More Mass. Hysteria
BOSTON (AP) The Massachusetts high court was asked Wednesday to bar state officials from posting information about convicted sex offenders on the Internet.Ok, how's this - it will enable parents to more easily determine if there are any predatory child rapists living next to the park where they take their children to play, or next to their relatives' home across the state where they visit often. Or maybe a family wants to move to Massachusetts (we're talking hypothetically here, OK?) and wants to know if anyone lives in the neighborhood they're looking at who might be inclined to kidnap their babies and rape them with a hammer. What possible good could this service provide?!?! Are they serious? Hello!!! What the hell is wrong with these people?!?!?
The Supreme Judicial Court will decide whether posting the names, addresses and photographs of Level 3 offenders those classified as the most dangerous and most likely to commit more crimes would violate the liberty and privacy rights of sex offenders.
"The government must prove that this will help protect the public...they haven't done that," Carol Donovan, special litigation director for the Committee on Public Counsel Services, told the court.
The state's public defenders sued the state on behalf of five sex offenders, arguing that putting their names and photographs on the Internet would hurt their ability to find jobs, homes and rehabilitate themselves. The group won an injunction barring posting of the information.Yes, you read that correctly. There are people in Massachusetts, drawing their salaries from the public till, who want to bar the state from providing a means for the public to access public records - even if the information therein could possibly save a family from the horrible tragedy of having their children assaulted, raped, or worse.
As the father of two little girls, let me tell you how broken up I am over their hardships. If it was my kids they raped or molested, this wouldn't be an issue. They'd most likely be fertilizer by now and I'd now be serving a prison term handed down by some of the same judges who let these monsters out of prison and into our communities in the first place.
We're talking Level 3 sex offenders here, folks. The most violent, dangerous, and likely to re-offend sexual predators out there. You don't get tagged Level 3 for ogling at some college girls on the sidewalk (good thing). If they were so worried about finding honest work, you think they might have thought about that before raping little kids.
The justices frequently interrupted Donovan's arguments and peppered her with questions about why the information should not be posted, when today's society is so mobile, and the Web is an accessible source of information. They said the current system for people to check whether sex offenders live in their neighborhood by visiting local police departments is inconvenient and impracticable.New state motto: Massachusetts - Inconvenient and impracticable.
Justice Martha Sosman told Donovan it's odd that predators can use the Web as a tool to lure victims, but that potential victims don't have that same ability to learn about offenders.Touche!
I'm hoping the court will make the right decision here, but as usual, I won't be holding my breath waiting for it. But seeing as this is Massachusetts, I find myself preparing for an impending RCOB moment. Will post an update as soon as the ruling comes down.
UPDATE: Also from today's Globe:
BOSTON (AP) Lawyers who represent poor clients went to the state's highest court Wednesday to argue for higher pay to help end what they described as a crisis that is leaving defendants waiting in jail for weeks without representation.OK, maybe there's some merit to the claim that some of the state's poor are having difficulty obtaining legal representation. I won't argue that point, but if they're so concerned about people "waiting in jail for weeks without representation", why not get out in the communities and discourage these people from engaging in the behavior that landed in the can in the first place? A little pre-emptive action, if you will, might be in order.
Lawyers from across the state have complained about the low rates. Lawsuits were filed last month against district court judges in Springfield and Holyoke, asking for higher pay.Seems to me that when the cops have your face on the trunk of the squad car and they inform you of your right to an attorney, they're referring to a person to help you with your paperwork and to get you through your court appearances in one piece. No one has the right to a taxpayer-funded legal defense team headed by Johnnie Cochran. What do you want for nothing? r-r-r-R-RUBBER BISCUIT!?!?
The lawyers currently earn $30 an hour for district court cases, $39 an hour for superior court cases and $54 an hour for murder cases.
How about this? "You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, a second-year BC Law School student, who will pretty much do anything for $30 and hour, will be assigned to your case."
"We're basically looking for a fair rate of pay that at this point would allow us to cover our overhead," said Nancy McLean, a Cape Cod attorney who is the spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys.By "overhead", are you referring to the use of taxpayers' money to help protect the "rights' of convicted child rapists at the expense of the public's safety, Ms. McLean? Looks like you might be in for a tough time mustering up some sympathy for your cause here.
And if they're looking for additional funding for public defendants in the Commonwealth, correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't it the job of the LEGISLATIVE branch to allocate funding in the state budget for the various public agencies working in the state? Oh, wait, this is Massachusettss, the judicial branch IS the legislative branch. I forgot. Silly me.
The justices questioned whether the court has the right to get involved in the issue.This blog just writes itself sometimes.
"What is the authority of the court to order the
legislatureprivate sector...to enact legislationprovide that counsel?" asked Chief Justice Margaret Marshall.