SJC upholds GPS monitoring of sex offenders

3D_satellite-300x225The state’s highest court has rejected a challenge to the state law that requires GPS monitoring during probation for people convicted of certain sex offenses involving a child.

The court said the law gave judges no discretion on whether to impose the GPS monitoring during probation, and the Legislature had good reasons for enacting the law.

“Permissible legislative objectives concerning criminal sentencing include deterrence, isolation and incapacitation, retribution and moral reinforcement, as well as reformation and rehabilitation. … The provisions of [the law] reasonably can be viewed as serving many, if not all, of these goals,” the court said in an opinion written by Justice Barbara Lenk.

“The Legislature permissibly has determined that the risk of being subjected to GPS monitoring might deter future or repeat offenders. The Legislature similarly was free to conclude that enabling police to track the movements of all convicted sex offenders would promote the security and well-being of the general public,” the ruling said.

The court ruled in the case of Jose Guzman, who was convicted of dissemination of visual material depicting a child in a state of nudity or sexual contact, one of the sex offenses involving children that require GPS-monitored probation. A lower court judge had declined to order the GPS monitoring, but the high court said that was a legal error.

The court rejected Guzman’s claim that the law violated due process rights. It also said there wasn’t enough information brought forward to rule on his claim that the law violated constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

The court noted that it did have concerns about GPS monitoring during probation when it is required “regardless of any individualized determination” of a person’s dangerousness or risk of reoffending.

But the court said that that debate had “already been settled on the floor of the Legislature.”

Author:  By Martin Finucane | GLOBE STAFF


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Greg Oden must stay on GPS monitoring

gps monitoring

Greg Oden (Provided Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Basketball player Greg Oden will have to remain on GPS monitoring, a judge said on Wednesday.

Oden appeared in a Marion County court for his initial hearing after being charged with felony and misdemeanor battery. He’s accused of beating his ex-girlfriend until her nose fractured.

A judge entered a not guilty plea for Oden, which is standard in felony cases. Oden’s attorney asked for his client’s GPS monitoring to be removed, but the judge denied the request. The judge did say Oden is allowed to leave the state, though.

The judge ordered Oden to not contact two people.

According to court documents, Oden, his ex-girlfriend and her friend went out drinking last week. When they got back to his mother’s house in Lawrence, police say the couple started arguing. Court documents show Oden punched his ex-girlfriend in the face three times, causing cuts, swelling, and bleeding.

Police say the victim told officers she fell but that Oden ended up taking responsibility for her injuries. A relative told officers that every time the two would go out the night would end in an argument.

Oden’s next court date is Sept. 18.

Oden played high school basketball in Lawrence. He most recently played for the Miami Heat.

Author:  By Staff Reports


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Prosecutors recommend 2 years probation, GPS monitoring for Hernandez cousin

Tanya Singleton

FALL RIVER, Mass. ( — Bristol County prosecutors are recommending Aaron Hernandez’s cousin be sentenced to two years probation on a criminal contempt charge in the murder of Odin Lloyd.

Prosecutors say Tanya Singleton’s conduct deserves the maximum punishment provided by law, which is up to 2 1/2 years incarceration in the House of Correction. They note, however, that the Commonwealth could not ensure the defendant’s ongoing treatment for breast cancer would be accomplished if she were incarcerated. For that reason, they’re requesting she be placed on probation for two years.

The Commonwealth is also recommending that Singleton be confined to her home and subject to GPS monitoring during that two-year period. She would only be allowed to leave her home for medical treatments and to meet with her attorney.

Singleton is expected to change her plea to guilty at a hearing Tuesday.

Hernandez, 24, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player from Boston who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. The ex-NFL tight end has also pleaded not guilty, in a separate case, to the shooting deaths of two men in Boston in 2012.

Author:  Fox Boston News Writer


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Appeals court strikes lifetime GPS monitoring for sex offender

gps monitoring A Graham man serving 18 years for molesting a child won’t be subject to lifetime monitoring as a sex offender when he’s released from prison, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled this week.

Jonathan Donald Thompson, 24, formerly of Graham, was convicted in April of last year of first-degree sex offense with a child and taking indecent liberties with a child. The offenses occurred in September 2011.

The appellate court found that Superior Court Judge James E. Hardin Jr. of Durham County, the judge in the trial, shouldn’t have sentenced Thompson to lifetime satellite-based monitoring. Only a conviction of aggravated offenses allows a judge to impose lifetime monitoring. Neither first-degree sex offense with a child nor taking indecent liberties with a child are aggravated offenses under state sentencing laws.

Thompson will still have to register as a sex offender.

Otherwise, the appellate court found no error in Thompson’s trial. The unpublished opinion was written by Judge Linda McGee and was filed Tuesday. Judges Sam J. Ervin IV and Sanford L. Steelman Jr. concurred.

THOMPSON WAS appealing his conviction based on claims that Hardin should have excluded testimony by a pediatrician at CrossRoads Sexual Assault Response and Resource Center, and should have intervened in statements by Alamance County Assistant District Attorney Paul Soderberg during closing arguments.

The trial included the testimony of a girl who was 4 years old when she said that Thompson touched her inappropriately during the night of Sept. 7, 2011. Thompson and one of his friends had been staying at the girl’s home and were helping the family do work on their home.

The friend testified he saw Thompson near the girl while she was sleeping. The girl told her mother about the incidents the next morning, after saying it hurt to urinate.

The CrossRoads pediatrician said irritation on the girl’s private parts was consistent with inappropriate touching.

In the opinion, McGee said there wasn’t evidence that excluding the pediatrician’s statement would have produced a different outcome at trial.

The pediatrician testified as an expert witness, saying that in all the cases in which she’s testified as an expert witness, her opinion has been that an examination showed evidence consistent with some form of sexual abuse. She also testified that the state had never prosecuted a sex offense case in which she’d formed an opinion that there wasn’t sexual abuse.

In closing arguments, Soderberg referenced the pediatrician’s statements and said, “If she did not think the crime occurred, the State would not have prosecuted.” Soderberg also referenced a DVD recording of a police interview with Thompson that defense attorney Jeff Connolly referenced in his opening statement. Soderberg said the attorney “didn’t keep his promise on that” when it didn’t show the interview to jurors.

SODERBERG SAID also that Connolly never asked to have DNA analysis performed in the case.

The State Bureau of Investigation declined to analyze a swab taken as evidence for contact DNA. The State Crime Laboratory didn’t have the technology to glean the trace amounts of DNA that might have been on the swab, SBI agent Jody West testified in the trial.

Connolly argued against West’s testimony in the trial, specifically citing prejudice toward Thompson and the lateness of the disclosure of the SBI’s failure to test for DNA, the appeals court found. But the attorney never argued for the trial record that DNA testing be performed, or recommended that prosecutors test the sample.

“Defendant fails to show that any of the State’s closing arguments were so grossly improper that the trial court erred by failing to intervene …,” the opinion states. “This argument is without merit.

Author:  By Times-News


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GPS monitoring bracelets: A relatively new solution to age-old problems


electronic monitoring, gps tracking, house arrestCANYON COUNTY — It’s always better bang for the taxpayer buck to keep someone outside prison walls rather than inside, Idaho Department of Correction Probation and Parole Chief Henry Atencio said, and GPS technology is a way to help that happen.


And whether it’s defendants awaiting trial or Idaho taxpayers who are footing the bill, it’s a fraction of the cost of keeping an inmate behind bars — at the state level, it costs less than a tenth of what incarceration costs. Qualifying Canyon County jail inmates, meanwhile, can return to the community at zero taxpayer expense.

And while other jail programs such as the inmate labor detail are being cut, Canyon County spokesman Joe Decker said this one’s not going anywhere.

It’s a tool, according to Canyon County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Scott Booth, that allows authorities to better mitigate some public safety concerns.

“It’s a way for us to track them and identify problem behavior at an earlier time than if we didn’t have that tool,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Office typically has about 30-35 GPS ankle bracelets out in the field at any given time, Booth said, and most of them are monitoring defendants awaiting trial. It’s up to the judge presiding over each case to decide who’s eligible for release and whether the terms will include a bracelet.

The Idaho Department of Correction’s program works a little differently, Atencio said: At the state level, they’re dealing with offenders already convicted of crimes. And it’s the individual probation and parole officers who, along with their supervisors, decide who gets a monitoring device.

Different products offer different options, Booth said, to provide the monitors and those being monitored with feedback. Authorities will receive email or text message alerts if a defendant wanders into an area they’re not supposed to go, and the defendant may get a vibrational alert on their end.

In theory, those being monitored can’t remove the devices themselves, although Atencio said the rare, determined offender has gotten out of them on occasion. But even then, authorities will receive a tamper alert and perform a follow-up investigation.

So how much does it cost, and who pays for it? The defendants themselves, Booth said. They rent the devices directly from a locally based vendor for about $10 per day — the county doesn’t get in the middle, and doesn’t pay or receive a penny. Incarcerating a defendant awaiting trial in the Canyon County Jail, meanwhile, costs taxpayers about $47 per day, not including medical costs.

There’s no typical ballpark for how long a defendant will wear the device, Booth said. It could be anywhere from a few days to several months, and the bills can add up fast. So what if a defendant can’t pay? Well, he said, it’s like any other condition of pre-trial release: If they can’t meet it, they stay in jail.

It works a little differently on the state side, Atencio said — the probation and parole division has about 20 GPS units out in the field, for which they pay $4.05 per day per offender out of its operating budget.

That’s a significant savings, he said, over the $50 per day it costs to keep an inmate behind bars in an Idaho prison, he said. And it comes with another benefit as well: If they’re out in the community, they have at least the potential to pay taxes instead of costing taxes.

“It’s a better value. If we can keep them in the community safely, that’s key for us,” he said. “They’re able to maintain employment, they’re able to support their family, pay their restitution. It’s much better for everybody involved, if we can do that safely.”

Author:  by John Funk


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Feds: Laws threw sex-offenders together, undercut GPS monitoring

gps monitoring Federal probation officers charged with supervising two Orange County sex offenders who are accused of four killings were overworked, underfunded and hampered by GPS systems that did not communicate, an internal inquiry concluded Wednesday.

The report also blamed state and local laws for exacerbating oversight problems, including sharply restricting where sex offenders can live and pushing many offenders into homelessness.

“The number of locations meeting both requirements was limited, and the offenders found themselves in close proximity to each other and to other homeless sex offenders,” the report said. “Consequently, as in the prison setting, the problem of criminal association and planning was ever present.”

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts – which supervises federal probation – defended the officers overseeing Steven Dean Gordon and Franc Cano, saying they did all they could to “contain the risk presented by these repeat and troubled offenders.”

The report concluded that even a GPS bracelet can’t stop a probationer determined to reoffend.

“Unfortunately, not all offenders are willing or able to refrain from recidivism, despite all the treatment and deterrent efforts of probation officers,” the report said. “If the charges against Cano and Gordon are proven, they illustrate offenders choosing to commit new crimes despite a high likelihood they would be caught and face consequences, including the death penalty.”

The Central District of California – which includes Los Angeles and Orange counties – supervises 240 sex offenders among 5,000 federal probationers, making it one of the largest in the nation.

Gordon and Cano were categorized as high-risk offenders and intensely supervised, with random drug testing, polygraph examinations, psychological treatment and unannounced visits. Their DNA was also checked against a federal database.

Such intense supervision often produces compliance, said the report, if not full rehabilitation. In fact, the recidivism rate of the probation office that monitored Gordon and Cano was described as “relatively low” at 19.6 percent in 2005, with violent new crimes being “atypical.”

But report author Matthew G. Rowland, chief of federal probation, detailed a number of circumstances that complicated the supervision of Gordon and Cano.

State laws sharply restricting where convicted sex offenders can live has increased homelessness, which the report said increases the likelihood that offenders will associate with other convicts and reoffend. Nearly four dozen registered sex offenders live in the same industrial area of Anaheim where the two suspects lived.

Gordon and Cano had a history of cutting off their GPS bracelets and hiding from supervision, among other ways that they chafed at court-ordered monitoring. The report says Gordon also was deceptive on a polygraph test and failed to cooperate with sex-offender treatment.

The terms of their probation prohibited them from being together, but when the two were found parked near each other, and warned, they insisted it was a coincidence. The report noted that the state and federal GPS systems are run by different companies and there was no simple way for officers to see if the two were associating.

“The probation office did not explore cross-referencing the GPS records from Gordon with those of Cano to see if the two men were associating, which they also had a history of doing,” the report notes.

Federal probation officials have previously declined all opportunities to comment on the case. The report was released Wednesday by Judge George H. King, chief of the Central District of California. Neither King nor Rowland would comment on Wednesday.

Kathy Menzies, the mother of victim, Kianna Jackson, said the court’s defense of the probation officers was “malarkey.”

“They should have taken the extra mile,” Menzies said. “If they did their job properly, those two wouldn’t be together and they wouldn’t have been able to do what they did.”

Last week, Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Vista, called for an independent review by the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Justice. However, the office declined to investigate the case, saying it didn’t have jurisdiction since federal probation falls under the courts, Issa spokesman Frederick Hill said.

Hill said Issa will review the court’s audit this week. As chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he can call for public hearings with federal probation officials.


The report underscores one issue under investigation by state officials in response to the case: the impact of California’s housing restrictions on sex offenders.

Probation officials said they faced substantial challenges in supervising Gordon and Cano, because the pair lacked suitable housing, had limited family support and struggled to find employment. Gordon earned “just enough money to subsist.” Cano was described as destitute.

California’s housing restrictions on sex offenders also put them in close association with “criminal peers.” Probation officials said they struggled to identify housing at least 2,000 feet away from parks and schools, but still near amenities such as bathrooms. Federal funding that would have provided money for housing was recently cut back.

“The number of locations meeting both requirements was limited, and the offenders found themselves in close proximity to each other and to other homeless sex offenders,” the report said. “Consequently, as in the prison setting, the problem of criminal association and planning was ever-present.”

Earlier this month, a Register analysis found most of Orange County’s residential neighborhoods are within the restricted zone. Local police said homeless sex offenders often end up living in industrial zones instead.

The report noted that 2,000 registered sex offenders live in Orange County, 45 in the same ZIP code as the Anaheim industrial area where Cano and Gordon slept in a parked Toyota 4Runner.

The state’s Sex Offender Management Board has called for repealing the housing restrictions. Earlier this month, Senate President Darrell Steinberg requested the state Office of the Inspector General review the issue.


The report noted that Cano was wearing a state-issued GPS device and Gordon a federal device. Both agencies have different statutes and regulations. And they use different GPS equipment and monitors, which makes it difficult to cross-reference the devices worn by Cano and Gordon, especially with the tens of thousands of data points generated over several months.

The report recommended the probation agency look into improving policy regarding the GPS devices as well as the devices themselves to make it easier to identify when offenders are associating.

According to the audit, Gordon was resistant to supervision, often complaining to his officer and attorney that federal monitoring was too onerous, according to the report.

He was deemed deceptive during a polygraph examination, the report said, for attempting to minimize his culpability in a prior sex offense. He also petitioned the court to discontinue GPS monitoring, and was subject to a noncompliance hearing for failing to cooperate with sex-offender treatment, the report states.

In general terms, the audit concluded the district office might be suffering from officer burnout. Between fiscal year 2010 and 2013, staffing in the probation office declined 6 percent and funds for treatment and community-based work by officers declined by 22 percent, the report said. In the same time period, the number of people under post-conviction supervision grew by 6 percent to about 5,000.

The caseloads were limited to about 35 for officers chosen to supervise Gordon and Cano, still above the 20-person case limit recommended for high-risk specialists.

To combat stress, auditors recommended periodic rotation of assignments, requiring officers to take leave at regular intervals, arranging for debriefings from outside professionals, and stress-management training.


In December, in response to a criminal case with similarities to the Orange County killings, a New York Congressman began pushing for additional oversight of the federal probation system.

Rep. Dan Maffei introduced a bill that would create an Office of the Inspector General for federal probation, make tampering with electronic monitoring devices a federal crime and establish nationwide standards for monitoring alerts.

The bill stems from a probation office’s failure to supervise David Renz, a New York man who was wearing a federal GPS bracelet while waiting for trial in a child pornography case. Renz cut off his bracelet, murdered a Clay, N.Y., woman and then sexually assaulted her 10-year-old daughter. He pleaded guilty last year to murder and rape charges.

Unlike the case of Gordon and Cano, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts found the probation office’s practices were inconsistent with nationwide policies. They hadn’t conducted daily reviews of the man’s movements, monthly contacts in the community or immediately investigated “key alerts.” The officials ignored at least 40 alerts before the incident showing the man was tampering with his GPS device.

Maffei’s bill, House Resolution 3669, is before the House’s Judiciary Committee.



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GPS monitoring fail: Some felons continue to prey despite bracelets

When high-risk crielectronic monitoring, gps tracking, house arrestminals, including convicted rapists and child predators, are released from prison, many are forced to wear ankle bracelets with GPS monitoring. Parole officers can watch their every move, and if they stray, alarms go off.

But a Rossen Reports investigation uncovered cases across the country of officers asleep at the switch, even ignoring those alarms, allowing the violent offenders to strike again.

Darrin Sanford, a registered sex offender convicted of luring children, was considered so dangerous when he was released from prison in January 2009 that officers made him wear a GPS ankle monitor. The following month, near Vancouver, Washington, Sanford encountered 13-year-old Alycia Nipp in a restricted area near kids, a place he wasn’t allowed to be.

GPS showed he was there, but officers weren’t watching. Sanford followed Alycia into a field, sexually assaulted her and beat her to death.

“They knew,” said Alycia’s aunt, Amber Neff. “They knew the entire time. And they could’ve taken him in and they didn’t. And now she’s gone. And we’ll never see her again.”

Parole officers say it’s just too costly to track criminals in real time. But the makers of GPS bracelets say the technology is available, and it’s dangerous not to use it.

Want an issue or scam investigated? Email Rossen Reports.

To demonstrate how the technology works, NBC News national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen donned an ankle bracelet, enabling officers to monitor him in real time. The moment he walked into a restricted zone, the bracelet vibrated. Then a voice came out of it, saying, “This is the monitoring center. We see that you’re not in the your inclusion zone. Do you have permission to be outside this area?”

When Rossen continued walking, an alarm wailed. And then a text alert was sent to the parole officer monitoring him. “The bracelets even send an alert when a criminal tries to tamper with it,” the officer said.

But if no one responds to the alarm, bad things happen.

“The reality is, the technology is only as good as what we do with the information. The technology provides the information, but it’s going to take human intervention to follow up,” said Derek Cassell, president of Secure Alert, a global tracking and electronic monitoring services company.

Last year in Colorado, parolee Evan Ebel ripped his ankle bracelet off and went on a shooting spree, killing Tom Clements, a father of two, and Nathan Leon, a pizza delivery driver, before he was killed in a shootout with authorities. Officials said they followed procedures.

In upstate New York last year, David Renz was out on parole and tampered with his GPS bracelet. A whopping 46 tamper alerts went to local authorities, but officers ignored them all. Renz went on to murder school librarian Lori Bresnahan and rape a 10-year old girl.

“What’s going on here is the bracelets are going off just as they’re supposed to, and the human beings behind it are not responding, and there’s no excuse for that,” said Rep. Dan Maffei, a New York Democrat.

“I put forth legislation to set a national standard,” Maffei added. “It would provide a watchdog on these probation offices to make sure someone is watching the watchers.”

The legislation has not been passed, and victims’ relatives say tragedies will happen again unless Congress takes action.

“It’s really a shame because a precious life was lost and she was an amazing child, and it could have been avoided,” said Alycia Nipp’s aunt, Amber Neff. “It didn’t have to happen.”

Parole officials across the country are taking action to fix the gaps. The Washington Department of Corrections has re-trained its officers to better handle GPS monitoring. In upstate New York, some were even fired.

Many parole officials say these GPS ankle bracelets are designed to be a deterrent and won’t prevent crimes if a criminal decides to re-offend. It also comes down to resources; having enough personnel hired and trained and budgets large enough to incorporate the latest and most advance real-time monitoring systems. But there are just too many parolees and not enough officers to watch their every move.

In addition to making it a federal crime to tamper with a monitoring bracelet, Maffei’s legislation, the Federal Probation System Reform Act (H.R. 3669), would also allocate more funds to support monitoring programs.

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A Russian GPS Using U.S. Soil Stirs Spy Fears

electronic monitoring

Pedro Ladeira/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images A technician from Russia’s space agency at a monitor station that opened in Brazil.

WASHINGTON — In the view of America’s spy services, the next potential threat from Russia may not come from a nefarious cyberweapon or secrets gleaned from the files of Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor now in Moscow.

Instead, this menace may come in the form of a seemingly innocuous dome-topped antenna perched atop an electronics-packed building surrounded by a security fence somewhere in the United States.

In recent months, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon have been quietly waging a campaign to stop the State Department from allowing Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, to build about half a dozen of these structures, known as monitor stations, on United States soil, several American officials said.

They fear that these structures could help Russia spy on the United States and improve the precision of Russian weaponry, the officials said. These monitor stations, the Russians contend, would significantly improve the accuracy and reliability of Moscow’s version of the Global Positioning System, the American satellite network that steers guided missiles to their targets and thirsty smartphone users to the nearest Starbucks.

“They don’t want to be reliant on the American system and believe that their systems, like GPS, will spawn other industries and applications,” said a former senior official in the State Department’s Office of Space and Advanced Technology. “They feel as though they are losing a technological edge to us in an important market. Look at everything GPS has done on things like your phone and the movement of planes and ships.”

The Russian effort is part of a larger global race by several countries — including China and European Union nations — to perfect their own global positioning systems and challenge the dominance of the American GPS.

For the State Department, permitting Russia to build the stations would help mend the Obama administration’s relationship with the government of President Vladimir V. Putin, now at a nadir because of Moscow’s granting asylum to Mr. Snowden and its backing of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

But the C.I.A. and other American spy agencies, as well as the Pentagon, suspect that the monitor stations would give the Russians a foothold on American territory that would sharpen the accuracy of Moscow’s satellite-steered weapons. The stations, they believe, could also give the Russians an opening to snoop on the United States within its borders.

The squabble is serious enough that administration officials have delayed a final decision until the Russians provide more information and until the American agencies sort out their differences, State Department and White House officials said.

Russia’s efforts have also stirred concerns on Capitol Hill, where members of the intelligence and armed services committees view Moscow’s global positioning network — known as Glonass, for Global Navigation Satellite System — with deep suspicion and are demanding answers from the administration.

“I would like to understand why the United States would be interested in enabling a GPS competitor, like Russian Glonass, when the world’s reliance on GPS is a clear advantage to the United States on multiple levels,” said Representative Mike D. Rogers, Republican of Alabama, the chairman of a House Armed Services subcommittee.

Mr. Rogers last week asked the Pentagon to provide an assessment of the proposal’s impact on national security. The request was made in a letter sent to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr.

The monitor stations have been a high priority of Mr. Putin for several years as a means to improve Glonass not only to benefit the Russian military and civilian sectors but also to compete globally with GPS.

Earlier this year, Russia positioned a station in Brazil, and agreements with Spain, Indonesia and Australia are expected soon, according to Russian news reports. The United States has stations around the world, but none in Russia.

Russian and American negotiators last met on April 25 to weigh “general requirements for possible Glonass monitoring stations in U.S. territory and the scope of planned future discussions,” said a State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, who said no final decision had been made.

Ms. Harf and other administration officials declined to provide additional information. The C.I.A. declined to comment.

The Russian government offered few details about the program. In a statement, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington, Yevgeniy Khorishko, said that the stations were deployed “only to ensure calibration and precision of signals for the Glonass system.” Mr. Khorishko referred all questions to Roscosmos, which did not respond to a request for comment last week.

Although the Cold War is long over, the Russians do not want to rely on the American GPS infrastructure because they remain suspicious of the United States’ military capabilities, security analysts say. That is why they have insisted on pressing ahead with their own system despite the high costs.

Accepting the dominance of GPS, Russians fear, would give the United States some serious strategic advantages militarily. In Russians’ worst fears, analysts said, Americans could potentially manipulate signals and send erroneous information to Russian armed forces.

Monitor stations are essential to maintaining the accuracy of a global positioning system, according to Bradford W. Parkinson, a professor emeritus of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University, who was the original chief architect of GPS. As a satellite’s orbit slowly diverges from its earlier prediction, these small deviations are measured by the reference stations on the ground and sent to a central control station for updating, he said. That prediction is sent to the satellite every 12 hours for subsequent broadcast to users. Having monitor stations all around the earth yields improved accuracy over having them only in one hemisphere.

Washington and Moscow have been discussing for nearly a decade how and when to cooperate on civilian satellite-based navigation signals, particularly to ensure that the systems do not interfere with each other. Indeed, many smartphones and other consumer navigation systems sold in the United States today use data from both countries’ satellites.

In May 2012, Moscow requested that the United States allow the ground-monitoring stations on American soil. American technical and diplomatic officials have met several times to discuss the issue and have asked Russian officials for more information, said Ms. Harf, the State Department spokeswoman.

In the meantime, C.I.A. analysts reviewed the proposal and concluded in a classified report this fall that allowing the Russian monitor stations here would raise counterintelligence and other security issues.

The State Department does not think that is a strong argument, said an administration official. “It doesn’t see them as a threat.”


David M. Herszenhorn and Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting from Moscow. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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Sex offender who cut off GPS-tracking device raises concerns about Victoria’s prison monitoring system

electronic monitoring

Andrew Darling cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet.

Police have raised concerns that the system used to monitor Victorian prisoners is not working, as the search continues for a sex offender who cut off his GPS-tracking bracelet and walked out of a correctional facility.

Andrew Darling, 42, has not been seen since the early hours of Sunday morning when he walked out of the Corella Place correctional facility at Ararat in the state’s west.

Another sex offender, Sean Carmody-Coyle, 28, managed to escape twice – in June 2013 and also in February this year.

The secretary of the Police Association of Victoria Ron Iddles said the current monitoring system being used at Corella Place is not working.

We have issues in relation to black spots or at times it’s dropping the signal, and it needs to be totally improved.

Ron Iddles, Police Association of Victoria


“Over the past few months there’s been some problems with these monitoring systems whereby the signal has actually been dropping out, which is of grave concern,” Mr Iddles told 774 ABC Melbourne.

“We have issues in relation to black spots or at times it’s dropping the signal, and it needs to be totally improved.

“The intention is good, but if the signal doesn’t send a signal at all times or it’s not monitored for some reason then there’s a problem with it.”

Victorian Government frontbencher Matthew Guy said there would be an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the escape.

“Clearly it’s not good enough and clearly there needs to be an investigation into how this occurred,” Mr Guy said.

“I simply say though, that this Government is committed to having more people behind bars who deserve to be behind bars. Our opponents put people back into home detention and people back out on the streets who shouldn’t be there.”

Commissioner happy with system

But Victoria’s Corrections Commissioner Jan Shuard defended the quality of the GPS tracking bracelets for sex offenders, telling Fairfax Radio she had no concerns about the system.

“Electronic monitoring is one of a number of supervision tools or dynamic security tools that we use to gather information and monitor the whereabouts of offenders,” Ms Shuard said.

“It is not a single tool on its own. It rests alongside our staff supervision, our case management of offenders, our normal processes for accounting for people.

“It is one of many things put in place.”

She said the bracelets were locked on, but can be cut off “with some effort”.

“We went through an exhaustive process in terms of our procurement of this device, but there’s nothing available that can be put on that simply cannot come off,” she said.

“They have to be able to come off for medical reasons and other reasons, so if the offenders tamper with those we get an alert that let’s us know they’re doing that and allows us to activate a response.

“This electronic bracelet, on early Sunday morning, did exactly what we would expect it to do.”

Ms Shuard said the bracelets were the highest level of restriction able to be placed on offenders like Darling.

“Given they are community members, it is a civil scheme, they’ve completed their sentence and they are subject to these restrictions for periods of up to 15 years.”

Corella Place is a residential facility next door to the Ararat prison, the Hopkins Correctional Centre.

It is about two kilometres from the town centre.

Residents are housed in one-, two- and three-bedroom houses and have a strict curfew, but are taken on escorted trips to nearby towns and to Melbourne.

‘Community safety at risk’: Police Association

Mr Iddles was not sure how Darling cut off the bracelet and said he believed public safety was at stake.

“Obviously there will be some investigation by Corrections and maybe Victoria Police … but we will need to find that (out) so it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

“I think the community would expect that if you’re out and about with a monitoring system you’d want it to work 100 per cent of the time.

“At times the signal doesn’t go to the monitoring centre, and therefore the person isn’t monitored for a short time.

“The alarms are raised when the signal drops out, but the reality is when they go and check the prisoner’s there.

“So on this occasion when it’s cut off the alarm is raised and they go and have a look but he’s actually gone, and now there has to be a reasonable amount of resources to find him.”

Mr Iddles said Darling was not serving jail time, but is required wear a monitor because he is a serious sex offender.

“My understanding with this particular person is he’s finished his sentence and he’s living in a facility near the jail, and not required to be undergoing a sentence,” he said.

Search continues for Darling

Police are still searching for Darling, who they said had bush survival skills and was known to frequent pubs and bars.

They have told people in the Ararat area to remain vigilant around sheds and outhouses on their properties and to report anything suspicious to police.

The also said anyone who notices stolen food or clothing should contact them.

He is 176cm tall and of medium build, with both ears pierced and tattoos on his back, arms and right lower leg.

Police have warned the public not to approach him, but to call triple-0 immediately if they see him.

Author:  Jan Shuard


Your one stop for gps tracking needs, contact an experienced GPS Monitoring Specialist to assist you with any GPS situation.

WA legislators fail to pass GPS monitoring reforms

gps monitoring If a criminal cuts off a GPS monitoring bracelet, you might think it’s the equivalent of a jail break.

But Washington law doesn’t see it that way.

Across the state there is a patchwork of rules and regulations covering electronic home monitoring and GPS tracking of criminals. Some county courts may have strict rules governing violations while others may not.

“The big problem we’re seeing with electronic home monitoring is with a lack of standards across the board,” said state Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley).

Last week, a bill sponsored by Sheafailed to make it to a vote in the state Senate. It would have set minimum statewide requirements for public and private entities that provide electronic monitoring of offenders, primarily for city and county courts.

“We can no longer allow people that are sentenced on electronic home monitoring to skirt the system, which is what is happening,” said Shea.

Last month, a KING 5 investigation profiled a 25-year-old Pierce County man who snapped off the GPS ankle bracelet that was supposed to ensure his home detention. The breach went unnoticed for nearly two weeks by the Fife Municipal Court, which runs the program that was supposed to be monitoring the misdemeanor offender.

“I’m not a tagged animal,” the man told KING 5.

Judge Kevin Ringus said the court is investigating the case.

KING 5 also revealed that the sex offender who stole the Victoria Clipper ferry from Seattle’s waterfront last December had cut off his GPS tracking bracelet four times. Records show Samuel McDonough routinely cut it off, or let the battery die, on Fridays. He may have known that the Washington Department of Corrections only monitors its tracking software on business days – not weekends and holidays.

“We expect these criminals to be monitored 24/7. That’s what the expectation of the public is,” said Shea.

Shea said he proposed electronic home monitoring legislation last year after a report by the Freedom Foundation of Washingtondocumented the lack of controls in many communities.

At a hearing in Olympia earlier this year, witnesses testified about concerns over the growing number of for-profit, private companies that are providing monitoring services for the courts, even though those companies may not be fully vetted.

“It doesn’t go far enough. It doesn’t set enough standards,” Steve Hopkins of Stay Home Monitoring in Aberdeen said of Shea’s bill.

As the owner of Washington’s oldest electronic monitoring company, Hopkins said he’s seen unethical and fly-by-night companies swarm into the industry. He thinks Shea’s bill should have more teeth to ferret out the bad players.

“I feel the bill was actually rushed. I don’t feel it’s ready for prime time,” Hopkins told a House committee.

A spokesman said Shea plans to reintroduce his GPS legislation next year.


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Your one stop for gps tracking needs, contact an experienced GPS Monitoring Specialist to assist you with any GPS situtation.