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SATI e-News: July 8, 2002

  

 
In This Issue:
      
     Legal Update

Conference Announcements

DNA News: From Washington

  Michigan Court Opinion Impacts Law Enforcement’s Internal Sex Offender Records
  As reported in the June 10 issue of SATI e-News, a federal judge declared Michigan's sex offender registry unconstitutional. The state’s registry listed 29,000 sex offenders on the state’s public website, until officials pulled the plug on June 4th in response to the Court’s decision.
 
After SATI e-News went to press last month, the Detroit Free Press reported that the decision also forced state officials to shut down a lesser known but important law enforcement tool—the confidential list used internally by police departments across the state to track sex offenders. The list has been used by law enforcement to track offenders who were discharged on an unsupervised basis. An estimated 93 of these offenders were added to the internal list monthly, while an average 264 offenders were being added monthly to the public registry, according to Michigan’s Assistant Attorney General, Margaret Nelson and reported in the Free Press.
 
State officials have requested that the Court delay enforcement of its order—at least for the internal list— pending the outcome of the Attorney General’s appeal to a higher court. The appeal is expected to be decided in “the coming months,” according to the Free Press.
 
Separately, the U.S. Supreme Court recently picked up at least one sex offender case for review, a Connecticut sex offender registry case, to decide whether to force states to evaluate cases individually before listing former sex offenders on registries. The Supreme Court decision is expected some time next year, and the Free Press indicates its outcome may affect some 20 state sex offender registries.
 
Thanks to Leslie A. Hagen, Staff Attorney for the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, for bringing this update to our attention.
 
Original sources:
 
“State pleads for registry; second sex-offender list could be lost under ruling,” Detroit Free Press, June 11, 2002 http://www.freep.com/news/mich/nstay11_20020611.htm
 
“State sex offender list ruled unlawful by court,” Detroit Free Press, June 4, 2002 http://www.freep.com/news/mich/offend4_20020604.htm
 
“Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry, “ SATI e-news, June 10, 2002.

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  Supreme Court Finds Offender Treatment Program Constitutional
  The Supreme Court ruled that a Kansas sex offender rehab program that forced a prisoner to reveal past crimes did not violate the Constitution.
 
The Kansas program is voluntary, but there are incentives for prisoners to sign-up for it, according to the UPI. Once they are enrolled in the program, offenders are required to complete and sign an “admission of responsibility” form for all the crimes they’ve committed, including any illegal offenses for which they have not been charged.
 
The inmate who filed the suit contested that the form compelled self-incrimination—even though the program is voluntary—because not participating resulted in harsh punitive measures such as withdrawing television privileges.
 
While Kansas does not consider the information provided by the inmates in the offender program to be privileged, the state has never acted on it, according to the UPI.
 
Source:
 

“Rape rehabilitation program constitutional,” UPI, June 10, 2002
http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=10062002-014718-8826r

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  Project GHB Conference: Save the Date
  Project GHB (www.projectghb.org) will hold a national conference in Orlando Florida, March 13-15, 2003. The conference is geared to front-line professionals—medical personnel, crime labs, law enforcement, prosecutors, victim advocates, school administrators and counselors—who commonly come in contact with those who have ingested the drug, either voluntarily or involuntarily. This forum will bring together top experts to share the most up-to-date-information on GHB and other club drugs. Conferees will learn how to educate others on the front-lines in their communities about the signs of GHB use, and about the unique qualities of this drug that require specialized treatments and protocols. Project GHB is working with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Florida Drug Czar on conference plans. Registration details will be provided in future issues of SATI e-News.

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  Multi-Disciplinary Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Training in Troy, NY (Albany)
  The principals of SATI (Sexual Assault Training & Investigations) and STOPDV (Specialized Training on Preventing Domestic Violence) will hold an intensive two-day state-of-the-art DV and Sexual Assault training, September 25-26 in Troy (Albany), New York.
 
Presented by Sgt. Joanne Archambault (retired), the sexual assault sessions will focus on case dynamics: investigating tough cases (non-stranger, drug facilitated sexual assault, mentally ill, runaways), developing skills to interview survivors, evidence assessment, interpretation of findings and case impact. The DV topics, to be presented by Sgt. Anne O’Dell (retired), include intervention, sophistication of batterers, strangulation investigative techniques, mutual combat and lethality, risk assessment and stalking. Advance registration is required. For details, see http://www.mysati.com/reg_ny_9_2002.htm or call Rose Frey at the New York State Prosecutors Training Institute (518) 629-4822. Register early--seating is limited to 200.

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  National FBI Conference for Crime Lab Managers
  Crime lab managers are invited to attend the FBI’s annual conference, which will be held this year in St. Louis, September 23-25, at Washington University’s Olin School of Business Executive Management. Contact the FBI Lab Training Coordinator at703/632-4622 or see http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/fsc/current/trainingupdt.htm.

For a list of other FBI forensic trainings and meetings, see:
http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/fsc/current/rapidmtg.htm

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  International Association of Forensic Nurses
  The 10th anniversary scientific assembly of the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) will be held in Minneapolis, MN October 9-13 http://www.iafn.org/events/02conf/.

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  International DV/SA/Stalking Conference
  Register now for the 3rd annual International Conference on Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Stalking, April 23-25, San Diego.

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  National DNA Database
  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory announced it reached one million profiles, a major milestone in building the National DNA Database. In a press release issued June 14, the FBI acknowledged “the excellent cooperation of the criminal justice community, especially the participating laboratories and their staff who are responsible for the success of this program, which has been instrumental in solving some of the most heinous serial violent crimes.”

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  Rape Kit and Perpetrator DNA Backlog
  Various efforts are underway in this session of Congress to address the enormous backlog of rape kits and perpetrator DNA samples. The backlog of rape kits alone is estimated to be as high as 500,000.
 
Passing new legislation this year poses a challenge even greater than usual, due to competition for resources against domestic homeland security initiatives, as well as time constraints. The target date for Congress to adjourn before mid-term elections is October 4.
 
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) was one of the first to identify the issue, and has proposed a significant increase through Justice appropriations to speed processing of the backlog.
 
In addition, a bill named for rape survivor Debbie Smith is being considered in both chambers, and has bipartisan support. Debbie swept Capitol Hill late last month in a series of legislator visits and publicity efforts. She was joined by her husband Rob, a Lieutenant with the Williamsburg Police Department, as well as RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), and the National Center for Victims of Crime.
 
Lifetime Television is supporting the Debbie Smith Act through its online petition effort: http://lifetimetv.com/community/olc/violence/debbie_smith_pledge.html.
Debbie and the team delivered the first batch of signatures during their Hill visit.
http://lifetimetv.com/community/olc/violence/debbie_smith_pledge.html
 
Debbie Smith Act Senate Bill, S.2055:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:SN02055:@@@P

Debbie Smith Act, House Bill, HR.2874:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:HR02874:@@@P

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