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March 12, 2010

"Michigan board reverses parole for sex offender"

The title of this post is the headline of this article from the Toledo Blade, which might have also been reasonably headlined "Chelsea King case has echo effect."  Here are the basics:

The Michigan parole board has reversed the decision to grant parole to convicted sex offender Rex Layman, a former Lambertville man who was convicted in 1998 of child rape, the Monroe County Prosecutor's office said Wednesday.   The full 15-member Parole and Commutation Board took unprecedented action to review Layman's scheduled release after objections were filed by Prosecutor William Nichols.

"We are pleased that the parole board took a second look at this, reversed the decision, and found that he is dangerous to society and a threat to public safety.  We believe the public is safer without him on the streets," said Michael Brown, an assistant county prosecutor.

Layman, 61, has served nearly 12 years of the 8 to 30 year prison sentenced he received for sexually abusing two 8-year-old girls in 1997. A three-member panel of the state parole board granted parole release to Layman after reviewing his case last August.   Mr. Brown said the parole board ordered that Layman should remained locked up for 24 months.

March 12, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I guess this is the perogative of the parole board.. and rightly so. He had not finished his sentence, so tacking on 24 months really should not have surprised him. It is the people who have served their time that are now being told they are being punished again by AWA that are living the real tragedy. I love how the vigilante-squad does not care who it effects as long as you have the title "sex offender" .. some of these people are literally being punished for the most minor offense, and were reclassified by AWA as being the most dangerous. Ten again, anyone with a BRAIN knows you can't get punished twice for the same offense.. yet somehow there is a gaggle of people out there, full of hate, who would rather IGNORE article 10 of the constitution and punish them again. Guess what sucker? It opens the door for you to pay "Dangerous driver fees" for the rest of your life even if you only got 1 ticket. You don't want to be punished twice for what you did, so why do you want to see it happen to others? You know the saying "If you cant do the time, dont do the crime?" Well guess what, when these people did the crime, that WAS NOT THE TIME. As far as I am concerned, every state that has done this to their citizens is opening themselves up to defamation cases. Who can get a job or a place to live when they are RE-LISTED as the worst of the worst? You want to enforce AWA on new sec-offenders? Ok. You want to "Go Back" and punish every former sex-criminal who has served their time? That's backdoor double-jeopardy.

Posted by: tbucket | Mar 13, 2010 11:24:40 PM

This is a high profile case used to justify suspension of due process and constitutional protections. Michigan's parole system is flawed and corrupt. The parole system was designed to give serous offenders serving long sentences a second chance at life if they could show penance and rehabilitation. It was a humane concept rooted in the principle of christian mercy. What the parole process has evolved into is something else. It has become a weapon to be used against low level offenders, often poor and unsophisticated.

Here's how the Michigan parole system is being applied: A person gets arrested for stealing a bicycle or shoplifting (actual cases.) Because of a previous and similar offense, usually related to a drug problem, they are given a 10 year sentence, the maximum allowed by statute. After serving what should have been the sentence commensurate with the low magnitude of the crime, usually 1-2 years, they are dumped into the parole system. They are forced into attending drug classes which usually are no more than networking sites for drug users. They receive no real treatment for their problem.

The overwhelming majority of these minor offenders wind up caught in the revolving door of parole and incarceration. They become lifetime wards of the state and come to view the criminal justice system as unjust and opressive. While in prison they are recruited by gangs and their "us against them" credo. They turn into hardened criminals.

The prisons in Michigan, both at the state and county level, are among the worst in the nation. They are overcrowded, unsanitary, and violent. Gangs rule there. Perversely, this heavy handed approach actually makes our streets less safer. Break the gangs in prison and you break them on the street.

Much of the repoted crime statistics within the state concern parole violations. There are tens of thousands of these people, many of whom have never committed a serious crime. Their problem is addiction, and it is largely untreated. These people can be sent back to prison on a whim or rumour, without review, often for "offenses" as trivial as getting fired from a job, or oversleeping and missing an appointment. Each time they are sent back they are held in isolation until their hearing date, usually refused a lawyer, and often given long sentences not by a court, but by an appointed panel who got their position through the political process. They're almost always somebody's friend. Their decision is not subject to appeal or review and hearings are usually held behind closed doors.

The net effect of all this is not incresed safety but the opposite. When we are willing to suspend rights and protections earned by the spilling of blood from good and brave men in the name of expediency, we cease to become a just society bound by conscience, compassion,, and conviction. We become oppressors and tyrants.

Posted by: Bruce Ricketts | Apr 8, 2010 1:10:38 PM

I am Rex Layman's attorney. Despite the prosecution's spin, Rex had completed his minimum sentence. What he hadn't done was completed his maximum sentence. In this day of spin, any release a prosecutor dislikes is an "early release" if the Board has discretion to hold the prisoner longer.

Rex had a statistically high probability of parole, had great scores on the Department's evidence based sentence device (COMPAS), and TAPs. He was parole to a rural area far from any children or anyone else.

The Parole Board normally defends its judgment. This time, the doors started slamming real quickly. The Board stopped returning my calls and wouldn't even give me a copy of the ruling. I had to get it from opposing counsel.

Rumor has it that either the victim or the prosecutor had a high up political favor. All my normal sources of information won't talk about this case.

Posted by: Stuart Friedman | May 15, 2010 10:19:53 AM

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