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March 6, 2010

Huff Post commentary urging stiffer sentences and chemical castration for sex offenders

Alex D'Adrea has this notable new commentary at The Huffington Post, which is headlined "Sexual Predators and Their Threat to Society: Our Laws are Not Enough."  Here are excerpts:

From state initiatives like Jessica's Law and Megan's Law to federal initiatives, it is clear sexual offenders and their acts are on everyone's mind.  Alabama Representative Arthur Payne who just had a law passed disabling sex offenders from working in public transit situations where children are accessible.  This, however, is not enough. Just take a look at this week's Chelsea King case, where sex offender John Albert Gardner III allegedly raped and took an innocent high school students life.  He was convicted once before for sexual offenses and let out after only five years of imprisonment.  Sexual predators are often repeat offenders, and our laws allow them to go back out on the streets.

Chelsea King is emblematic of your sister, daughter, mother, or friend.  Her situation happens by the numbers every day in America.  Our laws are not enough.

My Proposal: Streamline state and federal laws into a comprehensive sexual predatory law for perpetrators who commit sexual violence against minors.  This means creating a law that evokes fear so great within predators.

1) Sex offenders who commit crimes against children need longer sentencing.  No individual who has sexually assaulted a child should be granted release after only five years like in the case of John Albert Gardner.  Pedophiles show time and time again that most are repeat offenders.

2) Chemical castration should occur. This is not a permanent castration. It is a chemical that severely lowers sexual drive in predators.

I understand that my second point is controversial, and may be looked at as unconstitutional, however when standing back to asses these individuals and the acts they commit, this measure seems appropriate. Several US states already enforced similar measures.  In 1996 California became the first state to enact legislation providing for chemical castration of certain sex offenders.  About 6 months later, in 1997 the Florida legislature overwhelmingly enacted chapter 97-184 opening the door for chemical castration of sex offenders.  

The Florida statue mandates court-ordered weekly injections of a sex-drive reducing hormone to qualified repeat sex offenders upon release from prison, and may be administered to first time offenders. The statue authorizes a trial judge to sentence any defendant who is convicted of sexual battery to receive medroxprogesterone acetate or MPA, the chemical castration drug. If the defendant is convicted of sexual battery and has a prior conviction for sexual battery, the trial court is required to impose a sentence of MPA administration....

France, along with a number of other European countries, including Sweden and Denmark, already allows the use of drugs to lower the sex drive of offenders who agree to it. Prime Minster Fillon feels "we have to look at how, as a part of surveillance and control measures after someone leaves prison, we might make this more restrictive if necessary. It's a subject we are working on and we will make proposals to parliament in that direction." In September of 2009 Poland approved a law making chemical castration mandatory for some pedophiles. I feel the United States should take a more aggressive approach to the sentencing of convicted pedophiles, similar in the vein of Poland.

One of the nation's leading authorities on MPA, Dr. Fred Berlin, founder of the Biosexual Psychological Clinic at the John Hopkins Hospital, believes that prevailing research demonstrates that MPA will drastically reduce the rate of recidivism, or reversion to criminal behavior, of some sex offenders after they are released from prison.  Most medical experts agree that, under proper conditions, the drug can be an effective rehabilitation tool for a narrow category of sex offenders.

I hope that this will inspire a grassroots movement to enforce harsher punishments on convicted pedophiles, as new measures must be taken in order to protect our children.

When proposals and rhetoric like this is emerging from a liberal website like Huff Post, it may be only a matter of time before these kind of ideas take root in formal legislation. 

As regular readers may know, I tend to be open to the idea of much broader use of "technocorrections" like chemical castration if and when there is a reasonable basis to believe such novel punishments might be more effective than prison to reduce recidivism.  As noted in prior posts, however, I am not confident that there have been many (any?) rigorous modern assessments of sex offender castration in the United States, even though chemical castration as a form of alternative punishment has been considered (and used?) widely throughout the nation for well over a decade.

Some older and newer related posts on chemical castration:

March 6, 2010 at 01:47 PM | Permalink

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Comments

But the bigger problem is that the whole debate is based upon lies lies and more lies.

Sex offender are NOT the most likely to reoffend. They are the lest likely to reoffend. A recent study (this month) out of Germany showed that less than 5% of all sex offender offend in any capacity and less than 1% offended in a sexually violent manner (which was merely defined as any sexual contact; a definition I might note that is beyond even the pale even for the Supreme Court ).

We need to start calling a spade and spade and this is nothing by hysteria and I mean that in the pejorative sense of the word. It has no factual basis what so ever. It's either outright lies or willful blindness.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 6, 2010 7:01:38 PM

Daniel --

Do you recognize a difference between "hysteria" and justified concern when a previously convicted sex offender gets a relatively short sentence and then, once out, does it again, only worse, to another girl?

If your answer in no, you recognize no difference between hysteria and concern, then I will let that answer speak for itself.

If your answer is yes, you recognize a difference, what is that difference?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 6, 2010 7:38:31 PM

This really isn't "notable" at all, just an ill-informed polemic parroting the tough-guy line on the easiest target in America--sex offenders. I have to say, I'm so sick and tired of hearing about how you can't release pedophiles and rapists because of recidivism. I just wish the folks weighing in on this subject bothered to learn something about it.

The problem here is that we legislate based on high-profile outliers, rendering the system ever worse in the ordinary case.

The numbers below are from the Federal Government and represent the most comprehensive study of this issue. They are from the Bureau of Justice Statistics:

THESE ARE THE NUMBERS:

Released prisoners with the HIGHEST rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%), burglars (74.0%), larcenists (74.6%), motor vehicle thieves (78.8%), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).

Released prisoners with the LOWEST rearrest rates were those in prison for homicide (40.7%), rape (46.0%), other sexual assault (41.4%), and driving under the influence (51.5%).

Within 3 years, 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide.

Ok, can we all please stop echoing the bullshit now?

Posted by: David Feige | Mar 6, 2010 8:39:37 PM

The chemical castration needs some elucidation. It is medication administered for the benefit of the prisoner. It is not administered for the benefit of any future victims. Nor should these in any way be relied upon to make the defendant safer for release.

By decreasing sex drive, they give the prisoner more time to think about offending. It provides time. It does not provide better judgment. These treatments should be combined with traditional treatment for any other mental condition, especially those involving a high degree of impulsivity. The most common "dreangement" that does not respond to any reduction of sex drive? Drunk on booze. Prevention of drunkedness would reduce all crimes by a half.

There are many other medications that reduce sex drive. They are just as effective as the dramatic use of "chemical castration," in helping sex offenders get better composure. One can look up, side effect: low sex drive. One person's unpleasant side effect can be another's life saving main benefit.

These folks, even if on massive doses of these medications, should still never have unsupervised access to children, including their own.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 6, 2010 9:11:46 PM

Bill the difference is between a policy based upon facts and one based upon insanity. If you don't understand that, you answer speaks for itself.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 6, 2010 9:24:46 PM

Daniel --

The facts of the Gardner case are that a previously convicted sex offender got a relatively short sentence and then, once out, did it again, only worse, to another girl.

Is the concern over those facts hysteria?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 7, 2010 2:43:25 AM

Bill, keep calling him out. These guys like to think that they're so enlightened and so much smarter than average people. They're not--they just like to dress up their moral preening with the appearance of erudition. This is similar to dorm room Marxism, which may have impressed girls in college, but it's time to give it up when you get past the age of 20.

The deeper point, of course, is that Gardner is by no means a limited phenomenon--all one has to do is pay attention to the news. We see a lot of stats about recidivism earlier in the thread, but they don't get at a few obvious realities, one of which is that "sex offender" is a very broad category, and can include some drunk guy grabbing a woman's breast in a bar or a 18 year old who had consensual relations with an underage girl. Additionally, only the people who get caught are counted. Sex offenders don't always get caught. The relevant comparison, of course, is to a stranger who attacks a girl against her consent. The consequences of reoffense are big (and so we need to be more sure) and the Gardners of the world reoffend more than the average "sex offender"--and an experience in prison may make them decide to reduce their chances of being caught. (One of the many reasons why prison rape should be taken more seriously and prosecuted.)

Funny too, the stats support our view, Bill. If 46% of rapists reoffend, perhaps we ought to be aging them out more.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 7, 2010 8:57:47 AM

"Is the concern over those facts hysteria?"

Yes, as applied to everyone except to Gardner (presuming his guilt). It is not hysteria when applied to Gardner, but it is hysteria when applied to anyone else who is not out raping a killing and is not even tempted to do so. Would you agree, Bill, that applying punishment or controls to someone not so situated because of what Gardner did is hysteria? In other words, it appears Gardener is a serial killer, so should we assume everyone charged with murder is a serial killer, or everyone charged with possession of drugs is an armed robber because someone robbed someone for drugs, or that every drunk driver is a killer because some drunk drivers kill? Should we sentence and control them based on their potential crimes or on what they are actually convicted of? There is an entire body of law that address this and it rightfully rules out speculation and hysteria: the Modified Categorical Approach.

Under your theory, all of these people, every murderer in every degree, every drug user, every drunk driver and so on, all should get LWOP because they are all destined to be murderers. Yes, it's hysteria and not only hysteria, it's anti-social or maybe psychopathic hysteria. The intentional infliction of learned helplessness as a consequence of punishment for what others do is psychopathic. It's sick. It is certainly the antithesis to cognitive therapy. It's beyond illogical to the point of being the intentional infliction of suffering for life. You can argue it is deserved, but when using hysterical generalizations that argument loses any merit because although it applies to Gardner it does not follow that it therefore must apply to everyone else.

The hysteria is also cowardly. Notice those who are hysterical never state any specific offender is a serial rapist and murderer other than the one charged, so they are not brave, bold and honest enough to name this or that individual on the registry as equivalent to Gardner, and since they argue the sanctions should apply to everyone, they should be able to name everyone it should apply to. No, there would be direct consequences to that. If you named any individual who was not so convicted you ass would be in court for slander or libel and they would rightfully take your house, your car and your dog, but you could write a country western song about it. So the accusations are non-specific and therefore cowardly. And it is that cowardly maneuvering that enables these memes to have legs and that is precisely what makes it hysterical.

Posted by: George | Mar 7, 2010 10:58:52 AM

Bill, yes it is hysteria. The odds on a person under 18 being killed by a sexual predator are one in 1.5 million. The odds of a person under 18 dying in a car crash are one in 29000. Now if we as a society really wanted to do something for "the sake of the children" we would ban them from ever riding in cars. It's a very cheap way to save the lives of children. Yet, strangely enough, I have never seen a Huff Post about that.

According to the NWS the odds of being stuck by lightening are one in 750,000 per year. This means that getting killed by a sexual predator is like an individual getting hit by lightening twice in one year.

If individuals want to get emotionally worked up about the death in this case that's between them and their psychologist. But when people start advocating for social policy based upon freakish occurrences, as the Huff Post is doing, that's a real problem. Criminal justice policy should be based upon something more than Ripley's "Belive it or Not!"

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 7, 2010 12:18:24 PM

Governments which decide (decision is hardly the concept). Let me start over. States who go down the slippery slope of long sentences for criminal behavior pay the price. California is paying the price. The Ninth Circuit decision requiring them to release thousands (was it 44,000?) of prisoners because the state does not have enough cells, beds, doctors, pharmacists, and other things necessary to humanely deal with humans, needs some more "press" in this sentencing blog. The state of California is bankrupt. Special interest groups like the prison guards union, the Megan and Adam pedophile groups, the anti drup crusaders, the anti crack (and anti black) crusaders, all contribute to these "reforms" and preach their hysteria. An alternative to life without parole is to castrate them. Next will be lobotomies. The research on these "tools" was all done 60 plus years ago with little outrage in the host country. Perhaps while we discuss castration we should revisit some of our own Judgments at Nuremburg on those Nazis who used doctors and pharmacists to take care of the perverts, gypsies, and Jews. It is a slippery slope folks.

Posted by: mpb | Mar 7, 2010 12:27:34 PM

Bill, my wordy response to your "was it (Chelsea King's murder) worth it?" question is at the bottom of yesterday's state-judge-death-penalty thread.

Basically, given the narrow context of the question, the answer is no, of course not.

The girl's death can’t be justified by however much money the state saved on the four or five additional years Gardner didn't occupy a cell.

But neither should her death inspire hysterical, ham-handed sentencing/legislating trends that keep hundreds or thousands of inmates behind bars far longer than necessary…based on a single, splashy aberration.

You were right to scold the authorities who failed to heed the psychiatrist's warning about Gardner.

That said, can’t help but wonder if he is one of those police shrinks who routinely recommends sentences that seem unduly long (30 years in Gardner's case)... and who now might have cried wolf once too often.

Posted by: John K | Mar 7, 2010 2:03:34 PM

i agree johm if your someone who routinly says someone needs life in prison in EVERY instance dont' cry when the judge starts to ignore you and then the one time it matters also ignores you.

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 7, 2010 2:31:45 PM

John K --

Thank you for the direct answer. I appreciate it.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 7, 2010 4:07:29 PM

George --

Well gads, George, one would think from your overwrought tone that the hysteria is coming from you!

"Yes, as applied to everyone except to Gardner (presuming his guilt). It is not hysteria when applied to Gardner, but it is hysteria when applied to anyone else who is not out raping a killing and is not even tempted to do so. Would you agree, Bill, that applying punishment or controls to someone not so situated because of what Gardner did is hysteria?"

The whole problem, George, is in figuring out when a person is "situated" as Gardner was. These are the quite unhysterical facts: The rate of recidivism for violent crime is not zero. We know some of these guys, once out, will do it again, although we don't know who, and have no reliable way of predicting.

What this means is that a balance must be struck between (1) imprisoning these people forever, which will prevent future crime but at the cost of a sentence that is excessive for the offense of conviction, and (2) giving them shorter sentences, which will more nearly reflect justice for the offense of conviction but at the cost of increasing the risk that there will be future victims such as Chelsea King.

It's a trade off. Life is full of them. That's not hysteria.

In making that trade off, we have imperfect information. Given the present state of scientific knowledge, that cannot be helped.

Given that we must make a trade off with imperfect information, the key question becomes: Should the risk of error be borne by the criminal or the future victim?

To me, that is not a difficult question.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 7, 2010 4:22:33 PM

Instead of rallying off on each other you all might consider looking at what our own government, our own society and conscience, said was right, in the years after WWII regarding the Nazis.
Please go to Nuremburg trial.org. Or just do your own search on Nuremberg. Then look up doctors. There was a series of trials against doctors for participating in such things as y'all want to happen in Amerika. Such as castration without representation. Think twice before one goes down the road which our own government said was crimes against nature. Do not faul into that "tool" thing. Oh,. this is a good tool against crime.

Posted by: mpb | Mar 7, 2010 4:49:31 PM

Go to the Nuremburg Trials.org and then to Doctors Trial.
The Nuremburg Trial, doctors trial. Go there boys and girls and see the results of who we, as in WE, of the United States, prosecuted for doctor war crimes. Seven were hanged! The experiments were: high altitude ; freezing; mustarde gas; bond, muscle, nerve regeneration and bone transplantation; sea water; peidemic jaundice; spotted fever; poison; incendiary bombs.

Posted by: mpb | Mar 7, 2010 5:21:39 PM

"Given that we must make a trade off with imperfect information, the key question becomes: Should the risk of error be borne by the criminal or the future victim?"

Either/Or – a claim that presents an artificially limited range of choices.

An either/or fallacy occurs when a speaker makes a claim (usually a premise in an otherwise valid deductive argument) that presents an artificial range of choices. For instance, he may suggest that there are only two choices possible, when three or more really exist. Those who use an either/or fallacy try to force their audience to accept a conclusion by presenting only two possible options, one of which is clearly more desirable.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

These tactics are purposefully designed to seduce those who are not well informed on a given topic. A clever writer or speaker may use the either/or fallacy to make his idea look better when compared to an even worse one. This type of selective contrast is also a form of stacking the deck. This type of argument violates the principles of civil discourse: arguments should enlighten people, making them more knowledgeable and more capable of acting intelligently and independently.

Posted by: George | Mar 7, 2010 6:07:00 PM

George --

Please, try to stay focused. The question here is about how long sex offenders should be imprisoned. If we send them away for life, we protect future victims like Chelsea King but at the cost of imposing a sentence that might well be excessive for the actual offense of conviction. If we send them away for a lesser term, we enhance the chances of a sentence appropriate for the offense of conviction, but at the cost of reducing the protection given future victims.

That is the choice. If there is some other choice, you never tell us what it is. So what is it?

Because a sentencing decision must be made, and because it must be made with imperfect predictive information, there is a risk of error. It seems to me that that risk must be borne either by the offender or by the potential future victim. You vaguely imply, with all this abstract talk, that there is a third person upon whom the risk might be placed. Who would that be?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 8, 2010 1:58:23 AM

Our torture cheerleader has presumably never seen a sentence that wouldn't have been better had it just had some more years tacked onto it. Demagogues will resort to the hysterical drumbeat every time in an attempt to distort the actual issues. Yes, the death of any victim is tragic. But there are nearly 700,000 registered sex offenders in this country. Such number require a policy, not an hysterical drumbeat of the type that "lawn order" assistant DA's use to cow the twelve who couldn't get off the jury. The flip side of our torture cheerleader's stance--which apparently more time is needed for those convicted of sexual crimes--is pointing out that many innocent people are sentenced to prison. Ergo, because we shouldn't run the risk of sentencing innocent people to prison, sentences should be shorter (or non-existent) across the board. Yes Bill, that is ridiculous, but it nothing more than a mirror of your usual contribution around here.

Posted by: Mark # 1 | Mar 8, 2010 3:11:25 AM

"Our torture cheerleader has presumably never seen a sentence that wouldn't have been better had it just had some more years tacked onto it."

Our terror cheerleader may "presume" what he cares to. And he does.

"Demagogues will resort to the hysterical drumbeat every time in an attempt to distort the actual issues. Yes, the death of any victim is tragic."

The death of Chelsea King was a preventable murder. Do you deny it? It could have been prevented specifically by imprisoning her ex-con/child molester killer to a considerably longer sentence. But we wouldn't want to just have "some more years tacked on to it," now would we? And the reason we wouldn't is that it was SOMEONE ELSE'S DAUGHTER, not yours, who wound up paying the price for your holier-than-thou preening.

"But there are nearly 700,000 registered sex offenders in this country."

Then I suggest they change their behavior. And don't hand me this line that it's all nothing but public urination and teenage sexting. The vast majority is far more serious than that. You know it, and it's past time for you to admit it.

"Such number require a policy, not an hysterical drumbeat of the type that 'lawn order' assistant DA's use to cow the twelve who couldn't get off the jury."

Is the jury similarly to be dismissed when it acquits? BTW, since you don't care for juries, and even less for plea bargains, what's your suggestion?

"The flip side of our torture cheerleader's stance--which apparently more time is needed for those convicted of sexual crimes--is pointing out that many innocent people are sentenced to prison."

Did you even read what I wrote?

"Ergo, because we shouldn't run the risk of sentencing innocent people to prison, sentences should be shorter (or non-existent) across the board. Yes Bill, that is ridiculous, but it['s] nothing more than a mirror of your usual contribution around here."

Actually, the argument is made all the time by abolitionists that because we shouldn't run the risk of sentencing innocent people to death, the death penalty should be eliminated across the board. And yes, that is ridiculous -- congratulations! It's particularly ridiculous in light of the fact that abolitionists have not proved that one single innocent person has been executed in the modern era, despite their now-exposed attempt to pull a fast one with the Roger Keith Coleman hoax, which I have yet to hear you denounce.

By the way, could you let us know who appointed you the judge of the value of my "ususal contribution around here?" The truth, Marky, is that I don't seek and don't want the approbation of people holding your extremist views, and if I'm unpopular with the Al-Quaeda/American Friendship Association, I think I can handle it.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 8, 2010 3:54:30 AM

The release of the predator was opposed by a psychiatrist. He likely based his opposition, not on future forecasting, but on prior behaviors and their frequency. That makes the premature release of the predator not negligence, but an intentional tort. Exemplary damages should apply. All self-dealt lawyer immunities should end.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 8, 2010 6:05:38 AM

Bill: "...abolitionists have not proved that one single innocent person has been executed in the modern era..."

Maybe not, but they've established reasonable doubt.

And BTW, Bill, by virtue of which of his comments did Mark#1 become a "terror cheerleader"?

"if I'm unpopular with the Al-Quaeda/American Friendship Association, I think I can handle it."

Please, Bill, tell me you're not on board with Liz Cheney and brownshirt cohorts yammering about the "Gitmo 9."

Posted by: John K | Mar 8, 2010 10:59:04 AM

John K --

1. When in 50 years or so the abolitionist movement has not proved that even one innocent person has been executed, it is fair to point this out in the face of repeated, furious claims that "we're executing the innocent." Like any litigating lawyer, I had to win my cases in court, not on a website. The abolitionists can go win theirs in court or pipe down with it until they do.

2. Mark # 1 has repeatedly called me a "torture cheerleader" because I have supported, and continue to support, the use of coercive interrogations to obtain potentially life-saving information from captured jihadists. (Alan Dershowitz has the same position). I want to know what's included in their next plan for mass murder and I want to know it NOW in time to do something about it. Mark # 1 opposes coercive interrogations and instead approves giving them Miranda warnings, which encourage them to clam up (as happened, for example, with the Christmas Day airplane bomber).

At some point, I become impatient with his epithets and even more impatient with the air-headed thinking behind them, to wit, that we don't need to do anything upleasant to win the war that has been thrust upon us, and that if we sweet talk jihadists long enough, they'll tell us everything we need to know. I'm not going to play silent punching bag to someone who's thinking is so irresponsible, and who is simultaneously so arrogant as to snear at those in dissent.

3. I think by the "Gitmo 9" you mean the "al Qaeda 7." I will just say this for now: For those eager to support civil liberties or other worthy causes, there are a zillion more helpful things to do than defend KSM & Co. It's not all about process; at some point, adults have to think about the substantive RESULTS they would achieve if successful.

Where the substantive results if successful would be to help to return to the field of battle those who have vowed to wage war on us, and who have in fact waged it, people need to think about what they're doing. Maybe instead of defending KSM and the boys, civil libertarians could defend the Boyscouts from the PC police shouting "homophobes;" or the taxpayers of Minnesota from having to fund religiously dominated "public" schools (which, to its credit, the ACLU is presently doing); or law-abiding citizens like Mr. McDonald who want Chicago to honor, rather than blanketly deny, their civil right to keep and bear arms.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 8, 2010 3:45:44 PM

Mr. Bill, all you are doing is encouraging contempt for the government. If you really want a policy that can really work and one that focuses directly on the most horrible crimes, then fight for a policy that delivers every dime and spare man-hour/minute into solving Past child abduction and murder cases in San Diego County and elsewhere. Rather than spending time and money on those who did not commit those crimes, spend it on solving them and finding those who did. The hell with "broken windows." Focus on what really matters most. There is no better protection for children than taking potential serial killers off the street. No one can argue with that.

That is one exception to the either/or, and of course you already knew another is the person who does not go on to commit more horrendous and serious crimes, which in that case not having to decide in favor of the defendant OR the victim was not necessary. Weighing the balance worked, as it usually does. There are other alternatives of course, but you knew that.

Posted by: George | Mar 8, 2010 7:55:17 PM

George --

With a delicious irony, it is now you who are engaging in either/or.

It's not EITHER devote money to cold cases OR impose longer sentences for dangerous sex offenders. BOTH can be done. Just use just a tiny sliver of the dough Obama has set aside for General (or is that "Government") Motors, or his bailout of corrupt banks, or dishonest mortgage applicants, etc.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 8, 2010 8:09:11 PM

I thought the innocence project had proved we get false convictions (as well as many false confessions). I think the people who like to promote hysteria, know the difference. The sex offenders who go on to violent murder such as in the King case, are so very few in comparison to how many people we have labeled sex offenders. Mr. Otis, if you think this hysteria and bias is a good thing, think of this case which Nancy Grace screamed about for months. A man either "touched" or he had a statuatory conviction. He served his time and was on the registry. He came home to his wife who believed he was a good man, and they had a new baby. While he went to the store, vigalantes (inspired by the hysterical media) burned down his house. The sex offender was not home, but the wife and new baby burned up. Nancy Grace said, "Well, thats what she gets for being the wife of a convicted sex offender." So there, you know that you and Nancy are always right, (and of course John Walsh.)

Posted by: DLJ | Mar 8, 2010 11:56:44 PM

What a delicious idiocy. I didn't frame it in either/or terms at all but just offered it as an option. As usual Mr. Bill merely spits something irrelevant out in response.

Posted by: George | Mar 9, 2010 12:07:20 AM

What the hell is so difficult about the ideal that "Americans don't torture." Are we really that afraid of a bunch of incompetent primitives that we sell our souls for transitory (and ineffective) solace? (Hint: 24 is a work of fiction). When America was faced with a most capable and dangerous adversary against Germany in WWII--one that actually endangered our very existence--we were more than able to handle the threat without becoming the monsters ourselves. The fact that seemingly intelligent people have been able to convince themselves that torture is anything except a pathway to a totalitarian world is dramatic evidence of what the Founding Fathers were afraid of when they drafted the Constitution. The fact that modern authoritarians now feel safe enough to propose government actions which are more akin to those of Mussolini than Washington and Jefferson tells us a great deal about the current state of the polity and the party that currently calls itself Republican.

Posted by: Mark # 1 | Mar 9, 2010 12:16:48 AM

It's sad that so many people who really have paid for their crime are going to be punished for the actions of whoever killed that girl out west. The fact is that only one person committed that crime, as only one idiot kidnapped and killed Adam Walsh. It's terrible that either of those things happen, but those are the actions of individual people! There are 600,000 sex offenders whose lives will be made harder now by something they did not do.. and the worst part is, they all thought they had paid for their crime. Some never even did one day in jail, let alone prison. Rejoice, humanity, in how ignorant you are to believe everyone is capable of the same actions.

Shame on you to think these people have no moral compass. It is ridiculous how a plea bargain involving a "Romeo and Juliet" can get you listed as a Tier III offender, when before you were the lowest level of offender. So people who have an underage girlfriend can't learn from their mistake? They must be listed next to kidnappers, rapists and child-predators? Say what you want, but when a 13 year old can kill all his classmates, then a 15 year old can make a choice to get involved with someone older as well. These are not people who forced themselves on anyone, now being treated as the worst of the worst by a law that never even allowed them to have their case re-reviewed.

Ex Post Facto. Backdoor Double Jeopardy. Just because you say it is not punishment does not mean it isn't. These laws are destroying the lives of people who never hurt anyone, including the lives of family who never committed any crime at all, but is not so shallow as to abandon their loved ones because society-in-general has. I have never been so ashamed of fellow man... what's inside you that you want to see someone you dont know punished for a crime you don't know anything about? Think how outraged you would be if your neighbors got your liense taken away because of one accident and they were afraid for the safety of their children? But wait aminute, didnt you already pay that fine and appear in court? How can they punish you twice? By saying "It's for everyone's safety, even though you only messed up once and no one was hurt... still, bad drivers kill, so everyone who qualifies must be compliant for our children's sake."

Sound fair? Didn't think so. Stay strong, people.

Posted by: Tbuckets | Mar 9, 2010 1:09:46 AM

Mark # 1 --

What is so difficult about the idea that we have a right to protect ourselves from primitives (with airplanes or anthrax or plastique explosives or whatever the next item will be) by obtaining, forcibly if necessary, the information about their next planned attack? Self defense is universally understood to be the right of a free people, and was so understood by the Founders.

"When America was faced with a most capable and dangerous adversary against Germany in WWII--one that actually endangered our very existence--we were more than able to handle the threat without becoming the monsters ourselves."

That's not what I'm hearing. To the contrary, it has become routine for your allies on the Left to claim that FDR and Truman were monsters, not to mention war criminals, for (1) Dresden (2) approving the virtually summary execution of several Nazi saboteurs after a hurry-up trial before a secret military tribunal in 1942, and before the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the case (3) "victors' justice" and more executions in the Nuremberg trials -- not to mention, on the Pacific front, (4) the internment of American citizens of Japanese ancestry, and of course (5) the use, twice, of the atomic bomb, knowing that it would kill thousands of civilians, including of course children, and pulverize Japan into submission.

If you approve any or all of these things, I'd be interested to know it. Which of them do you approve, and why? If you do not approve, is it your view that FDR and/or Truman were war criminals? If not, why not? Is it not the case that each of these things exacted vastly more intentional human suffering than anything even allegedly done in the interrogation of KSM? And -- so far as the danger we confront -- is it not the case that al-Qaeda's 9-11 attacks exacted in one morning roughly three times the number of casualties that the Axis inflicted in the United States during the entirety of WWII? Is it not also true that al-Qaeda possesses or has a non-trivial chance of obtaining WMD, including easily concealed and easily deliverable dirty bombs, which were unknown to the Germans and the Japanese?

How easy it is to do high-minded preaching in the peace and safety FDR's "war crimes" helped secure. I'll be interested to see whether you find giving specific and analytical responses to these questions equally easy.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 9, 2010 3:12:50 AM

The atomic bombing was just plain wrong. What we did to German prisoners after WWII was just plain wrong. Two wrongs never did make a right.I was a child when we bombed the Japanese's two cities. I have felt guilt all my life about it, because I identify with America. My feelings of guilt were again laid bare as I watched on TV, George Bush's "Shock and Awe" on innocent people, civilians. Wrongs never do make a right.

Posted by: DLJ | Mar 9, 2010 8:11:18 AM

To all of you who are in some way defending harsher punishment for sex offenders especially David Feige, #1 - Do you have children? If someone commited any of these disgusting acts on your child would you be defending THE BULLSHIT or would you want them to pay for what they did to your child reguardless if this is there 1st time or 10th time doing it? Think real hard. #2 - Who the *uck cares about the % of this or that if you prey on innocent children whether it be child porn, malestation, rape, and the other disgusting acts against especially children you rae not HUMAN you do not have a heart or a soul to be able to even think these acts in your head let alone act on them. You no longer have the right to live out your life in a community that has to be afraid of animals like that cause when a sex offender gets let out and you have NO idea he or she is living right next to you and your family and god for bid this person is preying on your children and acts on it what would you do? Say this person deserves a 2nd chance, start looking at % hey why not go visit them and provide for them while there serving there 2 year sentence for sexually assaulting your child. PLEASE some of these post make me sick to know there are people who could actully try to bring light to this topic that is the darkest, uglyist, most disturbing things I ever heard of. We need every day people to take a stand and matters into there own hands becuase our justice system fails us EVERYTIME.

Posted by: Kim | Mar 9, 2010 9:45:55 AM

Kim, you have no clue at all. Every person who has ever been convicted of what is called a sex crime is now on the offender's list. This whole "not knowing if they live next to you" is B.S... the only thing the law is doing now is not letting you know who is dangerous and who is not because of AWA going into effect in 2007. I have said it before and I will say it again, NOT EVERYONE who is classified a sex offender has raped anyone ior molested any children. That is a common disconnect in the minds of people who hear those wrods. Sex offender is different from child-molestor, its just too hard for you to hear anything else when the subject is brought up. SexOff's can be public urinators, drunken ass grabbers, criminal confiners, public indecency, sodomy, homosexuality, kissing a schoolmate, and much more.. there are a lot of things out there can get you in trouble without ever actually raping or molesting children.

I think you need to get your facts straight, and instead of just spewing forth the same hate-laden ignorance, learn a little before you condemn everyone as the worst of the worst.. because the law made sure that those whop were not dangerous got listed next to those that were. And it is hysteria and hatred by people like you that causes people who truly have hurt noone to be labeled as bad as any of them. Do you think someone who consentually kissed a 15 year old when they were 22 should be listed as bad as Rapists? (No sex, no foreplay) Just kissing? I mean really, you have no clue why some people even get convicted of sex crimes, you just want to see them all dead. And you say there is something wrong with them? I say look inside, something inside of you makes you want to persecute people you don't know for their crimes you do not know anything about. I suggest keeping it in perspective that there are people out there who do not deserve to be treated this way, and you should be fighting for their rights instead of tryingt to get someone condemned you don't even know anything about. Go spread your hate elsewhere, like on the Fox news website. Thats where it belongs.

Posted by: Tbuckets | Mar 9, 2010 11:24:51 AM

And by the way, Kim, David Feige did nothing more than post statistics furnished by the DOD about recitivism. How can it bother you that sex offender recitivism rate is low and was posted? Does this go against the "facts" you thought you knew, so you will just condemn it? Isn't that funny how if the facts don'r coincide with your beliefs, you condemn the author as being a supporter of heinous sex crimes? I bet he isn't. The point was that more than rapists and child molestors are on the registry... in fact, the majority of sex offender have done neither. But you would rather everyone be punished for the 5% that actually re-offends. Would you like you drivers license taken away because it is a 'well known fact' that women can't drive? Sounds like BS, doesn't it? Well, your "facts" are just as ludicrous. Stop hating over crimes you did not witness, did not know the victim, and you have no personal knowledge about at all. I commend David for being brave enough to post the actual numbers, it des not matter if someone like you is so blinded by hate they can't even look at positive numbers without screaming for someone's blood. Not all victims are children, ma'am, so why don't you let the judges who know about the cases make the decisions, not you. In fact, I would becausecsay your hot-headed rashness and knee-jerk mentality, we are ALL better off you DON'T make those decisions.

Posted by: Tbuckets | Mar 9, 2010 11:38:14 AM

To Tbuckets - well lets see I am talking about te cases where MONSTERS have sexually abused, and innocently murdered children not someone who kissed a 13 year old but someone who raped sotomized beat and killed an innocent life idiot. By you not even being able to have made the connection that I am talking about SEXUAL ABUSE AND MURDER of a child and can post your liberal bullshit makes me ask if you have any children and if you do what would you do if a sicko sexually abused your child and your child was lucky enough not to be killed and you knew who did this to your child and a judge and jury gave this animal 2 years and 4 years probation for harming your child who will always have to live with that would you be so forgiving and turn to the FACTS, I think not. Do i hate a person who commits such a crime YES I DO. Are those kind of people the same as me and you NO THEY ARE NOT and if you dont agree with me maybe your the one holding on to some past thing hum???? Heres something to think about and this example is exactly what I'm refering to MR. OH and I have EVERY right to speak my mind however and wherever I want thats my RIGHT.

In Rhode Island, 18-year-old Josh Maciorski was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, but sentenced to probation. Two years later he molested a 14-year-old girl and served just one year. Then, when he got out, Maciorski raped a 16-year-old girl. His sentence after this third strike - an unbelievable three years in prison.

In Missouri, 19-year old Darrell Jackson pleaded guilty to repeatedly sexually abusing a little girl, beginning when she was just eight. But when Jackson came up for sentencing, a soft judge gave him four months in prison and five years probation.

In Minnesota, Joseph Duncan stood in front of a judge, accused of molesting a young boy. Despite the fact that Duncan had previously served 16 years for raping another young boy at gunpoint, the judge released him on just $15,000 bail. Duncan promptly skipped bail and headed for Idaho, where he allegedly kidnapped, raped, and killed a 9-year old boy, molested his sister, and killed their family.

It goes on and on this should be stopped dont you think. Stop sitting by and hoping one of these monsters wont come to your area dont be fooled they are already there and probley right on the same street or the block over preying on your family its a FACT.

Posted by: Kim | Mar 9, 2010 2:09:42 PM

How can it bother you that sex offender recitivism rate is low and was posted? Does this go against the "facts" you thought you knew, so you will just condemn it?

Comment: I would love you to tell that bull crap to a family who has lost a child in the hands of one of those %%%%%%%%.

The point was that more than rapists and child molestors are on the registry... in fact, the majority of sex offender have done neither. But you would rather everyone be punished for the 5% that actually re-offends. Would you like you drivers license taken away because it is a 'well known fact' that women can't drive? Sounds like BS, doesn't it? Well, your "facts" are just as ludicrous. Stop hating over crimes you did not witness, did not know the victim, and you have no personal knowledge about at all.

Comment: Someone who traffics or watches child porn dosent actually harm a child him or herself so you believe they arent a danger and they arent accountable to the disgust becuase they didnt actually make the tape. Wow we should all be glad your not making decisions either. I dont have to witness any of these crimes to feel for the victims. Its called compassion which you clearly lack. Your a typical I didnt see it happen so it may or may not be true bull crap the facts are all there in case records which are PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE which I have read up on.

I commend David for being brave enough to post the actual numbers, it des not matter if someone like you is so blinded by hate they can't even look at positive numbers without screaming for someone's blood.

Comment: Positive numbers huh. Everyday over 3,000 children are reported missing taken from there homes to be raped, slaved into prostitution, murdered and thrown away like they are trash by either strangers, or even there own family those are the FACTS and if that dosent seriously disturb you reguardless of POSITIVE numbers then you have serious issues and someone like you isnt worth achknowledging.

Not all victims are children, ma'am, so why don't you let the judges who know about the cases make the decisions, not you.

Comment: I think I made my point about some Judges in my last post above. Was that enough facts for you.

Posted by: Kim | Mar 9, 2010 2:34:21 PM

Judge Edward Cashman's light sentence was the talk of the town. Wednesday he sentenced child rapist Mark Hulett to 60 days in jail. Hulett admitted he raped a little girl countless times when she was between 7 and 10 years old.

Prosecutors said Hulett deserved at least 8 years in prison in part as punishment.

But Judge Cashman said the 60-day sentence guaranteed that Hulett would get into sex offender rehabilitation quickly or face a possible life sentence. He said he had no choice because the Corrections Department classified Hulett as a low risk offender meaning he can't get treatment until he's out of jail.

And more importantly the judge announced that after 25 years on the bench, he no longer believes in punishment.

Comment: Hum do you still have complete faith in our judges giving out justice????

Tahl Fishman, 35 pleaded guilty March 2 to importuning, pandering obscenity and possessing criminal tools for using the Internet to seek sex with a 10-year-old girl on Aug. 3, 2007, and sending 14 pornographic photos. He also sought sex with a 12-year-old girl on Aug. 13, 2007.

The people corresponding with him were actually undercover police. Fishman was indicted Oct. 8 and freed on a $10,000 bond. His sentencing was reset for May 21.

Comment: Did you read that FREED ON A BOND. So he can now run and hide and do this again. Now this sicko didnt actually harm a child but was clearly trying real hard to. But according to Tbuckets this man shouldnt be clasified as a monster becuase he didnt actually get to commit the rape of a child becuase thankfully law enforcement caught him first.

I can go on with more FACTS Mr. Tbuckets this is not hear say this is real life. Our innocent are being targeted everyday some end without insident and some end bad and all should be punished.

Posted by: Kim | Mar 9, 2010 3:06:47 PM

kim PLEASE get some theraphy!

we know all about those facts. but the real fact remains....the registry has been in place for over 15 years now! year after year after year the numbers stay the same

80-95% OF ALL SEX CRIMES ARE FIRST TIME OFFENCES!

therefore that 50 BILLION dollars a year we are spending on the OTHER 80-95% IS A COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY!


it needs to be better spent STOPPING THAT FIRST OFFENCE!

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 9, 2010 3:17:36 PM

80-95% OF ALL SEX CRIMES ARE FIRST TIME OFFENCES!

So becuase they are first time offences they should not be punishable to the full extent and I am talking about actual sexual abuse against children. You must be one of those lawyers who help get these people off by making them plead not guilty knowing dam well they did it. Good job, your the one who needs help. Why dont you open your home to these people who are first timers. Yeah right come down off that liberal soap box and just admit that too many children are innocently abused or killed without reason and its very very sad. I feel for each and every case where a child is harmed or killed for any reason I am a mother, not a lawyer, not a liberal, really not that interested in politics but I think about my children and how they will be protected when I cant be there. I look at the LIST every 3 months to have to read that there are currently 23 registered sex offenders 10 of which commited sex crimes against MINORS living right down the street from me 2 blocks over ect, 1 man was convicted of having over 150 child porn tapes in his home, 10 people that at any time without any warning could strike on the huge amounts of children that play in my neighborhood so if I am passionate about wanting these people far away from any children then go ahead and make fun of me who only want to protect the innocense of children. I am proud of how I feel becuase too many people dont care and will always find excuses to put down a person who would like to see justice on terrible crimes against our children so we can be comfortable that you break the law we have no tolerance for you and we will make sure you are held accountable for the lives you have destroyed.

Posted by: Kim | Mar 9, 2010 4:09:51 PM

COMPASSION? Is it compassionate to throw away the key on someone who has not harmed anyone else? That would be awful convenient to hate mongers like you , who just want a dog to kick. I never disagree that rapists, child molestor or kiddie-pornpurveyors should be in prison. My point was there are a lot of other sex offenders out there that did not do any of these crimes, but are being punished alongside those that do. Your problem is you are so filled with hate, you could care less if there is a difference, and there is. Nice how you misquoted me and took my comments out of context, the fox-news crew would be proud how you perpetuate lies and fear.=, ever consider applying for a job with them. By the way, you gave 3 examples of people who took it a step farther. What about the 600,00 who have not? You would rather use 3 examples to condemn all, even though you are only using worst case examples. I'm sorry, about each individual human being is responsible for only those actions they commit. Only 1 sick person killed Adam Walh, just as only one sick person can only claim responsibility for their actions. You want to go on a Witch hunt? Well, don't be surprised when the witch hunt comes after you. And no, just because I did not see something does not mean it didn't happen.. but on the other had, you have proven that you don't have to see anything evidence wise to just condemn someone because of their title. Is that any more right than the benefit of the doubt? I'm not going to waste my time on you anymore, it is clear you are so filled with hate and fear that you would rather see anyone titled 'sex offender' killed or life-imprisoned because you can't wrap your tiny brain around the fact that not every sex offender is a rapist or child molestor. That's your shortcoming.. you can contuinue judging and hating on your regular schedule, you are beyond hope.

Posted by: Tbuckets | Mar 9, 2010 4:58:09 PM

Kim, stop talking the talk. Go down the street and make sure those peole will never harm your children! Do us a favor and attack these people the way you want to, and then we can all laugh about how YOU go to jail and becoming dangerous. Two wrongs will make everything right, right?
Actually, by the sentiments you have espouse, you have proven to me that you may be capable of violence. Perhaps its time for you to be on a dangerous citizens list as well, due to your expressed sympathy for vigilantes and approval of violence toward others.

My Kim impression "Anyone who thinks the way you do must love sex offenders and help them" .. I guess so, and I guess that's better than hating people I don't know over a crime I know nothing about except what the internet tells me. (In other words, the charge, not the actual situation.) Jesus loved the flawed people he supped with, and promised them a magnificent feast in the heareafter. Now hes gonna have to post guards at the door to make sure you don't come in with your posse of vigilantes and try to hurt any of his followers.

I don't know why you can't forgive people you don't even know for not doing anything to you, but it sounds to me like you have more problems than the people you have been getting down on.

I'm out. I have normal people to speak with, you psycho.

Posted by: Tbuckets | Mar 9, 2010 5:09:12 PM

no kim. i'm not a lawyer. i work for a living LOL!

what i'm trying to get though your fear and hate is that 15 years of numbers show that 80-95% of those on the registry comit one offence and that's it. so why are we spending billions watching them 24/7 spending MILLIONS of police and lawenforcment hours watchign them and wandering around with tapemeasurs to m ake sure they are not too close to something.

Better to take that money and use it to stop the first crime.

i've never said a word against laws that hammer repeat or violent offenders.

Posted by: rodsmith | Mar 10, 2010 2:35:24 AM

Once again, some facts which one can only hope cut through the hysteria.

As to the conservative shibboleth of Judge Cashman: Here are the facts.

The judge actually sentenced Mr. Hulett to 10 years to life. He suspended all but 60 days of that sentence. The sentence would have been re-enforced if Hulett did not successfully complete treatment. WHY did the judge fo that? Because The State of Vermont would not provide sex offender treatment to Hulett while he was in prison because they considered him as a low risk re-offender.

Is that really so unreasonable?

It makes me sad when ill-informed people spew corrosive nonsense.

Posted by: David Feige | Mar 11, 2010 11:44:47 AM

At some point, I become impatient with his epithets and even more impatient with the air-headed thinking behind them, to wit, that we don't need to do anything upleasant to win the war that has been thrust upon us, and that if we sweet talk jihadists long enough, they'll tell us everything we need to know. I'm not going to play silent punching bag to someone who's thinking is so irresponsible, and who is simultaneously so arrogant as to snear at those in dissent.
Only 1 sick person killed Adam Walh, just as only one sick person can only claim responsibility for their actions. You want to go on a Witch hunt? Well, don't be surprised when the witch hunt comes after you. And no, just because I did not see something does not mean it didn't happen.. but on the other had, you have proven that you don't have to see anything evidence wise to just condemn someone because of their title. Is that any more right than the benefit of the doubt? I'm not going to waste my time on you anymore, it is clear you are so filled with hate and fear that you would rather see anyone titled 'sex offender' killed or life-imprisoned because you can't wrap your tiny brain around the fact that not every sex offender is a rapist or child molestor. That's your shortcoming.. you can contuinue judging and hating on your regular schedule, you are beyond hope.

Posted by: guild wars 2 gold | Sep 8, 2010 3:24:49 AM

I agree with several points made on each side. It is also important to note that there is an assesment done for a very good reason. There are so many different degrees of molestation/ rape vs. sexual offender! In my State if you urinate outdoors you can technicaly be considered a sex offender. So I do feel it's important to be humane in every way because of the stigma automatically attached. I happen to agree that an offender that goes as far as perfoming sexual acts on a child 14 and under should have much stiffer penalties because in all fairness that child just lost their opportunity to ever have a normal life and so should the offender. Personally I feel under 14 forcable or not should make no difference yet 15 and over I do feel that their is a difference because of many circumstances that can take place and repeat offending should then be taken into consideration although I still feel that the penalties need to be stiffer in all cases of any age. I am working to get people in my state together to help get stiffer penalties and no early release for certain offenders that are the most likely to repeat as well as the fact that they are the ones that deserve to loose what their victim has lost " their life as they know it"

Posted by: Jennymo | Feb 4, 2011 6:36:04 PM

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