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November 1, 2011



Sex-crime investigation and child maltreatment policy taken to task by preeminent Little Rock attorney.

“You mean I can vote?!?!”

The question forged to Robert Kim Combs, Executive Director of Arkansas Time After Time (ATAT), came as many do: After the weekly broadcast of "It Could Be You," the talk-radio show he hosts.

The caller, an ex-offender still classified by legal definition as a felon, was amazed and happy to learn from Combs' interview guest -- the internationally esteemed civil rights and criminal defense attorney Jeff Rosenzweig -- that here in Arkansas, after release from prison and completion of parole or probation, convicted felons may reclaim the right to vote with a simple trip to the county clerk's office.

A graduate of Princeton University who earned his Juris Doctorate at Southern Methodist University, Rosenzweig started accruing professional gravitas in Little Rock in 1977 and has, since 1989, served as a legislative liaison for the Arkansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (AACDL).

Comprised of many if not most of the defense attorneys in the state, the AACDL, in affiliation with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), works to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crimes or other misconduct.

Under the AACDL banner, Rosenzweig, working together with other preeminent attorneys like Patrick Benca of West Memphis Three acclaim, Didi Sallings, Executive Director of the Arkansas Public Defender Commission, various members of Sallings staff and others with AACDL, monitors legislative issues and makes recommendations to elected officials regarding the constitutionality or potential legal ramifications of proposed or enacted laws.

“There are problems particularly dealing with the investigation of these alleged offenses in several ways,” Rosenzweig said about sex crime issues in Arkansas. “One is that a number of investigators,
especially in some of the smaller areas, are ill-trained. A second is that a number of these investigations are outsourced to groups like the so-called child advocacy centers which unfortunately are infested with ideologues who are unable to concede that a number of these cases are ill-founded; that they arise from messy divorces or other family antagonisms, or in the case of very young children from literal misunderstandings. >>>>>>>>

A grassroots legislative advocacy group dedicated to making communities safer and reducing recidivism with effective common-sense laws, the overarching mission of this all-volunteer organization is to “develop a cooperative sense of community rather than take an adversarial approach among people on the sex-offender registry, victim's advocacy groups and the authorities in the state.”

ATAT's weekly talk-radio show, “It Could Be You,” airs Wednesdays, 12noon to 1pm, on Little Rock's “Voice of the People” KABF, 88.3 FM.

ATAT meets the third Sunday of each month, 2pm to 4pm, in the West Room on the 1st floor of the Main branch of the Central Arkansas Library, 100 Rock St., in downtown Little Rock. Meetings are open to the general public.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead

For more information visit  www.ArkansasTimeAfterTime.org
 or contact Robert Kim Combs, executive director, 501-563-2197.

Making Things Better

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“Consequently,” Rosenzweig continued, “they will tend to find 'crimes' that don't exist and there are several things that are going to need to happen to fix the problem. One is that you're going to have to have somewhat more leadership in DHS and the State Police. You're going to have to require more training than what is being done,” he elaborated. “The idea of outsourcing investigations to private entities is a horrible idea. If there is anything that needs to be done by a governmental agency, it needs to be the investigation of alleged crimes.”

Of particularly problematic concern to Rosenzweig, the Arkansas Child Maltreatment Registry is a 'private' Department of Human Services (DHS) black-list which, once a person's name is on it, can prevent him or her from being employed in occupations which involve routine interactions with children.

While this seems like a good idea, Rosenzweig explained that even when there is no criminal accusation or when the accused is found not guilty or the allegations of sex-crime or child abuse are dropped, DHS can an often does pursue Child Maltreatment Registry proceedings.

Unlike criminal proceedings which play out in a court of law and may, upon conviction, compel registration as a sex offender, “These (DHS) hearings used to be a complete joke,” said Rosenzweig. “But they are better now in some respects,” he added. “And their rulings can be appealed to the circuit court.”

Rosenzweig also discussed how registered sex offenders may, after a period of time stipulated by law, petition to be removed from the sex offender registry, but noted that once a person is on the DHS maltreatment list, it is nearly impossible to get his or her name removed. Thus, Rosenzweig stressed, whenever anyone is accused or suspected of being a perpetrator – no matter if it is by an officer of the law or by a DHS employee and even when they are innocent – they should immediately contact an attorney who is conversant with these issues.

Rosenzweig's full radio interview is online: ArkansasTimeAfterTime.org

NEWS RELEASE authored and distributed copyright-free by Christine Beems, editor/publisher gozarks.com, 223 Primrose Lane, Shirley, AR 72153; 501-745-4153 on behalf of Arkansas Time After Time with which the author is affiliated as a volunteer communications director. ~

~ celebrating professionalism in service ~



That you may be filled with strength and power, rooted and grounded in love that surpasses all knowledge: Be kind to one another; live with compassion, producing every kind of goodness; stand firm and hold your ground in truth, righteousness and peace; be courageous; embrace faith which is perfect trust in justice. ~Ephesians 3-6 (condensed)