Richard James Hunt

Richard James Hunt

An Ovett sex offender who was convicted in Alaska has been captured in Arizona after failing to register in Jones County, and now he’s facing time in federal prison.

Richard James Hunt, 37, was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals in Coshise County last week, Investigator Wesley Waites of the Jones County Sheriff’s Department reported.

“I got information that he had left Mississippi illegally and was somewhere on the West Coast,” Waites said.

Hunt was supposed to be living at a residence on Highway 15 South in Ovett, according to the last time he registered, which all sex offenders are required to do every 90 days. Jones County offenders who are moving or leaving the state have to let Waites know in order to be in compliance.

Waites confirmed that Hunt had moved from the residence he was registered at, so he issued a warrant for his arrest, put his name and information on the National Crime Information Center database and contacted the U.S. Marshals Service in Jackson.

Hunt was pulled over for a traffic offense in Cochise County on May 26, and deputies there saw he was wanted for failing to register. But the work was just beginning for Waites. He had to prove that Hunt had been at a new residence for at least seven consecutive days, among other things, in order to make it a federal case.

“I found where he’d been employed and where he’d been living and sent it to the Marshals, and they confirmed he’d been there for a while,” Waites said.

With that information, they worked to get a federal warrant. Waites got the news late Thursday afternoon.

“It took a lot of work — phone calls, texts, emails — but we’re getting everything we can to prosecute him federally,” he said.

It’s worth it, Waites said, because a conviction in federal court means up to 10 years in prison, day for day, with no chance for early release.

“Hopefully, I’ll be retired by the time he gets out, Waites said with a chuckle.

The arrest of Hunt means there are no non-compliant sex offenders on the Jones County registry, which is “very rare,” Waites said.

He credits the U.S. Marshals for helping him achieve that.

“We have a great working relationship,” Waites said. “I talk, text or email with them alm ost every day. They’ve caught three absconders out of state for me now. I can’t say enough about the outstanding job they do.”

Hunt was convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor in Sitka, Alaska in 2009, and he transferred to Jones County a few years later because he has family here, Waites said.

“If you’re going to be (a sex offender) here, you’re going to be compliant or you’re going to jail,” Waites said. “It’s that simple.”

The day before securing the federal warrant on Hunt, a new sex offender came to check in with Waites. He gave the newcomer the same advice he gives them all: “If you run, you’ll regret you ever met me. We will find you.”

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(1) comment

Rudy101

I refuse to register under sex offender registry laws for the following reasons.

1. It was passed and applied ex-post facto, in violation of the United States Constitution.

2. The registry claims to be a civil law, but has no civil outcomes. A civil outcome is defined as an objective calculation of less recidivism resulting from the regulation. There is no evidence the registry decreases recidivism

3. The government forces registration and publicizes the information and encourages the public to isolate because those on a registry are considered or expressly implied to be dangerous. However, no court has ever ruled that dangerousness was a requirement to be listed.

4. The loss of safety and/or security. An offender who cannot find housing, employment, or healthy social relationships is never safe for any community. These are well documented outcomes to a registry given to the public in unlimited ways.

5. No DUE PROCESS. The State has determined through a catch-all standard of review that the registry law is legal if it is rational (rational basis test). This “flat earth” view assumes a law is rational as long as you don’t know any better. The law seems rational to the layman, but totally irrational to those who have relevant education and experience.

6. DUE PROCESS. Due process has been denied in any registry law because supposedly no registry law impacts “protected Constitutional rights”. It is ridiculous on its face to place comprehensive police state around an individual, for life under a presumption they always are dangerous or potentially dangerous and not allow ANY challenges to any law. To say I have no right to live peaceably, and be a contributing and active member of my community as inherently Constitutional, eviscerate the whole idea of why we have individual rights.

7. No personalized determination of dangerousness. The courts have allowed the government any classification system they desire. The Adam Walsh Act decided that 2/3 of the registry will forever be classified in the highest category. The government changes often who is what category based solely on what a legislature decides that session.

8. Does a person have to follow, “public safety” laws that only take their safety and security?

The answer is an emphatic, NO. and the more prison you add for not following your illegal laws LESSENS, the credibility of your laws.

Sorry about your registry. I will not follow again. It is dangerous and that is an objective fact, backed by actual evidence.

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