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April 5, 2017

"Criminological Perspective on Juvenile Sex Offender Policy"

The title of this post is the title of this short new article authored by Franklin Zimring available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Persons under 18 are in the very early years of sexual maturity and lack both experience and perspective.  When juveniles commit sexual offenses, the behavior is typically not violent and most often involves conduct only referred to authorities because of an age difference between the offender and the victim.  Rates of future sexual offending in later years are quite low for most juvenile sex offenders and on current data the presence or absence of a juvenile sex offense is not a significant predictor of sexual offending in young adulthood.  Under these circumstances, requiring registration and public notification of juvenile sex offenders is very poor crime control policy as well as gross injustice to the juvenile offender.

April 5, 2017 at 11:27 AM | Permalink


We had a horrible juvenile statutory rape case here in Ky. a few years ago, in Woodford County. The girl was 13 and the boy was 15. Both were younger than the age of consent, age 16. They had "dated" for 2 years before they decided to try sex together. All of their trysts occurred at the girl's parents' house, as she invited the older boy over for sex when her parents were away. Her parents found naked pics of her and the boy on her iPhone, and learned of the sexual encounters when they questioned her about the pics. The boy was prosecuted in juvenile court, but the girl was not prosecuted at all. The boy pleaded guilty, was removed from his parents home and sent to a Ky. Juvenile Facility until he turned 18, and had to register as a sex offender. His case was appealed to Circuit Court, then the Court of Appeals and finally, to the Ky. Supreme Court. After oral arguments, the Ky. Attorney General's Office sent a letter to the Court, advising that it lacked jurisdiction to resolve the appeal, because the boy's lawyer had failed to make a conditional guilty plea in juvenile court. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, and the boy iis stuck with his convictions. This seems like a horrible miscarriage of justice.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Apr 5, 2017 11:33:08 AM

I consider the Sex Offender Registry to be a form of regulatory quackery. Quackery is a type of fraud, a crime of stealing tax dollars, and returning nothing of value. I have a long list of litigation. If federal funds are involved in any way, I may decide to file a qui tam claim against all sex offender registries. But, Jim, thanks for bringing up this case. It reminded me to put this subject on the list. I hope to take down a state, one day. To deter.

All who support smaller government should support the repeal of the Eleventh Amendment, and the resumption of Ninth Amendment jurisprudence. Immunity grows an entire enterprise. Liability shrinks it. A couple of legal attacks, the reptilian and predatory lawyer bully and tyrant will go away.

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 5, 2017 11:59:51 AM

These registries could have a radicalizing effect on those who have to register and make them easy recruits for extremist groups of either the right and left. Think about it for a minute. If having to register makes it well nigh impossible to reintegrate into society, then a former sex offender will feel that he or she has less stake in our society. Once a person feels that he or she has less stake in our society or our country, that person could become an easy convert to any group that wants to rebel against the government.

These de facto disenfranchised people made up a major component of followers of such types of unsavory people as Jim Jones, etc. Political bosses decades ago built machines by mobilizing the disenfranchised, whether they be ex-convicts, minorities, ethnic groups, etc. into city machines that could get out votes for the boss. In other words, disenfranchisement, in this case by the sex offender registries, could be a breeding ground for new recruits for any opportunistic movement that needs new "boots on the ground." The only way to prevent this from happening is to reintegrate all former convicts, including ex-sex offenders, back into our society so that they will feel a stake in protecting our country.

Posted by: william r. delzell | Apr 6, 2017 9:35:17 AM

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