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Couple Caught Canoodling on a Florida Beach Must Register as Sex Offenders

A couple convicted of having sex on a Florida beach is forced to register as sex offenders. Twenty-year-old Elissa Alvarez and 40-year-old Jose “Benny” Caballero were convicted of lewd and lascivious exhibition.

couple have sex on the beach must register as sex offendersA grandmother on the beach filmed the couple, as people passing by were forced to watch and cover their children’s eyes.

Alvarez’ attorney attempted to defend her by stating she was merely dancing on top of Caballero. If you see the video, she’s clearly doing a little more than dancing.

The charges call for 15 years in prison. Alvarez will not be spending the whole 15 years in prison but instead will serve an undisclosed amount of time in jail. Caballero on the other hand is a re-offender; three years prior he was convicted of cocaine trafficking. Because the new charges are felonies, and he was just released from prison three years ago, the judge is sentencing him to the full 15 years.

Both Alvarez and Caballero will forever be registered sex offenders. This will affect their employment, where they live, and their everyday lives. They can’t be close to schools or public parks, and having children will be extremely difficult.

Sex offenders have a social stigma: no one wants to be around them, hire them, or live near them.

Sex Offender Regulations

Alvarez and Caballero must report to the Sheriff’s Office to ReRegister either two or four times per year depending on the circumstances of their crime.

Should people like Alvarez and Caballero have to register as sex offenders, just like child molesters and rapists? Or should people who commit a non-violent crime, that does not involve a child, be mandated to go through counseling instead?

In my opinion, Alvarez is not a sex offender. She is a 20-year-old woman who acted recklessly while just wanted to be intimate with her boyfriend. Was it wrong? Absolutely. But she is nowhere close to having the same mindset as a rapist.

The purpose of the sex offender registration is to protect society from people who may have a propensity for committing sex-related crimes. Given the details of this case, I wouldn’t say that anyone needs to be protected from Alvarez.

I believe crimes like these, depending on specific circumstances, should entail counseling or mandatory classes, along with probation. Re-offenders like Caballero should possibly serve some jail time. But first time offenders like Alvarez, who committed a sexual non-violent crime that was not imposed directly onto a child, should not be forced to register as a sex offender. Any hope of having children and giving them a normal life is ruined unnecessarily.

Spring Break and Sexual Assaults: An Inevitable Trend

Three people have been arrested in relation to a gang rape occurring in Panama City, FL during spring break. How did the authorities find out about the rape? A video that went viral of the alleged rape got into the hands of the Panama City Beach police. Hundreds of onlookers watched as a woman went in and out of consciousness while she was raped multiple times. According to the authorities in Bay County, this isn’t the first, second, or even third video they’ve seen of this type of incident.

spring break sexual assaultsNew Provisions Ban Alcohol on Beaches in Bay County, FL

During spring break this year, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office made triple the amount of arrests than they did last year in the same time frame. Crimes involving drugs, weapons, and assaults are rampant among spring break goers looking for a good time with no consequences.

The Bay County Commission and the Panama City Beach Council declared a no alcohol on beaches policy between the dates of March 1 and April 18. They’re hoping to lower the number of sexual assaults that occur during spring break, but is alcohol the only issue?

The Problem Goes Beyond Alcohol

Yes, alcohol is a huge contributor in sexual assaults. However, our culture is the main issue.

The objectification of women is widespread in our society. Women are largely seen as sex symbols: nothing more than a body with a voice that needs to be silenced. If women are allowed to be seen as mere objects, then they will inevitably be treated as such.

Women are sexualized in all facets of life—not only on the beach, but even in unexpected venues including the world of politics. Consider news stories about Hillary Clinton: instead of journalists asking her what she plans to do about issues like ISIS and health care, she gets critiqued for her clothing. I never realized her outfit had anything to do with her politics. I guess in our country, this unfortunately does matter if you’re a woman.

The most detrimental way women are objectified is in the criminal justice system. More times than not, women who report a sexual assault are asked, “What were you wearing at the time of the incident?” and “Well were you drinking?” Women are much too often criminalized rather than victimized when reporting a sexual assault crime.

Six Officers Charged in the Murder of Freddie Gray

Baltimore Police Freddie Gray Case

The death of Freddie Gray was officially ruled as a homicide by Baltimore’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby. All six officers involved in the case will face criminal charges. They were quickly taken into custody following the announcement by the attorney’s prosecutor.

Even though the officers had reasonable suspicion to stop and question Gray, they did not have probable cause to arrest him. The officers made an illegal arrest.

Footage that caught the arrest on tape showed the cops using profound force on Gray while leading him to the van. But the investigation revealed Gray was not injured until the ride started.

While in the van, Gray’s head struck a bolt that was sticking out of the wall. He hit the bolt so hard it broke his neck, causing the massive spinal injury. A law enforcement official reported that his injuries were like that of a car accident victim. The investigation also revealed the van made a stop at an undisclosed and unreported location before arriving at the jail.

Lt. Brian Rice, the officer who first made contact with Gray, was hospitalized in April 2012 concerning his mental health. He reportedly stated that he “could not continue to go on like this” and threatened to commit an act which has not been made public.

Each officer is facing specific charges depending on their involvement in the case. Here’s a breakdown of the charges that have been released:

Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr.

  • Second-degree depraved-heart murder 30 years
  • Involuntary manslaughter 10 years
  • Second-degree assault 10 years
  • Manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence) 10 years
  • Manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence) 3 years
  • Misconduct in office

Officer William G. Porter

  • Involuntary manslaughter 10 years
  • Second-degree assault 10 years
  • Misconduct in office

Lt. Brian W. Rice

  • Involuntary manslaughter 10 years
  • Two counts of second-degree assault Each has a maximum penalty of 10 years
  • Two counts of misconduct in office
  • False imprisonment

Officer Edward M. Nero

  • Two counts of second-degree assault Each has a maximum penalty of 10 years
  • Two counts of misconduct in office
  • False imprisonment

Officer Garrett E. Miller

  • Two counts of second-degree assault Each has a maximum penalty of 10 years
  • Two counts of misconduct in office
  • False imprisonment

Sgt. Alicia D. White

  • Involuntary manslaughter 10 years
  • Second-degree assault 10 years
  • Misconduct in office

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Students Are Jailed for Skipping Class in Texas School District

News recently broke that the Fort Bend Independent School District just outside of Houston has been incarcerating truant students. In Texas, students are forced to pay fines if they miss 10 or more days of school within a six-month period. Most of these students are of low-income families. When they fail to pay, they are taken into custody. These students in turn miss even more school once in custody, and some are kicked out of school because of the added absence.

student truancyOver a thousand teenagers have been incarcerated for truancy related charges in the past three years within the Fort Bend school district. Because of the recent revelation, the school district announced it will stop sending truant students to court while a review of the attendance policies takes place.

In addition to this questionable practice, the advocacy group Texas Appleseed discovered that black and Hispanic students were disproportionately sent to court for truancy charges.

Serena Vela, an 11th grader, was jailed for nine days for failure to pay truancy charges. She accumulated more than $2,700, and was unable to pay the fines. Once freed, she was kicked out of school for her added absences. A year and a half later, she works at a pizza place and still does not have her high school diploma. She is just one example of the harmful effects this attendance process has on students.

John Payton’s Strict Oversight of Truancy Cases

Judge John Payton oversees about 80 percent of truancy cases in Collin County. On average, he sends 45 to 50 students to adult jail each year. He claims sending students to jail is a wakeup call for them and will motivate them to stay in school. But if students are being kicked out for missing even more school because of incarceration, how is this helping them?

Payton himself he hasn’t even earned his bachelor’s degree, yet he is in charge of almost all attendance cases in Collin County. He claims that he keeps students under the age of 17 away from felons when he sends them to jail, but jail officials have said this isn’t necessarily the case. He also jailed a student for 11 days whose Facebook page revealed his posts about suffering from depressing, suicide thoughts, and pain. This student spent the whole 11 days in solitary confinement.

Due Process Violations

In Texas, an accumulation of absences is a class C misdemeanor. The charges are held before a “justice of the peace” and municipal courts. The judges in these cases are not required to have a law degree. Buzzfeed News interviewed over 20 families whose child was sent to jail under truancy charges. Not one had a lawyer, directly denying their basic right to due process. Every incarceration of a student without proper due process is unlawful.

Trial for the Dark Knight Killer Begins

Not surprisingly, James Holmes is using the insanity defense to escape life in prison. Unfortunately for him, two psychiatrists who spent 50 hours interviewing him concluded he was sane at the time of the horrific shooting.

James HolmesHolmes is responsible for the 2012 mass murder of an audience in an Aurora, CO movie theater. The rampage was during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. He is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 others, facing a total of 166 felonies.

Holmes lawyers do not dispute that he is responsible for the shooting. But they do argue that Holmes was in the middle of a psychosis episode when he opened fire on the innocent audience. The trial began in January, with 9,000 potential jurors summoned by court officials. The trial is expected to last another four or five months. It will be an emotional journey for the people who must testify and face the man who killed their loved ones.

Defense attorney, Daniel King, asked the jurors to remove sympathy and prejudice from their decision in his opening remarks. He told the jury, “You’re being asked to set aside fundamental human emotions…I don’t know how you’re going to do that, but that’s your task.”

District Attorney George Brauchler is calling for the death penalty of Holmes. If Holmes is convicted, jurors must decide between the death penalty or life without parole.

Does He Have a Legitimate Insanity Claim?

Despite being accepted into a prestigious neuroscience graduate program at the University of Colorado, Holmes has suffered from mental illness for most of his life. At 11 years old, he attempted suicide.

He is exceptionally smart; the program only accepts six students each year. Even after his arrest, he ranked to have a superior intellect.

Documents show during the time Holmes was attending the program, he reached out to the school’s psychologist for help multiple times. He consistently looked for resources to help or eliminate his condition.

Even though Holmes has suffered from mental illness his whole life, has a family history of mental illness, and documents prove his willingness to change, psychiatrists still deemed him sane during the shooting. How is this possible?

Four days after the shooting, a neurologist and psychologist came to visit Holmes in jail to determine his mental state. The doctor concluded the Holmes, without any doubt, was presently insane. He immediately diagnosed him with schizo-affective disorder. There is no doubt Holmes is suffering from mental illness. But the jury needs to determine if he was ill at the time of the shooting.

Was Holmes in the middle of a schizophrenic episode the night of July 20, 2012? Or was he just mad at the world; he recently lost potential jobs, a girlfriend, and his reason for living. Either way, his actions will never be justified. All we can hope, is the families affected by the shooting find some peace at the end of trial.