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Online Sex Offender Database Leads To Murder? 1001

Posted by Zonk
from the just-think-what-open-government-will-lead-to dept.
nem75 writes "The LA Times reports on the story of Michael A. Dodele, a convicted rapist, found murdered in a Lakeport trailer park. He moved there after having been released from prison just 35 days before. A 29-year-old construction worker has been arrested in the attack, and explained that he killed Dodele to protect his son from child molestation. He found out on the internet about Dodele being a sex offender, via the 'Megan's Law' database. The public entry for Dodele in the database was wrong — though he was found guilty of committing crimes against adult women he was not a child molester. Dodele's entry in Megan's Law DB has been removed." Update: 12/11 15:51 GMT by Z : Moved link to non-reg article.
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Online Sex Offender Database Leads To Murder?

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  • FYI (Score:4, Informative)

    by nem75 (952737) <jens@bremmekamp.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:46AM (#21656113)
    From TFA:

    Although Oliver did not say he killed Dodele (...)
    The suspect admitted attacking the victim and everything so far seems to point to him being the killer, but he has not actually confessed that yet. Which is why this was not claimed in the original story submission.
  • TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:47AM (#21656143)
    Megan's Law listing may have led to slaying
    Lake County Sheriff
    Ivan Garcia Oliver 29, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, burglary and elder abuse.
    Lake County prosecutors have investigated the possibility that information in the Internet database might have been the motive for the killing of a convicted sex offender.
    By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    December 10, 2007
    LAKEPORT, CALIF. -- Convicted rapist Michael A. Dodele had been free just 35 days when sheriff's deputies found him dead last month in his aging, tan mobile home, his chest and left side punctured with stab wounds.

    Officers quickly arrested Dodele's neighbor, 29-year-old construction worker Ivan Garcia Oliver, who made "incriminating comments, essentially admitting to his attacking Dodele," the Lake County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

    Prosecutors said they have investigated the possibility that the slaying of Dodele, 67, stemmed from his having been listed on the state's Megan's Law database of sex offenders. If so, his death may be the first in the state to result from such a listing, experts said.

    Oliver pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, burglary and elder abuse when he was arraigned Nov. 30.

    In a jailhouse interview Wednesday night, Oliver said he has a son who was molested in the past, and he took action to protect the child.

    "Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people," Oliver said. "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."

    Although Oliver did not say he killed Dodele, he said that "any father in my position, with moral, home, family values, wouldn't have done any different. At the end of the day, what are we as parents? Protectors, caregivers, nurturers."

    In fact, Dodele was not a child molester. But a listing on the Megan's Law website could have left Oliver with the impression that he had abused children because of the way it was written.

    Although Dodele's listing has been taken down since his death, a spokesman for the state attorney general said the site described the man's offenses as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force."

    "He was convicted of other bad things, but nothing involving a minor," said Richard F. Hinchcliff, chief deputy district attorney for Lake County. But "it would be easy to understand why someone might think so looking at the website."

    Dodele's crimes involved sexual assaults on adult women, records show.

    A neighbor at the Western Hills Resort & Trailer Park, a tattered collection of mobile homes and bungalows, said that two days before the killing, Oliver "told every house" in the park that he'd found Dodele listed on the website of convicted sexual offenders and was uncomfortable living near him.

    "He looked it up on the computer . . . ," the neighbor said. "He said [Dodele] can't be around here."

    The park resident requested anonymity because of a fear of reprisal, but reported Oliver's visit and statements to sheriff's deputies after the slaying. "A lot of people told them" about Oliver's claims, the person said.

    Officials in Lake County -- a patchwork of wealth and poverty, vineyards and mobile home parks just north of Napa Valley -- would not offer a motive for the killing.

    Hinchcliff acknowledged, however, that one possible motive investigated by the district attorney's office was that Oliver knew Dodele was on the Megan's Law list and did not want him as a neighbor.

    According to court documents, Dodele committed his first offenses at age 15 and spent the last two decades either in prison or at Atascadero State Hospital receiving treatment.

    His last attack was the 1987 knife-point rape of a 37-year-old woman on a Sonoma County beach.

    Those were the charges
  • Re:FYI (Score:2, Informative)

    by RandoX (828285) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:49AM (#21656175)
    "...this was not claimed in the original story submission"

    Guess I was wrong. Apparently the editors actually DO something around here.
  • "Register or log in" (Score:4, Informative)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:51AM (#21656209) Journal
    Google is your friend [upi.com].

    -mcgrew [slashdot.org]
  • Commensurability? (Score:5, Informative)

    by nem75 (952737) <jens@bremmekamp.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:56AM (#21656305)

    Who thinks he may have gotten what was coming to him?
    I realize that this will probably not be deemed sufficient by you, but the victim had spent the last twenty years of his life either in prison or in hospital. He was 67. His last offense dates back to 1987.
  • Re:In other news (Score:4, Informative)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:58AM (#21656333) Journal
    This guy was going to kill someone, somewhere, somehow.

    Oliver is being held without bail, a police statement said, because he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in San Diego and was on parole when Dodele was killed.
    Looks like he had already tried.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anubis350 (772791) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @11:59AM (#21656359)
    On the *gripping* hand! Turn in your geek card and all your gadgets at the door! :-p
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by assassinator42 (844848) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:08PM (#21656539)
    Who says they are notoriously recidivist? From what I can find, they have a relatively low recidivism rate.
    US [csmonitor.com]
    Canada [ps-sp.gc.ca]
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by orclevegam (940336) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:10PM (#21656579) Journal
    Not that it negates your point, but in the context of this article I'd like to point out that the victim was not a child molester.
  • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:10PM (#21656599)
    > I don't understand the psychology of rapists, so I can't say which position is correct.

    So do some basic research. The first hit on google gives a government paper on the reoffending rates:

    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/r164.pdf [homeoffice.gov.uk]

    To summarise, less than 5% reoffend. It seems the 'bleeding hearts' win.
  • Re:far fetched (Score:3, Informative)

    by Catbeller (118204) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:10PM (#21656607) Homepage
    "To say that making the public aware of sex offenders online leads to murder is a bit extreme in my opinion."

    Extreme? Like saying the Earth is round? The database led to his murder. Fact. He was innocent of said crime. Fact. Database indicated where to find him to kill him. Fact. Presence on said database leads hysterical parents to targets, fact. Database is frequently WRONG. Fact.
  • by wattrlz (1162603) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:16PM (#21656701)

    ... it's just that it wouldn't be noticed if somebody hadn't screwed up.
    Mr. Google and I would have to disagree...
    • http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/17/national/main1501271.shtml
    • http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002456680_sexoffender30m.html
    • http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/14562826/detail.html
  • Re:In other news (Score:4, Informative)

    by schnikies79 (788746) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:17PM (#21656721)
    No, by definition murder is the unlawful killing of another human. Self-defense is usually lawful and therefor isn't murder.

    From Webster:

    Murder - 1: the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought
  • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:27PM (#21656879)
    This is just lies. The offending rates is less than 5%. http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/r164.pdf [homeoffice.gov.uk]
  • by JohnFluxx (413620) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:30PM (#21656943)
    You are put on the sex offenders list for pretty much anything, including urinating in public or kissing a girl when you are 17.

    >> the rate of recidism in sexual crimes is high
    Not true. It's about 5%.
  • by ThatDamnMurphyGuy (109869) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:33PM (#21656977) Homepage
    There was a similar case a couple of years ago where some Canadian guy got the lists and killed two people in Maine. One WAS a child predator. The other guy just boinked his underage gf when he was 19 or so. These lists need to be banned altogether until they only contain people convicted of child predation/adult rape, and not contain some schmoe who got caught with his wang out in public peeing drunk one night.

    http://www.guidemag.com/magcontent/invokemagcontent.cfm?ID=BF0FA813-7607-4666-B1F081D6A6C701CC [guidemag.com]

    Prior to that, two more child predators were killed from the same list by someone else. My feelings for child molestors aside, people can be on the list for not so bad things, and end up dead. That's a problem.
  • by jbeach (852844) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @12:43PM (#21657213) Homepage Journal
    It's happened already. In Philipsburg NJ, a couple of civic-minded @$$holes broke into a house to beat up a Megan's law listed sex offender - but the guy they beat up had nothing to do with any sex offense ever.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE2D6153AF933A15751C0A963958260 [nytimes.com]

    This was an early case, and the county government screwed up - they took the extra step of delivering flyers to the neighborhood, freaking everyone out and thus whipping up a lynch mob. Nevertheless, the same principle stands. Yes, people have a right to know, but they don't have a right to pre-emptively use violence. Practical as well as moral reasons.

    There's a reason why we give law enforcement to the police. They can make mistakes like anybody else - but who the hell knows what a fired-up, untrained, possibly psychotic random lynch mob can do, to *innocent people*?

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Erioll (229536) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @01:28PM (#21658161)
    US Department of Justice [usdoj.gov]:

    Of the 272,111 persons released from prisons in 15 States in 1994, an estimated 67.5% were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years, 46.9% were reconvicted, and 25.4% resentenced to prison for a new crime.

    This is from '94, so their website stats are fairly old, but the principal stands.

    If somebody else can come up with something more recent (and more directly applicable), great, but I'm kinda short on time when posting. Maybe later I'll have something better.
  • Re:This is great. (Score:3, Informative)

    by compro01 (777531) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @02:03PM (#21658859)

    Do you have an argument for a different age?
    14 has been working fine up here (Canada) for a century and a bit, though "exploitative activity" (prostitution, pornography or where there is a relationship of trust, authority or dependency) is limited to 18.
  • by IL-CSIXTY4 (801087) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @02:51PM (#21659817) Homepage
    I blogged about this case and another like it [csixty4.com] this morning. There's a 71 year-old man in Las Vegas being harassed by neighbors because his apartment is listed as the address of a sex offender who never gave the authorities his new address. This guy is getting harassed and is afraid to leave his house anymore. This vigilante crap needs to stop. Innocent people are getting their lives ruined (not like it was hard to see that coming).
  • by king-manic (409855) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:08PM (#21660145)

    How do these compare against other crimes?

    Violent crimes such as murder and assault outside the family tend to be a "young man's" crime. The recidivism rate for murder tends to be quite low, in part due to the long sentences and in part due to "aging out" of testosterone-laden anger.

    Family violence and for that matter sex with live-in children tends to go down if the person is not living with anyone after release. Duh.

    How are the statistics affected by such factors as stable employment, stability of housing, stable family life, availability of affordable, no-stigma-attached psychological help, etc.? Today's "crucify them all" society increases the risk of recidivism by making pariahs out of those who need stability the most.

    Some of the highest-recidivism rates are things that are not enforced much. I bet 99% of people who have ever gotten a ticket for speeding committed a similar crime within a month of paying their fine and I bet 99% of them do it at least monthly if not daily. They just make sure they don't get caught. What would society look like if all convicted speeders had to put a speed-regulator on their car for the next 10 years and put a "convicted speeder" bumper-sticker on their car as part of their punishment? The roads would be a lot safer I'm sure, but I don't want to live in that world..
    Generally, recidivisms (~30%-50% after 15) is lower then petty crime about the same as violent crime (substantial higher then murder which is ~1.2%). Certain classes have a far greater recidivisms (male non-incest pedophiles ~77% after 15 years which is higher then all but motor vehicle theft, and caught with stolen property). But it's contrasting career criminals with people with "deviant" sexual preferences or poor impulse control. It's not really the same.

    Treatment helps a lot. Dropping the rates by 1/2. But some do not think they have a problem and do not want or seek treatment. Thus I think sentences ought to be indefinite unless they accept treatment. Because this type of crime can destroy a life.

    Also, all rates are suspected to under estimates. For instance Karl Toft admitted to have molested over 200 boys during his lifetime while only 28 came forward to press charges.
  • Re:Duh. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fastolfe (1470) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:40PM (#21660709)
    The Democrat/Republican debate is often brought up in this context because many (most?) convicted criminals are low-income, and this class tends to vote Democrat. It is frequently argued that the voting restrictions persist primarily because Republicans don't want to open up this new pool of mostly Democrat voters.
  • Bleeding hearts (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:53PM (#21660949)
    A lot of the bleeding-heart types fight to stop these databases for the same reason you cite however they differ in that they don't think the punishment for these crimes should be that severe. So you have sex offenders (and, if you look at the data, they have very little chance of actual 'rehabilitation') who they don't want you to know about and they don't want to keep in prison. I'm with you, I'd prefer they stayed in jail but between jail and the registry database I'd rather have one or the other than neither because they are still dangerous.

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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