Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekend jail time?? WTF!

Weekend jail time for child porn collector

Mike Chouinard
The Times
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
A Chilliwack physiotherapist caught with a large collection of child pornography on his computer will spend two months' worth of weekends in jail for his offence.
Judge Russell MacKay gave Laurence Wong a 60-day jail sentence in provincial court Friday morning. The sentence is to be served intermittently.
"I sincerely hope this chapter is put behind you," the judge told him.
Wong was arrested May 3, 2007 after police found approximately 26,000 images on his home computer that depicted various degrees of pornographic images involving children. It also contained several hundred explicit videos.
"Needless to say, this material is shocking, repulsive and abhorrent," MacKay said.
The arrest was part of an international investigation based in the Netherlands.
Wong pleaded guilty in December. Prior to sentencing, both a pre-sentence report and psychiatric evaluation were ordered.
The physiotherapist has faced restrictions about working around children in his practice. Currently, he is working in the Vancouver area at a grocery store. He also lost a chance to serve as a physiotherapist for the British kayak team at the upcoming Olympics in China.
Wong's professional association is expected to review his status now that the court case has concluded. Judge MacKay said he expected the association will impose further sanctions against the physiotherapist.
In addition to the 60-day sentence, Wong faces two years of probation when his term ends. Judge MacKay also included an order that Wong be placed on a sexual offenders' registry for a 10-year term, but declined to make an order for a sample for an offenders' DNA registry.
Wong faces restrictions against being around young people under 16 years of age and can only use a computer for work purposes. He must also pay a victim surcharge fine of $1,000.
He faced a minimum of 14 days in jail and a maximum of 18 months. When passing sentence the judge took into account the accused's lack of criminal history, his willingness to admit his mistake, and that he had not produced or distributed the material.
"He acknowledges that his behaviour was extremely inappropriate," MacKay said.
The judge took note of Wong's family and a letter from his mother.
"It is a credit to the family that they continue to stand behind their son," MacKay said.
However, he also cited the extreme nature of some of the material Wong possessed and did not grant defence counsel's request for a minimum jail sentence.

Arizona tracking child molestors

GPS 'eye' now tracking sex offenders
By Kim Smith
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona Published: 05.27.2008

Anthony Garcia got busted, not by a cop on the street, but by an eye in the sky.
The 18-year-old registered sex offender got too close to a couple of schools, and he didn't stick to his probation-officer-approved schedule.
His probation officer wasn't anywhere around, but he knew where Garcia had been because of a satellite-based GPS tracking system quietly put into use 18 months ago.
Since late 2006, some child molesters who are placed on probation have been required to wear Global Positioning System ankle bracelets that track where they are 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Probation officers can download data whenever they want to check where a defendant has been and whether they're keeping to their pre-approved schedules. Or, the officers can sit at a computer screen to watch a probationer move from place to place in real-time, said David Sanders, Pima County's chief probation officer.
Pima County probation officers are monitoring nine local residents, plus 16 people who live in other Southern Arizona counties that don't have the necessary equipment, said Barbara Johnson, who supervises the sex offender unit of Pima County Adult Probation.
In each case, the child molesters are told there are certain areas where they can't go, Sanders said. If they go into an "exclusionary zone," the ankle bracelet sounds an alarm and immediately notifies his probation officer.
If the probation officer thinks it's necessary, he or she can immediately call the police, Sanders said.
Exclusionary zones could include playgrounds, school yards and victims' neighborhoods.
The tracking system also can be used as an investigative tool, Sanders said. Detectives investigating a sex crime can compare a sex offender's GPS data with the location and time of that crime to see if they match, he said.
Johnson stressed that probation officers are still doing all the same checks they did before GPS — making unannounced visits to homes and jobs, testing for drugs and alcohol and meeting with probationers on a regular basis.
"Just because they are on GPS doesn't mean we sit back," Johnson said. "It's just another tool for us to use."
Garcia, the 18-year-old, was placed on lifetime probation in February 2007 after admitting to sexual conduct with an 8-year-old relative.
A probation officer filed a motion to revoke Garcia's probation on May 6.
According to court documents, Garcia wasn't where he was supposed to be on 11 days, failed to live up to GPS requirements on six days, went near schools twice and failed to participate in his counseling program on a certain day. He also failed to report to his probation officer on another day.
Garcia said he didn't adhere to his schedule, and he didn't live up to his GPS requirements on those dates. Pima County Superior Court Judge John Leonardo could place him back on probation June 6, or he could sentence him to up to 15 years in prison.
Garcia is the first person placed on GPS monitoring who could have his probation revoked because of it, Johnson said. However, a warrant has been issued for a second sex offender who cut off his GPS monitor and disappeared.
Right now, the only sex offenders who are fitted with the GPS monitors are those convicted of "dangerous" crimes against children, who have been placed on probation, Sanders said.
The number who fall into that category is relatively small because most people convicted of such crimes are sent to prison, Sanders said.
In addition, there are some sex crimes that are not considered "dangerous" under Arizona law, Sanders said.
But the number is expected to increase, Sanders said, because there are a few dozen people in prison now who will have to spend time on probation after they're released.
The state is paying for the bracelets, which cost $6 a day, Sanders said.
He said he expects legislators will eventually expand the circumstances under which GPS can be required, possibly to include people awaiting trial, domestic-violence suspects and those convicted of adult sex crimes.
Although no studies have been done to see if the monitors have a deterrent effect on sex offenders, there is speculation they could make them think twice about committing bad acts, Sanders said.
"GPS makes the most sense in cases where there are exclusionary zones that have been set up for justifiable reasons, such as when you have a stalking-type situation when the victim is at a higher risk of being attacked," Sanders said.
Pima County Public Defender Bob Hirsh said he has problems with GPS monitoring, especially considering the cost.
"They've got to know where these people are every second of every day? What's the point of that?" Hirsh said. "I think it's all pretty circumstantial. I'm found near schools every day going to and from the grocery store."
There is no correlation between someone being successful on probation and GPS, Hirsh said. Some people succeed on probation because they've decided to change their behavior, and others simply because they are in a more structured environment.
"I don't see any benefit," Hirsh said. "This is just another example of encroachment by the government."