am sick and damn tired of politicians who won't take a stand on
Senator Cisco A. McSorley
(pictured at right), public servant of
the people of New Mexico's 16th District since 1997 and preceding
that, from 1984 through 1996, as a Congressman in the New Mexico
State House of Representatives, garnered a standing ovation from
the podium of the 4th annual Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc. (RSOL)
National Conference, held at the
Ramada Inn Conference Center in
McSorley, a Democratic who serves on the New Mexico Senate
Judiciary Committee, has a long-standing reputation for taking on
tough issues with a bent to finding solutions. Back in May, for
example, legislation he sponsored took a bite out of public
corruption, mandating the repayment of salaries and forfeiture of
state pension benefits by elected officials found guilty of
corruption while at the same time resolving a contentious funding
issue with the state's medical marijuana program.
As a keynote speaker on the closing day of the RSOL "Catch the
Dream of Reform" conference, hosted this year by
RSOL New Mexico, McSorley -- who has also gone to bat for
collective bargaining and domestic partnerships, is a vocal
advocate of women's rights, and opposes corporate personhood --
dug in his heels on sex offender regulations which, he asserted,
are in desperate need of overhaul.
McSorley's proactive comments summarized a chorus of high-profile
experts who filled all three Conference Center meeting rooms with two-dozen presentations over
the course of the three-day event, all calling for sanity and
science to allay public paranoia on the controversial and
emotionally charged sex-offender subject.
Repeated assertions by high-caliber professionals made a strong
case that current sex offender registration laws are at best an
expensive boondoggle which wastes millions of tax dollars on
monitoring systems that fail to protect anyone from harm.
At worst, these restrictions inflict
unjustifiable hardship and cause real injury to the registrants,
their spouses and their children who are being held hostage and tortured
by restrictions-run-amok which stigmatize, dehumanize, ostracize,
and extract unjustifiable and ever-increasing pounds of flesh.
Among those endorsing and advocating for well-reasoned reform:
Dr. George Geysen, a clinical and forensic psychologist
recognized by the Connecticut legal system as an expert in the
assessment and treatment of persons charged with or convicted of
Dr. Tamara Rice Lave, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the
University of Miami School of Law and author of "Constructing and
Controlling the Sexually Violent Predator: An American Obsession;"
Dr. Erin Comartin, Ph.D., faculty member of Oakland
University in Rochester, Michigan, with a specialty in the impacts
that public registration has on family members of sex offenders;
Dr. Eric A. Imhof, Psy.D., President/Clinical Director of
Specialized Treatment and Assessment Resources, P. A. in Weston,
Florida which specializes in the general clinical and forensic
evaluation of both adolescent and adult sex-offenders and is
considered an expert on Internet Child Pornography Offenders;
Amy Borror, Legislative and Media Liaison for the Office
of the Ohio Public Defender who is an expert on the unintended
ramifications of the Adam Walsh Act, and;
Norm Pattis, New England based trial lawyer with a
national reputation for civil rights advocacy and passion to level
the playing field for people who have been "burned by a legal
system that deprives too many folks of effective representation of
(pictured at left)
made a September 12 appearance on the Dr. Phil TV-show as defense
council for Anna Gristina, aka: the “New York Soccer Mom Madam,”
who is accused of running a multimillion dollar prostitution
empire out of an Upper East Side apartment.
"Charge a person with a crime. Arrest them. Repeat the allegations
in open court. Then let the press do the rest. The presumption of
innocence rarely protects a person from the damning effects of
press reports. The prosecutor lays out his case in open court; the
accusing finger is pointed. The fatal whispering then begins."
Pattis asserted in his August 16 entry on
Back in April, Pattis took on the eviction of Occupiers from The
Green, a public space in beautiful New Haven Connecticut. Though
he won a stay of eviction (to allow time for the constitutional
merits of the case to be decided), the Occupy encampment was
obliterated by a mayor who, it could be said, defied due process
in service of a personal political agenda. Pattis, in his blog,
accused the mayor of being a "press-fleshing ward-heeler with the
moral compass of a three-legged donkey."
Like a microcosmic diorama of the detrimental consequences spawned
by the regulations these experts seek to redress, the very
convening of the conference itself generated fear-mongering
Without belaboring details and purposefully declining to
mention by name a small but vocal group of detractors, suffice it
to say that spurious, derogatory and defaming accusations were
lobbed at public officials and conference venue management. This
cascaded into a haze of mis-information being bandied about the
airwaves (see newsclips, below)
provoking some degree of confounded consternation among all
involved. (cont. above, right)
2012 was Gozarks second year to attend an annual
RSOL National Conference. In 2011, I attended as a member of the
Arkansas Time After Time delegation, and you can read that story
here or on the image, below.
This year, though my term of volunteer service
ATAT ended in July, I went to the 2012 conference as a
topic (as usual) was Media & Marketing Management. My presentation
was based on my recently released 'how to' manual,
MEET THE PRESS: Essentials of Effective
Communication with Media,
pictured at right.
It was (dare I say) an excellent and highly
interactive program which participants said they found useful,
enlightening and worthwhile.
However, mine was a small star in a galaxy of
super-novas. Aside from the impeccably credentialed presenters
(listed at left), the conference convened with a Native American
The Festive Banquet on Saturday night featured an
old-timers 'jug band', magic show and fundraiser auction, all of
which infused the whole gathering with a warm-natured
And yes, that's me, second from the right (or
third from the left <smile>) in the pic below. FYI: We all look
like we are having a very good time because we were...!!! It
always feels good to accomplish something worthwhile.
Pictured above, left to right: Robert Kim Combs,
Arkansas Time After Time founder and emeritus executive director
and chair of the 2012 RSOL National Conference Planning Committee;
Vicki Henry, Women Against the Registry (WAR) co-founder and
executive director; Christine Louise Beems, gozarks.com Media &
Marketing Management; Brenda Jones, Reform Sex Offender Laws,
Inc., executive director.
GOZARKS GOES TO NEW MEXICO
(continued from below, left)
At one point, less
than two weeks out from the conference date, serious concerns
about the potential for vigilantism and public protest during the
conference raised the possibility of the
whole event being shut down.
Cool heads, mutual respect and sanity did ultimately prevail,
however, and the multi-day program came together without a hitch.
In total, and in addition to a long list of
media representatives, featured speakers and a dozen-or-so folks
who showed-up on the last day and were admitted free of charge,
153 people representing advocacy groups from 23 states
(see list below) registered for and participated in conference proceedings.
The conference was hailed by both organizers and attendees as an outstanding success.
Plans are already in the works for RSOL's 5th annual National
Conference, slated for late summer or early autumn of 2013 in Los
Angeles with the
California RSOL affiliate serving as host. Visit
www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org for more info.
RSOL Conference Attendee Demographics
AL-1, AR-5, CA-7, CO-7, FL-7, GA-1, IL-1, KY- 2,
KS-2, MA-2, MD-5, MI-1, MO-5, NC-2, NJ-1, NM-76, NY-4, OH-5, OK-4,
OR-1, SD-1, TX-12, UT-1
23 states represented = 46% of
total number of U.S. states
this article? You may also find this 2006 (yet still timely)
feature report on U.S. Supreme Court
Justice Breyer worthwhile reading.