vermont is one of the safest states
    in the nation with one of the lowest crime rates per capita in the
    country.
    • While it may seem counter intuitive to argue against long mandatory
    minimums, these long mandatory minimums often result in the offender
    bringing the case to trial. Sexual violence cases are difficult to
    prove and under this process half of the perpetrators are released onto
    the street having served no jail time, received no treatment, and
    without their names being placed on the sex offender registry.

    What do we have in place to protect Vermont’s children:

    Vermont’s laws have two main components – special sexual crime
    investigative units and indeterminate lifetime sentencing. Special
    investigative units, with specially trained police officers and social
    workers, have proven successful in Chittenden and Grand Isle County at
    gaining confessions from sex offenders. The Chittenden SIU opened in
    1997. New units will now come to Bennington, Franklin-Grand Isle,
    Windham and Windsor counties. Through the work of trained investigators,
    SIUs bring more predators to prosecution, conviction, imprisonment and
    treatment. Abused children and their families receive treatment to heal
    the trauma and to help break the cycle created when untreated victims
    grow up to become abusers themselves.

    Once the offender confesses, he will serve time in prison - presumed to
    be at least 10 years. He will also receive treatment as a condition of
    release, and, upon release, will become part of the sex offender
    registry. If the offender refuses to take part in treatment or violates
    conditions of the sex offender registry he can be pulled back into
    incarceration. He is under the supervision of the Department of
    Corrections for life.

    During the 2006 legislative session we closed one last loophole for
    violent sex offenders who were imprisoned prior to passage of our new
    laws. Under this new change, if an offender who has refused to undergo
    treatment comes to the end of his maximum sentence, and if he is judged
    to be at high risk to re-offend, he will be subject to a heightened sex
    offender registry requirement. If he violates the terms of that
    tightened registry he will be re-incarcerated with terms similar to
    those of our more recently passed laws.

    In 2006, Vermonters told their representatives that child sex offender
    sentencing was not tough enough. In response, the legislature enacted
    new, tougher child sex offender legislation (widely known as the “Sexual
    Violence Prevention Act”), which includes but is not restricted to the
    following changes:

    • An increase to 10 years as a minimum sentence for aggravated sexual
    assault, unless the judge deems a lesser sentence to be appropriate and
    goes on record with his reasoning. Now, anyone convicted of aggravsexual assault must spend at least 5 years in prison, and as much as
    life in prison.
    • Offenders must stay in jail until they successfully complete a
    rehabilitation course, regardless of how much of their sentences they
    have served.
    • Vermont has expanded the sex offender registry, with stricter
    guidelines for previous offenders. Sex offenders will now be under
    supervision by the Department of Corrections, every day for the rest of
    their lives.
    • The public can now access the online sex offender registry without
    having to login or provide personal information. All repeat sex
    offenders will appear on the internet registry, as well as all high-risk
    lewd and lascivious offenders.
    • Special investigative unites specializing in sex crimes are now
    expanded to serve every region of the state.

    Prior to the passage of this law, offenders would choose to max out
    their sentence rather than receiving sex offender treatment. During the
    most recent legislative session, legislators again worked to improve our
    laws around child abuse. After findings showed the state could more
    effectively manage the way in which it handles children who either
    commit delinquent acts or who are badly abused or neglected, the
    legislature rewrote our laws that guide our state’s response to child
    abuse and neglect. The legislation emphasized the need for family
    members to be considered before a child is committed to state custody
    and extra support services for families were created in cases of
    reported child abuse. The legislature also obtained written assurance
    from the administration that staff cuts would not reduce services to
    Vermont’s children at risk of abuse or neglect.

    What about Jessica’s Law?

    What distinguishes our laws from the so-called “Jessica’s Law” is that
    our laws are more effective at keeping our communities safe from sexual
    violence.

    The Vermont Network Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, a victims’
    advocacy organization, supports Vermont’s laws and does NOT support
    Jessica’s Law. And, that may be why the National Council on State
    Legislatures has informed us that fewer than 20 states have adopted
    Jessica’s Law. According to the Center for Sex Offender Management, a
    program of the U.S. Department of Justice, there is no data or evidence
    that high mandatory minimum sentences improve public safety.

    Sexual violence is a horrible crime that we all want to eradicate from
    our communities. It sounds counter-intuitive to argue against long
    mandatory minimum sentences for sex offenders. But, if the accused
    faces a mandatory sentence of 25 years, he is much more likely to take
    the case to court, requiring a trial. Sex crimes, especially those
    against children, are hard to prove. There are few witnesses and often
    victims are unwilling to stand at the trial – it’s like going through
    the crime all over again. As a result, generally only half the court
    cases are successful. The other perpetrators go free, with no jail time
    and no need to register on a sexual offender registry.

    In fact, there are cases where states that have Jessica's laws are still
    having sexual attacks on children. Even if we had passed the so-called
    Jessica's Law in the last 3-4 years - it would not have done anything to
    prevent what happened here in this case.

    Helpful Facts

    Child sexual abuse is a national problem, both serious and widespread.
    Estimates say 1 in 7 boys and 1 in 4 girls has had some experience with
    sexual abuse.

    The most recent US government statistics show a rate of overall child
    abuse at 11.9 victims for every 1,000 children. In Vermont, the rate was
    8.4 – placing Vermont in the safest third of all states.

    Nationally, the vast majority – possibly as high as 90% -- of child
    sexual abuse is committed not by a stranger, but by someone the child
    knows and trusts – a parent, grandparent, sibling or other family
    member, a teacher, coach, clergy, camp counselor, scout leader, or
    neighbor.

    Vermont has one of the lowest crime ra2004 and 2005 ours was the third safest state in the U.S. Indeed,
    Vermont is among the safest states in our nation for children to grow up
    in and for families with children to visit.

    The legislature is committed to maintaining this high standard of safety
    and will continue to seek ways to further prevent child molestation in
    our state and to bring offenders to justice.

    Brooke Bennet Case Specifics

    If Jacques is found guilty of sexual violence towards Brooke Bennet,
    under the new sexual predator laws that came into effect in 2006 the
    perpetrator he can be given an indeterminate sentence, which means he
    will essentially be sentenced to life in prison unless and until he
    completes sex offender treatment to the satisfaction the Department of
    Corrections under the control of the Governor.

    After being convicted of aggravated sexual assault in 1993, Jacques
    served time in prison and did receive sex offender treatment. He was
    and is still listed on the sex offender registry.

    In ‘93 people maxed out their sentences as an untreated sex offender.
    Once a maximum is served in a facility or served on parole. Offenders
    were choosing to max out their sentence rather than complete sex
    offender treatment. More often than not they were in denial.

    Hope this helps - you don't always get the real truth from the talking
    heads on TV.

    Sen JIM Condos

  3. #53
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    nice letter with lots of details. a bit defensive about the laws though,none are perfect.
    Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death” Albert Einstein

  4. #54
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    VT is still advocating the rehab program - which has been shown NOT TO WORK! You cannot rehab a pedophile!

    Secondly, the problem with VT is that discretion is given to judges as to how to apply the law. No matter how strict the law is, if the judge is given discretion then what happened with Jacques will keep happening!

  5. #55
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    Judges always have discretion in how to apply the law and what range of sentence the convicted person gets, they are the ones who also approve plea bargains.

    It sounds to me like at this point the laws in Vermont are not the problem and I am in agreement that a mandatory 25 year prison term for all child sex offenders would result in fewer convictions.

    The real problem with sexual assualt is that people do not understand it and the average person's expectations of evidence are usually not met in a trial, especially in cases of child abuse.

    Though I do agree that most sex offenders cannot be rehabilitated and most that go through these programs only do so to get earlier parole.

  6. #56
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    this judge owes it to the community to examine why she thought jacques was cured and the fact that she was dead wrong, not that she caused this tragedy, but that she is in a unique position to see just how difficult and dangerous these issues are.

    she was sitting there looking in the face of a guy that was CURRENTLY re-offending and she told him "you are cured, you are no longer a threat".

    she needs to step down from the bench and dedicate herself to examining sexual offenders and the most prudent way to protect the community from them.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by liljim View Post
    this judge owes it to the community to examine why she thought jacques was cured and the fact that she was dead wrong, not that she caused this tragedy, but that she is in a unique position to see just how difficult and dangerous these issues are.

    she was sitting there looking in the face of a guy that was CURRENTLY re-offending and she told him "you are cured, you are no longer a threat".

    she needs to step down from the bench and dedicate herself to examining sexual offenders and the most prudent way to protect the community from them.

    I'm not sure its fair to say she "caused" the tragedy, but I think its fair to say that letting a violent rapist with TWO sex crime accusations on his record have anything but the maximum length of parole is INSANE.

    If he's really 'compliant' then how is parole going to hurt him? Oh, poor, freaking guy, getting inconvenienced...who cares. That's what happens when you kidnap and rape 18 year old girls.

    So, I agree, the judge owes the community an explanation and whatever supervisory role she might have needs to go away.

  8. #58
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    What about the numerous sex offenders who are released on bail pending trial, granted they are released on conditions, but nevertheless, in Vermont, many are released on bail.

    And many re-offend while on bail and then plea bargain the charges down.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starr58 View Post
    What about the numerous sex offenders who are released on bail pending trial, granted they are released on conditions, but nevertheless, in Vermont, many are released on bail.

    And many re-offend while on bail and then plea bargain the charges down.
    This happens in every state. Bail is granted in almost all crimes including rape and murder, it is certainly not unique to Vermont and neither is criminals committing crimes while out on bail. The majority of cases are plea bargained in all states.

    I just disagree that the problem is lack of tough laws on sex offenders. Everyone 100% wants the abstract child abuser/rapist to spend the rest of his life in jail...but when we get out of the abstract and look at individual cases a lot of time the view shifts, there is a huge amount of vicitm bashing in sexual assault cases, child or adult and a lot of people are not going to convict in these cases, this is shown by the low, low rates of prosection and conviction for sex crimes that are reported.

    Even in this case, AR is 14, sexually active. If she had gone to police, what is her evidence? If there isn't any of Jacques DNA its her word against his. His prior sexual accusation would not be allowed in any trial [which is wrong], so all he has to say is 'she's falsely accusing me because I didn't want her having sex with her boyfriend' and I am telling you, A LOT of people would refuse to convict him. I don't think her mother would have backed her up or probably even told police about what she had witnessed.

    I do agree that sentences are too light, but thats partly because the defense lawyers know that convictions are very hard so they have a lot of leverage with prosecutors in getting weak sentences. This is wrong, but until society catches up with law enforcement on understanding the dynamics of sex crimes, I can't see it changing.

  10. #60
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    I don't believe that the "problem" is going to be solved with ONLY tougher laws. There is never only one solution to a "problem".

    Tougher laws, stricter supervision of probationary SO and frequent monitoring, quicker re-incarceration of offenders not abiding by conditions of release, a no bail statue for second offenses, and a commitment by Vermont to have the children of this state be the number one priority would go a long way in improving the lives of many children.

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starr58 View Post
    I don't believe that the "problem" is going to be solved with ONLY tougher laws. There is never only one solution to a "problem".

    Tougher laws, stricter supervision of probationary SO and frequent monitoring, quicker re-incarceration of offenders not abiding by conditions of release, a no bail statue for second offenses, and a commitment by Vermont to have the children of this state be the number one priority would go a long way in improving the lives of many children.

    I will have to respectfully disagree. Tougher laws are only good AFTER the perpetrator is convicted. If prosecutors won't bring cases to trial and jury's won't convict then the toughest law on the books does nothing. The perpetrator goes free. The conviction and prosecution rate for sex crimes are the lowest of all violent crimes by a wide margin, and in my opinion, the reason is that jury's are reluctant to convict without overwhelming evidence, which simply does exist in the majority of sex crime cases.

  12. #62
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    Vt. Corrections Officials Revisit Probation Ruling

    By Mark Davis

    Valley News Staff Writer

    As friends and relatives gather to mourn 12-year-old Brooke Bennett at her funeral today, Vermont's top corrections official is examining whether the child's uncle -- convicted sex offender Michael Jacques -- was released early from probation in late 2006 against Corrections Department recommendations.

    In an interview yesterday, Vermont Corrections Commissioner Rob Hofmann said that while the judge who approved Jacques' early release indicated in her ruling that a probation officer supported the decision, internal documents show the department was opposed to letting Jacques off probation. Hofmann said the department is investigating the discrepancy.

    “We're still trying to understand that,” said Hofmann, who became commissioner in 2005. “We have indications in the case file that the department would not support the release because of the violent nature of the offense.

    “It is clear to me the department didn't support (Jacques' release),” Hofmann said.

    But Judge Amy Davenport apparently thought differently.

    Cont'd: http://www.vnews.com/07092008/4941902.htm

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    Spotlight on Vermont: Brooke Bennett & Jessica's Law

    UPDATE: 7/08/08 2:53 am EST

    Public outrage over the death of Brooke Bennett has the residents of Vermont circulating petitions to get Jessica's Law on individual town's November ballots. Other than indicating that the forms must be returned to each town's clerk by September 15th, no further details are available.


    Vermont is one of 10 states that has failed to enact Jessica's Law, a 2005 Florida law designed to punish sex offenders and reduce their ability to re-offend. The law is named after Jessica Lunsford and was enacted due to the public's outrage over Jessica's death. Jessica was raped and murdered in Florida, in 2005, by John Couey, a previously convicted sex-offender.

    Among the key provisions of the law is a 25 year mandatory sentence apparently objected to by most State of Vermont prosecutors and one of the reasons Vermont's Legislature has not moved to pass Jessica's Law.

    http://www.nowpublic.com/world/spotl...t-jessicas-law

  14. #64
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    Vermont Sex Offender Registry

    Anyone convicted prior to the establisment of registry is NOT included in the registry. there are 100's of offenders not on the list.

    This needs to be changed!!!

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    Governor: Corrections Made a Mistake on Jacques

    Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vermont, says the Corrections Department made a mistake when it supported early probation release for Brooke Bennett's uncle-- who is now charged with kidnapping her.

    In 2006, Michael Jacques was released seven years early from probation for raping and kidnapping a teenager in Rutland in 1992.

    http://www.wcax.com/global/story.asp?s=8657128

  16. #66
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    Some Ideas for Changes in Vermont

    1. Include all offenders on the Sex Offender Registry not just those in the Community and include release dates from both probation and incarceration. Sex Offenders need to be "registered" For LIFE.

    2.Address of Sex offender. It isn't enough to know who they are. In order to protect children the public needs to know where they are !!!

    3. Make the Registry more user friendly. Change from it being searchable by county to be searchable by last name & first name. Similiar to the inmate Locator database.

    4. Sex Offender Registry should be a part of the Department of Corrections website. Put all names into one database. Inmates and Sex Offenders.

    5. Update Registry Information monthly. This can be accomplished through the information that is gathered from the DOC staffs' monthly contact with offender. Date of contact recorded in registry.

    6. Any child related offense- second offense- Can be held without bail.

    7. Public notification of release on websites, in newspapers, TV. and Radio.


    Those are what I have of the top of my head for improvements and would appreciate others thoughts.


    dark shadows...what is our current Vermont Statues for Sexual Assault on a Child, Aggravated Sexual on a Child or any others that should be looked at.

    PLease, Please..post responses in the Demand Change In Vermont Law" Forum

  17. #67
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    Brooke Bennet Case Specifics

    If Jacques is found guilty of sexual violence towards Brooke Bennet,
    under the new sexual predator laws that came into effect in 2006 the
    perpetrator he can be given an indeterminate sentence, which means he
    will essentially be sentenced to life in prison unless and until he
    completes sex offender treatment to the satisfaction the Department of
    Corrections
    under the control of the Governor.

    After being convicted of aggravated sexual assault in 1993, Jacques
    served time in prison and did receive sex offender treatment. He was
    and is still listed on the sex offender registry.

    In ‘93 people maxed out their sentences as an untreated sex offender.
    Once a maximum is served in a facility or served on parole. Offenders
    were choosing to max out their sentence rather than complete sex
    offender treatment. More often than not they were in denial.

    Hope this helps - you don't always get the real truth from the talking
    heads on TV.

    Sen JIM Condos



    Jacques Should no longer be eligible for Sex Offender treatment !!!! The only choice must be Life LONG Confinement!! What a Fricken Insult to the Vermont Taxpayers!!!

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beyond Belief View Post
    Feel free to change the text and repost.

    Dear Vermont Senator:

    Brooke Bennett was killed by a previously convicted sex offender Michael Jacques. She was 12 years old and was apparently killed by her Uncle for sex. Michael Jacques was let out of prison after serving 3 years for kidnapping and rape, now he has committed murder against his 12 year old niece for sex. You've heard the news, seen the pictures. Do you have children? Are you ready to enact Jessica's Law yet?

    The law is named after Jessica Lunsford, a young Florida girl who was raped and murdered in February 2005 by John Couey, a previously convicted sex offender. Public outrage over this case spurred Florida officials to introduce this legislation. Among the key provisions of the law are a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison[2] and lifetime electronic monitoring[3] of adults convicted of lewd or lascivious acts against a victim less than 12 years old. In Florida, sexual battery or rape of a child less than twelve years old is a capital felony, punishable only by death or life imprisonment with no chance of parole. Taken from Wikipedia.

    Please tell me your stance now on this law after this brutal killing of a 12 year old girl in your state by a previous sex offender and kidnapper. Can you tell me whose decision it was to let Michael Jacques out of prison after only serving 3 years for rape and kidnapping?

    The country is looking at you to pass this law in your state now.

    Hoping to hear from you.


    Send to:

    The Vermont Legislature
    Legislative Directory
    E-Mail Addresses for Senators
    2007-2008 Legislative Session


    cayer@leg.state.vt.us; sbartlett@leg.state.vt.us; jcampbell@leg.state.vt.us; vt13@aol.com; bcarris@leg.state.vt.us; bill.carris@carris.net; bill.carris@carris.net; dcollins@leg.state.vt.us; jcondos@leg.state.vt.us; gcoppenrath@leg.state.vt.us; george.coppenrath@gmail.com; acummings@leg.state.vt.us; wdoyle@leg.state.vt.us; EFlanagan@leg.state.vt.us; hgiard@leg.state.vt.us; rhartwell@leg.state.vt.us; hartlaw@sover.net; villuzzi@leg.state.vt.us; janek45@hotmail.com; skittell@leg.state.vt.us; vlyons@leg.state.vt.us; vvlyons@cs.com; mmacdonald@leg.state.vt.us; senatormark@aol.com; Hull@sover.net; rmccormack@leg.state.vt.us; dick@mccormack4vt.com; hmiller@leg.state.vt.us; hinda@deforestconcepts.com; kjmbjm@aol.com; anitka@leg.state.vt.us; alicenitka@comcast.net; dracine@leg.state.vt.us; pscott14@aol.com; rsears@leg.state.vt.us; senprespt@leg.state.vt.us; dsnelling@leg.state.vt.us; jwhite@leg.state.vt.us
    Beyond Belief, I posted your letter and the addresses (and emailed them all as well) on my blog, I hope that's ok. Vermont just continues to drive me crazy with the stuff they choose to worry about.

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    Dubie: Vermont Must Crack Down on Sex Offenders

    LT. Governor Dubie: Vermont Must Crack Down on Sex Offenders

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Montpelier, Vermont - July 14, 2008

    Two weeks after 12-year-old Brooke Bennett was found murdered, Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie, R-Vermont, continues to call for tougher laws against sexual offenders.

    Monday, he held a press conference highlighting some of the changes he would like the state to make which include chemical castration for repeat offenders, mandatory life sentences for some violent assaults, and the adoption of Jessica's law. Dubie says the state's legal status quo is unacceptable when it comes to sexual assaults on a child. He's asking the governor and the legislature to convene a special session 30 days from now to overhaul the system.

    http://www.wcax.com/global/story.asp?s=8669461

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    Lt. Governor Dubie Calls for Legislative Action to Protect Women and Children, Launch

    (MONTPELIER) – Lt. Governor Brian Dubie today urged Governor Douglas to convene a special session of the Vermont legislature to begin to reform state laws concerning sexual predators. He also launched a statewide petition drive, inviting Vermonters who agree that the state can do more to protect children and women against sexual predators to sign and circulate the petition, which is available on his website at www.ltgov.vermont.gov Among the reforms he called for are:

    A comprehensive review of our criminal justice system. I call for a thorough investigation of Vermont's laws and policies that should protect Vermont’s children from sex offenders.

    Adoption of a Jessica’s Law, which would set a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for a first-time convicted child sexual abuser. Our law could be modeled on New Hampshire’s law that includes a “presumptive” clause, for cases where the evidence is weak or the victim chooses not to testify. It allows a judge to impose a lesser term, accompanied by explanation of the decision. We would essentially be strengthening Vermont’s current law, which has a “presumptive” 10-year minimum sentence and a 5-year minimum mandatory sentence.

    A mandatory life sentence for a second-time violent sexual offense against a child.

    Passage of a civil confinement law that would extend prison stays for certain high-risk offenders who have served their terms, but who by clear criteria are known to be highly likely to re-offend.

    Utilizing chemical castration and physical castration treatments for habitual sex offenders


    Broadening the criteria for listing child predators on Vermont’s Online Sex Offender Registry, and making it more user-friendly, as it is in other states, and for better monitoring of sex offenders using GPS technology.

    Tough penalties for those who harbor a sex offender who violates registration requirements.

    Expansion and funding for Special Investigative Units, to improve conviction rates and sentencing.

    Adoption of laws that would allow evidence of prior sexual misconduct to be admissible in sex crimes cases, as it is in 12 other states and in federal court.

    Collection by law enforcement authorities of DNA samples from anyone arrested in our state that could assist in cracking unsolved sex crimes.

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starr58 View Post
    (MONTPELIER) – Lt. Governor Brian Dubie today urged Governor Douglas to convene a special session of the Vermont legislature to begin to reform state laws concerning sexual predators. He also launched a statewide petition drive, inviting Vermonters who agree that the state can do more to protect children and women against sexual predators to sign and circulate the petition, which is available on his website at www.ltgov.vermont.gov Among the reforms he called for are:

    A comprehensive review of our criminal justice system. I call for a thorough investigation of Vermont's laws and policies that should protect Vermont’s children from sex offenders.

    -Agree.

    Adoption of a Jessica’s Law, which would set a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for a first-time convicted child sexual abuser. Our law could be modeled on New Hampshire’s law that includes a “presumptive” clause, for cases where the evidence is weak or the victim chooses not to testify. It allows a judge to impose a lesser term, accompanied by explanation of the decision. We would essentially be strengthening Vermont’s current law, which has a “presumptive” 10-year minimum sentence and a 5-year minimum mandatory sentence.

    -Disagree, this will have the opposite of the intended effect and will result in fewer convictions.
    I continue to believe that if AR had come forward with allegations of sexual abuse that a jury would not have believed her unless there was DNA evidence..which there usually isn't because the child doesn't usually tell right after an attack...and remember, his previous arrest for a sex crime would NOT be admissable. It would be the word of a sexually active 14 year old against her step father.


    A mandatory life sentence for a second-time violent sexual offense against a child.

    Agree.

    Passage of a civil confinement law that would extend prison stays for certain high-risk offenders who have served their terms, but who by clear criteria are known to be highly likely to re-offend.

    Agree!

    Utilizing chemical castration and physical castration treatments for habitual sex offenders

    Disagree on physical castration.

    Broadening the criteria for listing child predators on Vermont’s Online Sex Offender Registry, and making it more user-friendly, as it is in other states, and for better monitoring of sex offenders using GPS technology.

    It depends on what is meant by broadening the category of a child predator...a 17 year old who has consensual sex with a 13 year old is not a child predator in my opinion. Agree about making it user friendly.


    Tough penalties for those who harbor a sex offender who violates registration requirements.
    Okay, but how are you going to prove the person knows they are harboring a sex offender? This could end up wasting resources prosecuting landlords or relatives on technical violations if you could even prove they had the requisite knowledge that the offender was in violation. GPS tracking would make this a non starter anyway..

    Expansion and funding for Special Investigative Units, to improve conviction rates and sentencing.

    [COLOR="blue"Agree!!![/COLOR]

    Adoption of laws that would allow evidence of prior sexual misconduct to be admissible in sex crimes cases, as it is in 12 other states and in federal court.

    Agree, this is huge. This may be the most important thing on the list. I don't believe anyone gets wrongly accused of a sex crime more than once, so previous evidence of sexual misconduct should be considered presumptively relevant. The fact that in a majority of states a jury is not told of previous allegations, even previous convictions on sex crimes is ridiculous.

    Collection by law enforcement authorities of DNA samples from anyone arrested in our state that could assist in cracking unsolved sex crimes.
    Disagree. What if you are arrested for failure to pay parking tickets, or being drunk and disorderly or possession of weed? I agree that DNA should be taken from those who are arrested for VIOLENT felonies, and there should be a mechanism for the DNA to be taken out of the database if it is proven to be a false arrest, e.g. the person arrested is determined to be factually innocent, not just unprosecutable.

    I would add special training for sex crime prosecutors and funding to study the viability of a sex crime court that would be staffed w/specially trained lawyers and judges with separate rules of evidence to make the process more fair to victims.

  22. #72
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    Keeping this sad case in perspective......

    MJ's previous conviction was for an attack on an 18 year old victim. That's an adult in the eyes of the law... not a child.

    And before that "lewd and lascivious conduct" but no conviction in that case.


    VT had no legal reason to even consider or treat him as a pedophile... a sex offender yes. A pedophile, no.

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medea View Post
    Disagree. What if you are arrested for failure to pay parking tickets, or being drunk and disorderly or possession of weed? I agree that DNA should be taken from those who are arrested for VIOLENT felonies, and there should be a mechanism for the DNA to be taken out of the database if it is proven to be a false arrest, e.g. the person arrested is determined to be factually innocent, not just unprosecutable.
    I agree. 500%

  24. #74
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    Dubie Blasts State Sex Laws In Wake Of Bennett Slaying

    Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie says Vermont must crack down on sex offenders.

    http://www.wptz.com/video/16882332/

    Attorney General Sorrell and Zuckerman need to go spend a day in the cell with both MJ & RG.

    The first area of change needs to be the process of appointing judges by the members of the legislature!! Liberal Legislature makes for liberal judges which makes for liberal sentences for these animals!

    A tree and a rope is the sentence they deserve!!

  25. #75
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    Vermont's Sex Offender Laws

    By Jane Lindholm

    http://www.vpr.net/episode/44000/

    In the wake of Brooke Bennett's death, we take a closer look at Vermont's sex offender laws. The body of the 12-year-old Braintree girl was found last week, and federal prosecutors have charged her uncle with kidnapping. Now, some lawmakers are calling for an investigation into the state's sex offender laws, and for the passage of "Jessica's Law", which requires a 25-year minimum sentence for sex offenders. Attorney General Bill Sorrell explains Vermont's current sex offender laws, how they've changed, and why Vermont has a national reputation as being lenient on offenders.

    UGGGHHHH Thats Vermont"s APPOINTED Liberal Attorney General who spent more time on the tobacco industry lawsuit and negected and ignored the sex offender fiasco in Vermont. Vermont's Attorney General Sorrell does NOT support Jessica's LAW!!!

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