Thursday, December 26, 2013

No sex offenders at the junk yard?

At the Austin Statesman, Eric Dexheimer the other day reported on a case (Dec. 23) regarding whether the state should deny licensure to sex offenders as a general rule as opposed to when their offense relates to the nature of their work.
In a rare move, an Austin judge has recommended a man with a history as a sex offender keep his state-regulated job.

Wendell Adkins was convicted of sexual assault of a child in February. State regulators tried to take away his license to work as a used auto part recycler, court documents show, but Administrative Law Judge John Beeler advised them not to.
The state Department of Licensing and Regulation sought to revoke Adkins' license, but Beeler said they shouldn't:
State laws require that regulators demonstrate why a person’s crime will imperil public safety. According to court documents, the licensing agency claimed Adkins “might be a continuing threat to society and allowing him to maintain his license would create an environment that would allow him to repeat his crime.”
Yet when pressed for specifics, regulators conceded Adkins’ crime occurred only once and in his home. His sentence did not prevent him from having contact with other children.

Administrative law judges, who hear occupational licensing disputes, can only recommend a course of action. In his Dec. 9 decision, Beeler sided with Adkins, recommending he be allowed to keep his license.

“The profession of used auto parts recycling involves answering the telephone, greeting customers and determining what the customer needs at a facility commonly referred to as a ‘junk yard,’” he wrote. “Any connection between (Adkins’) conviction and his occupation is slight at best.”

Although Adkins’ “crime was of a serious nature,” the judge continued, the licensing agency must show how his job “might offer an opportunity to engage in further criminal activity of the same type as that in which the person previously had been involved. (Yet) the ALJ (administrative law judge) can think of almost no occupation where a person would have less unsupervised access to minor females than at a used auto parts facility.”

The licensing and regulation department can decide whether to accept Beeler’s recommendations or appeal them to district court. Its next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 28.
Unless we're just going to say sex offenders should never be allowed to work at all - and that seems anathema to public safety - this knee-jerk reaction by the DLR should be rescinded. Would you want this fellow working at a day care? No. But at a junk yard? If he can't work there, where in heaven's name would he be allowed to work? Indeed, I'm not sure why a junk-yard employee whose job consists of "answering the telephone, greeting customers and determining what the customer needs" should require a license in the first place.

6 comments:

quash said...

Big ups for the last sentence. This is state flexing for flex sake and irrelevant to whether he re-offends.

Jeff Gamso said...

It should require a license so that the State can get paid for issuing the license - and because licensing equates with control, and the State wants to control everything that it doesn't specifically want to not control.

Texas libertarianism - all things are forbidden unless they are specifically allowed. (One lesson learned from living in Lubbock for 12 years.)

doran said...

A "license" implies a license fee, which is nothing more nor less than a tax. It is required of this auto parts recycler because the Republican controlled Texas Legislature is very adept at hiding new, as well as increased, taxes behind the fa├žade of fees. By imposing specific fees all over the Texas economy, which do not affect everybody every day, while not increasing generally applicable taxes which do affect almost everybody every day, Republicans can brag to Texas voters that they have not increased taxes. Unfortunately, the number of Texas voters who fall for that crap is legion.

Lee said...

Prosecutors are paid by the people to make the peoples lives miserable.

Anonymous said...

Yep, all good comments but for Lee's. C'mon man, not all Prosecutors are bad evil f%*ks.
And that's straight from someone that's been F7Cked over by one of 'em.

The person in the DLR that is pushing this nonsense, harassment has connections to people in the business and he's just thinning out the competition one employee at a time. Once the Junk yard has a mark by its name they'll mess with them on a month;y basis until they move on.

Gary Walp said...

Being a convicted SO, I can readily attest to unjustified State action in the context of employment. There is no argument that some SO's should be prohibited from specific employment. However, the stigma associated with being convicted of a sex crime shouldn't trump reason.

I have a single aggravated rape conviction from 1980; my victim was an adult female 13-years older than me. Thirty-two years later a parole officer attempted to prohibit me from participating in a VA employment program for veterans with felony convictions and from starting my own nonprofit. Fortunately, her supervisor overruled her and deemed my pursuits priorities.