NEWS RELEASE: National Experts Call for Sex Offender Law Reform
McSorley, a Democratic who serves on the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee, has a long-standing reputation for taking on tough issues with a bent to finding solutions. Back in May, for example, legislation he sponsored took a bite out of public corruption, mandating the repayment of salaries and forfeiture of state pension benefits by elected officials found guilty of corruption while at the same time resolving a contentious funding issue with the state's medical marijuana program.
As a keynote speaker on the closing day of the RSOL "Catch the Dream of Reform" conference, hosted this year by RSOL New Mexico, McSorley -- who has also gone to bat for collective bargaining and domestic partnerships, is a vocal advocate of women's rights, and opposes corporate personhood -- dug in his heels on sex offender regulations which, he asserted, are in desperate need of overhaul.
McSorley's proactive comments summarized a chorus of high-profile experts who filled all three Conference Center meeting rooms with two-dozen presentations over the course of the three-day event, all calling for sanity and science to allay public paranoia on the controversial and emotionally charged sex-offender subject.
Repeated assertions by high-caliber professionals made a strong case that current sex offender registration laws are at best an expensive boondoggle which wastes millions of tax dollars on monitoring systems that fail to protect anyone from harm.
At worst, these policies inflict unjustifiable hardship and cause real injury to the registrants, their spouses and their children who are being held hostage and tortured by restrictions-run-amok which stigmatize, dehumanize, ostracize, and extract unjustifiable and ever-increasing pounds of flesh.
Among those endorsing and advocating for well-reasoned reform:
Dr. George Geysen, a clinical and forensic psychologist recognized by the Connecticut legal system as an expert in the assessment and treatment of persons charged with or convicted of sexual offenses
Dr. Tamara Rice Lave, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Miami School of Law and author of "Constructing and Controlling the Sexually Violent Predator: An American Obsession
Dr. Erin Comartin, Ph.D., faculty member of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, with a specialty in the impacts that public registration has on family members of sex offenders
Dr. Eric A. Imhof, Psy.D., President/Clinical Director of Specialized Treatment and Assessment Resources, P. A. in Weston, Florida which specializes in the general clinical and forensic evaluation of both adolescent and adult sex-offenders and is considered an expert on Internet Child Pornography Offenders
Amy Borror, Legislative and Media Liaison for the Office of the Ohio Public Defender who is an expert on the unintended ramifications of the Adam Walsh Act
Norm Pattis, New England based trial lawyer with a national reputation for civil rights advocacy and passion to level the playing field for people who have been "burned by a legal system that deprives too many folks of effective representation of counsel
Pattis made a September 12 appearance on the Dr. Phil TV-show as defense council for Anna Gristina, aka: the “New York Soccer Mom Madam,” who is accused of running a multimillion dollar prostitution empire out of an Upper East Side apartment.
"Charge a person with a crime. Arrest them. Repeat the allegations in open court. Then let the press do the rest. The presumption of innocence rarely protects a person from the damning effects of press reports. The prosecutor lays out his case in open court; the accusing finger is pointed. The fatal whispering then begins." Pattis asserted in his August 16 entry on
Back in April, Pattis took on the eviction of Occupiers from The Green, a public space in beautiful New Haven Connecticut. Though he won a stay of eviction (to allow time for the constitutional merits of the case to be decided), the Occupy encampment was obliterated by a mayor who, it could be said, defied due process in service of a personal political agenda. Pattis, in his blog, accused the mayor of being a "press-fleshing ward-heeler with the moral compass of a three-legged donkey."
Like a microcosmic diorama of the detrimental consequences spawned by the regulations these experts seek to redress, the very convening of the conference itself generated fear-mongering controversy.
Without belaboring details and purposefully declining to mention by name a small but vocal group of detractors, suffice it to say that spurious, derogatory and defaming accusations were lobbed at public officials and conference venue management. This cascaded into a haze of mis-information being bandied about the airwaves provoking some degree of confounded consternation among all involved.
At one point, less than two weeks out from the conference date, serious concerns about the potential for vigilantism and public protest during the conference raised the possibility of the whole event being shut down.
Cool heads, mutual respect and sanity did ultimately prevail, however, and the multi-day program came together without a hitch.
In total, and in addition to a long list of media representatives, featured speakers and a dozen-or-so folks who showed-up on the last day and were admitted free of charge, 153 people representing advocacy groups from 23 states (see list below) registered for and participated in conference proceedings.
The conference was hailed by both organizers and attendees as an outstanding success. Plans are already in the works for RSOL's 5th annual National Conference, slated for late summer or early autumn of 2013 in Los Angeles with the California RSOL affiliate serving as host. Visit www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org for more info.
RSOL Conference Attendee Demographics:
AL-1, AR-5, CA-7, CO-7, FL-7, GA-1, IL-1, KY- 2, KS-2, MA-2, MD-5, MI-1, MO-5, NC-2, NJ-1, NM-76, NY-4, OH-5, OK-4, OR-1, SD-1, TX-12, UT-1
23 states represented = 46% of total number of U.S. states
Please Note: The forgoing is posted with hyperlinks to referenced speakers, an extensive list of newsclips, conference photos and ancillary information at gozarks.com
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A note from Gail Colletta, President of Florida Action Committee.
"I was so impressed by the quality of the conference this year, the speakers and the organizers did an excellent job. One of the things that impressed me most was how well the leadership managed to squelch public fears through their professional behavior and education of the media. When we arrived we were warned about the possibility of protesters, the sheriff providing protection outside the hotel and holding a public meeting to inform the community they were well aware of our presence and they were at the ready. Fortunately after some bad press about our goals before our conference the reports on local TV were better and more honest as they allowed Brenda Jones and Robert Combs of RSOL National to educate the interviewer and the listener to the goals of our conference.. Great job everyone. I am looking forward to being present next year in Los Angeles. It was a great opportunity for me to re-establish contacts around the country with other state leaders and advocates as well as forge new relationships with those I have not previously met. I am invigorated and ready for our upcoming legislative session in Florida after elections. I am hopeful we will continue to make headway in Florida for reforming these draconian laws with which we all have to live. I encourage as many of you to participate as possible. It is time and money well spent. Thanks to all of the Florida Action Committee members and board members that did participate, it was wonderful to have you there".