In a thoughtful 12-page decision, dated Feb. 18, 2009, Albany [New York] City Court Judge Thomas K. Keefe refused to enforce the City’s sex offender residency law, using the Oberlander case as precedent, and refusing to follow a decision by his City Court benchmate, Judge Rachel Kretser. See Peo. v. James Blair (File #08-186882); “Sex offender residency case tossed” (Albany Times Union, Feb. 20, 2009). After citing the recent proposal to ban sex offenders from living near eachother in Colonie (see our prior post), Judge Keefe notes:
“As easily imagined and as was already noted by the Legislature, these ‘not in my backyard’ local residency restrictions create great difficulties for the Division of Parole, local probation and social service agencies to locate appropriate housing for sex offenders.”
The Times Union notes:
“The conflicting decisions from the same court could send mixed messages to city police.
“Attorney Terence Kindlon, whose firm is suing the county pro bono, said he believes it would be ‘more intelligent than not to refrain from prosecuting these cases’.”
” . . . Detective James Miller, a spokesman for the Albany Department of Public Safety, said officers in the city will keep making arrests.
As the Times Union Politics Blog noted yesterday evening, “Amid all this, state Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough is still considering a constitutional challenge to county law nearly identical to the one made in Rockland.” Justice McDonough has a summary judgment motion before him in the suit mentioned above brought by Terence Kindlon.
It’s clear that we need statewide action on sex offenders. However, we also need politicians who will have the courage to oppose counterproductive and ineffective residency bans — like the fear-mongering S.01300, proposed by Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith — that prevent whole classes of sex offenders from living in most populated areas, rather than allowing professionals to locate housing most appropriate for each individual sex offender. See our prior post “don’t let a bad idea go statewide” (Feb. 2, 2009). If courage is lacking, perhaps politically-motivated leaders from rural areas of the state will rise up against S.01300, which will force many sex offenders to live in less-populated areas.
p.s. See the informative Wall Street Journal article “After Prison, Few Places for Sex Offenders to Live: Georgia’s Rules That Keep Some Convicted Felons Far From Children Create Challenges for Compliance, Enforcement” (Feb. 19, 2009; via Corey Yung)
we talk about thinking
outside the box
can I still learn
to play the violin
…. by Yu Chang – Frogpond Vol. 32:1 (Winter 2009)
a falling petal
the fetus kicks
…. by Peggy Willis Lyles – Frogpond Vol. 32:1 (Winter 2009)
she would have
polished the silver
lighter than expected
…. by Carolyn Hall – Frogpond Vol. 32:1 (Winter 2009)
breaks the surface
…. by Hilary Tann – Frogpond Vol. 32:1 (Winter 2009)