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July 23, 2005

Sex offender panic continues in Alabama

I thought that the passage of a bill by the Alabama House providing for mandatory castration of certain sex offenders (detailed here) was the most dramatic example of our society's modern social panic over sex offenders.  But this article from the Mobile Register suggests that the mix of politics and sex offenses can lead to a lot of remarkable sentencing rhetoric in Alabama.

As the article reports, Former Governor Don Siegelman, who is expected to run for Governor again, "called for the Alabama Legislature to toughen a sexual offender bill Friday afternoon and include mandatory castration and the death penalty for persons convicted of violent sex crimes against children under 12."  Here are some eye-opening quotes from the article:

"If it was up to me, I'd give them the death penalty on the first offense," Siegelman said Friday. "The attorney general has the Legislature in this special session. This is the perfect vehicle to do this thing right.  They need to quit being so namby-pamby and squeamish about castration and put that back in the bill."...

During his Friday news conference, however, Siegelman forcefully snapped a 2-foot long pair of red garden shears for effect and said, "It will certainly give them something to think about."

Siegelman suggested the death penalty as an option for a second-time offense. "We don't owe the Joe Duncans of the world anything except a quick trip to the death penalty," Siegelman said, adding that he would give repeat offenders the option of death by lethal injection or "a big jolt from the big Yellow Mama."

In recent posts here and here, Gideon at a Public Defender is expressing understandable concerns about the rash of "sensationalist legislation" in this area.  The rhetoric of Siegelman certainly suggests that cooler heads are unlikely to prevail anytime soon.  Over at Beltway Blogroll, this post connects this story to the Justice Department's launch of its national sex offender registry (previously discussed in this post) which apparently has received "traffic so heavy that the registry was unavailable" this morning.

For a broader set of perspectives on sex offender sentencing and related issues, check out the links in this post.

July 23, 2005 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I adopted a 5yr old girl who is now 22 and has 2 kids of her own. I believe she has sexually abused her oldest boy who is now 2. I have just gotten him for a vacation and called the Michigan protective Services for children dept. But she, lives in Ala. Still. we are pressing charges. These kids need to be removed permanently now. I am for sterilizing her. She also was sexually abused and so most social workers knew of the high risk she was.

Posted by: G'ma deby | Jul 5, 2006 1:22:59 PM

Put yourself in this situation. You want to divorce your wife, you have a few young children, but you and your wife can't work things out so you tell her you're leaving. You don't kick her out of the house, so you move out and let her and the kids stay until you settle plans. A few weeks pass, and your wife accuses you of raping your 8 year old daughter. Because you are in the US military, they "protect" the "victims" and issue a no contact order. It gets dragged through the legal system for nearly two years. Nearly two years of no contact with your child gives your wife plenty of time to brainwash the child. You end up getting convicted as a child sex offender, and you never did anything to hurt your child, she just has a psychotic mother. Think its far fetched? It just happened to my brother. Some people need to rethink the penalties, because not everyone is guilty.

Posted by: Teresa Dillon | Feb 3, 2007 1:30:19 PM

I did a research paper for my English Comp II class on Rape: Protecting the Victims and the Alleged Assailants. After my research through many articles and books, not to mention laws in effect. I have to say this in summarization of the entirety of the sex offender HYPE. There are many rape victims, I being one of them; however, not every rape is true. After a research was conducted, it was found that 41% of the alleged rape cases reported turned out to be false. There are many reasons for this: revenge, an alibi, attention; to name a few. I'm not saying every child or adult is being raped or not. What I am saying is this, some of our laws are overkill and some of our laws do not take in account that every male or female is a rapist. Not every sex offender is also a pedophile. We as a society need to stop. As in the case of a man I know personally; he was convicted of rape without any evidence to support the claim and he was number 8 in a two year time span by one woman who had cried rape. What I'm saying is; there is such a law called, Rape Shield Law and this prevents a woman's promiscuity from being used in a court of law, and in some cases this violates the 6th Amendment. A fair trial; if we as a society are already biased and sympathetic to an individual who has cried rape against their alleged attacker, then all information should be looked at and further more; especially if the woman has accused and had convicted at least 8 men of rape in a two year time span, then we need to reevaluate our stance on what is tolerable and what is not. NOT every MAN is a rapist or sex offender. When the man was released he did not have to register within the state of which the supposed "crime" was committed yet now that he resides elsewhere, he has to. He has two children and a wife; he is a hard working individual and pays his taxes, he does everything within his power to protect his children and to have someone look at him because it says sex offender across his license, he is automatically assumed as a child molester. THIS IS NOT THE CASE! I PRAY THAT ONE DAY COMMON SENSE WILL TAKE BACK OVER PEOPLE'S MINDS AND PEOPLE WILL BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THAT NOT ALL SEX OFFENDERS SHOULD BE CLASSIFIED AS AN OUTCAST TO SOCIETY.

Posted by: Delaina Miracle | May 9, 2008 11:16:17 PM

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Posted by: | Oct 14, 2008 9:16:43 PM

I know someone that fell in love with a girl that was 15yrs 10mos old, he was 32 and it happened about 18 years ago. She was the oldest of 5 children and more of a mother to them than their real mother, thereby she had to grow up quickly. The guy and the girl were put into a unique situation that required them to be together, often alone. They fell in love long before they consumated the relationship, but it continued to escalate to where it was consumated and went on for months. The girls mother found out and had the guy arested for Rape II, moved her out of town, and tried to brainwash her and tell her the guy didn't love her and he just wanted sex. The guy hired a private investigator and the investigator mistakedly asked her roomate in college if she wanted to see him. The roomate thought she was helping her by posing as her and said "no, I don't ever want to see him again." The guy sadly honored what he thought were her wishes and moved on with his life, missing her every day. She came back to him after 14 years and said she wanted to see him, they did and were still in love. Only then they discovered that they had sorely been mis-informed by other people. Now there was only one problem, she was married, had two small children and pregnant with a third. After a 2 year non physical and mostly phone relationship, although she wanted to leave her husband and marry him, he said they did not need to break up the home and needed to go their seperate ways, maybe to find themselves in an acceptable position someday in the future to get back together. In the meantime the guy's home state decides to have a big "crackdown" on sex offenders that has no time limits or considerations of circumstances for registration. He is a successful businessman so he finds if he moves to a neighboring state that only requires registration for offences more recent than 10 years he does not need to register. His state stalks him and when he periodically visits his business, they one day slip up on him with car loads of officers and arrest him in front of his employees like a fugitive criminal. No warning, no letter, no phone call. All because he and a girl that lacked 6 weeks being 16 fell in love with each other 18 years ago. They've suffered enough. Sad.

Posted by: bill davis | Feb 1, 2009 6:02:41 PM

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