TEXAS JUDGE ORDERS NOTICES WARNING OF SEX OFFENDERS
On May 18, a judge ordered 21 registered sex criminals to post signs on their homes and automobiles warning the public of their crimes, and the results were almost immediate. One of the offenders attempted suicide, two were evicted from their homes, several had their property vandalized and one offender's father had his life threatened, according to court testimony. Although Judge J. Manuel Banales, the state district judge who required the warnings, later reduced the number of offenders who must post the signs to 14, he refused an appeal on Thursday to amend his order saying They have only themselves to blame. Gerald Rogen, president of the Corpus Christi Criminal Defense Lawyers Organization, who represents two of the offenders said, It's totally shocking what has happened here. It's frightening, as if we're going back to the times of scarlet letter, public hangings and witch hunts. The signs say DANGER: Registered Sex Offender Lives Here and gives phone numbers for reporting suspicious behavior. Bumper stickers have similar wording. A portable version modeled after the diamond-shaped Baby On Board stencils, complete with an adhesive suction cup, were provided to the offenders. The judge said Texas laws requiring that sex criminals' pictures and addresses be posted on the Internet and in local newspapers did not go far enough in protecting children from sexual predators. Wherever they go, whatever time of day or night, we want people to be aware of where these offenders are.
(Corpus Christi, Texas)