Legislative Alert January 29th Concord State House

Please plan to come to the public hearings starting at 10 a.m. next Thursday, Jan. 29, on two of the four bills written by CCJR to ease the war on people convicted of sexual offenses.  Both meetings are in Room 204 of the Legislative Office Building. That’s across the street due west of the Golden Dome building.

If you can help phone people to muster our allies, let me know ASAP. If you can testify, come at 9:30 and talk to me in the hearing room, or better yet, email me ahead of time so I can help you give your best presentation. Speak from personal experience, keep it short.  Write yourself a short outline of the points you wish to make and talk off the cuff. Lawmakers hate to hear written testimony read out loud. It’s okay to hand them written testimony after you speak.

You don’t have to answer questions you’re unsure of, especially complex policy or legal questions. Just say there are others in the room who can address those issues. Don’t worry, there will be.  If you are nervous, it’s fine to say so. Talk as an expert on the hysteria against  registrants, the stigma for their loved ones, the horrors of being on the registry. 

If you decide not to speak, please sign the official 8 x 11 blue sheet in the hearing room that says you support the bills. That’s huge for lawmakers to know. We need to outnumber any victim advocates or prosecutors who oppose our legislation. They're well funded with tax dollars and may see this week as a showdown for their side.

You can read details of the bills below.  If you decide to testify on them, and I hope you do, the information I’m giving you can help shape your remarks. Below that is a Keene Sentinel article this week on the bills and the crimes against sex offenders that make this legislation so important.

A registered sex offender was murdered a year ago in Keene, probably because he was on the State Police and Keene online registries of demonized people. That seems the more likely because an innocent farmer was bludgeoned and left with a traumatic brain injury six weeks earlier in nearby Westmoreland. The assailant did not know what his intended victim looked like. 

The target was almost surely the convicted sex offender living across the street. That’s the person the attacker asked for by first name. The mailboxes for the two men were side by side.

The real target of the assault bought a big German Shepherd for protection after the bludgeoning. He moved out of town shortly after I met with him to tell him he could be in danger. He already knew that. The police confirm the bludgeoning was a case of mistaken identity. Someone beat up a perfect stranger badly enough to kill him. That likely means a predator still at large had never met the sex offender across the street either.

State and Keene Police have failed to solve either crime yet, but there is no shortage of suspects on this vigilante website gloating over the murder of a public registrant. http://www.dreamindemon.com/community/threads/rso-killed-in-my-neighborhood-last-night.66410/

The chief investigator in the murder case has earned a national reputation for computer savvy in catching legions of would-be sex offenders in Internet chat rooms. He used those tech skills in nabbing the Keene murder victim in 2005, sending him to prison for possession of child pornography. 

A vigilante from Nova Scotia killed two registrants in Maine much the same way in 2007. He simply found them on the public registry and shot them at their front doors.

Lawrence Trant, a Concord, NH, vigilante tried to burn two apartment buildings near the State House because seven sex offenders lived there. He also stabbed a registrant many times and left him bleeding to death, but the doctors somehow saved him.

The two bills we’re talking about

HB 262 at the 10 a.m. hearing would reduce the number of people on tier three of the sex offender public registry. They can never get off the shaming and targeting roster.  Our bill deletes one line of the NH registry law that is unnecessarily tougher than the federal Adam Walsh Act. That's the federal law which asks every state to have a public registry. 

HB 262 would delete a sentence from current NH law that puts someone on the list for life if they have committed three sex offenses against someone under age 16. In its place we add a line that says someone would go onto tier three for committing a new sex offense after getting out of prison or jail on tier two. Tier two registrants, by the way, can apply to their sentencing judge to get off the public roster after 15 years.

How many registrants and loved ones would benefit from HB 262? Certainly the Romeo/Juliette offenders. Maybe a lot more people. The state keeps no data on the problem.

HB 263 at the 11 a.m. hearing would abolish local residency restrictions against sex offenders. Franklin and Dover used to bar registrants from living within 2,000 feet of a school, park, or daycare center. Lower courts overturned both codes as a violation of basic property rights. Faced with losing expensive lawsuits, most other towns have gotten rid of these ordinances. We expect Tilton voters will repeal their residency code this March at Town Meeting. Only tiny Holderness will still enforce one of these codes and they plan to keep it. We're working on them.

We’ve gotten an identical bill through the House three times starting in 2010. The House  Criminal Justice Committee you’ll be speaking to understands these codes are illegal and they are terrible policy. They drive former offenders out of town, they spur vigilantism, they’re based on dangerous myths, they force people underground, they move them to the outskirts of a city or village if they can live there at all. Cops and victims advocates have begun fighting these restrictions. We hope a few will even testify on our side next week. Many of them know they should. I’ve talked to them

Chris Dornin