Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Alaska repeat rapist sentenced to a dozen years in prison

An Alaska repeat offender with more than 20 misdemeanor convictions, 7 assault convictions, and a previous sex offense was sentenced to a dozen years in prison Wednesday, August 27 for breaking into a woman’s home. His actual sentence was 20 years, but 8 of those years were suspended.

Judge Philip Pallenberg said to Newton Lindoff, “If there's any place where a person ought to feel safe it's their own bed in the middle of the night…With a record like this, an assaultive, a sexually assaultive conduct, at least under this sentence we know that won't happen for the next 12 years."

Lindoff's crime was an "eerie parallel" to one he committed nine years ago when he got drunk and broke into another woman's home in the middle of the night. While she was sleeping, Lindoff grabbed her crotch, Pallenberg said. He added that Lindoff's sentence of six months in prison for that crime had been "pretty light" and the Alaska Legislature had since stiffened penalties for sex crimes.

Judge Pallenburg called the 46 year old Lindoff an alcoholic who hurts people when he drinks, and ordered him to undergo sex offender treatment if Alaska reinstituted such programs.

DOC spokesman Richard Schmitz said the department abandoned sex offender treatment programs for prisoners under former Gov. Frank Murkowski's administration because it viewed those programs as ineffective.

Instead, he said the department has focused on a "containment model," which emphasizes treatment and stringent supervision, including lie-detector tests, after sex offenders are released from prison.

Schmitz said it is the department's goal to reintroduce sex offender treatment programs in prisons that would complement the current "containment" strategy.

Lindoff filed a motion requesting a reconsideration of his guilty verdict due to improper represention by counsel, and that he receive an “impartial jury trial.” Pallenberg denied that motion, and when Lindoff refused to give his fingerprints to the court, Pallenburg threatened to add more time for contempt of court as well as use force to get Lindoff’s prints, saying he could “choose the easy way or the hard way.”

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