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January 10, 2011

Louisiana judges not using authority to order chemical castration for sex offenders

This local article from Louisiana, headlined "New law for sex offenders not used; chemical castration available, unapplied," reveals one reason why it is hard to find out if a chemical response to sex offending is really worth trying:

Few, if any, judges appear to be taking advantage of a 2008 law that allows them to sentence sexual offenders to chemical castration.

Pam LaBorde, spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections, said she could not find any inmates who must undergo castration as part of his sentence for a sex crime under the new law.

The law, which was heralded by Gov. Bobby Jindal, gives judges the option of ordering injections of medroxyprogesterone acetate, which suppresses a man’s sex drive by reducing testosterone levels.

The law applies to the crimes of aggravated rape, forcible rape, second-degree sexual battery, aggravated incest, molestation of a juvenile when the victim is under age 13 and aggravated crime against nature. The injections are mandatory on a second offense.

Previously, certain offenders could be ordered to undergo chemical castration only if they had two or more convictions of a sex-related crime or their victim was 12 or younger. Jindal said in a statement that he wanted to create a deterrent to “heinous and disgusting crimes. We think it’s critical to give the judicial system and our law enforcement officials every tool possible to punish these monsters and keep them away from our children,” the governor said.

Assistant District Attorney Sue Bernie, who prosecutes sex crimes for the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office, said she is unlikely to request that a judge sentence an offender to chemical castration under the new law. “Quite frankly, the legislation is ill-advised,” she said. “It’s not that simple. It doesn’t cure it.”

Bernie said she knows of no one in East Baton Rouge Parish who has been ordered to undergo chemical castration. She said the process fails to cure offenders of their deviant urges.

Former Democratic state Sen. Nick Gautreaux, who sponsored the legislation, disagrees. He said the process works as long as it is coupled with therapy.

Gautreaux said judges likely are not using the law because they are unfamiliar with it. “It’s a new law. It just got passed,” he said. Gautreaux said offenders should be chemically castrated regardless of whether they molest one child or 20.

Prosecutor Roger Hamilton with the 15th Judicial District in Vermilion, Acadia and Lafayette parishes said he recently tried to use chemical castration as a bargaining chip with a repeat sex offender.

Hamilton said he offered Lance Barton 25 years in prison as long as he agreed to be chemically castrated for in the molestation of a 10-year-old girl. Barton rejected the offer and pleaded not guilty. He was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Barton had prior sex crime convictions in Alexandria, Baton Rouge and Livingston Parish — making him eligible for prosecution as a habitual offender.

After the latest conviction, Hamilton said, he opted to bring Barton back to court for prosecution as a habitual offender rather than push for chemical castration. Habitual offenders face life in prison. “With a life sentence, you will never be around kids again,” Hamilton said.

January 10, 2011 at 11:19 AM | Permalink


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this can be a good reason????

"After 35 years in prison for a rape that DNA proved he didn't commit, James Bain, 54, is at home in West Tampa"

Posted by: claudio giusti, italia | Jan 10, 2011 1:33:26 PM

was this thing ever submitted to court review?

Posted by: Joe | Jan 10, 2011 2:15:55 PM

this can be a second reason ?????

"DNA test results that came back barely a week after Cornelius Dupree Jr. was paroled in July excluded him as the person who attacked a Dallas woman in 1979, prosecutors said Monday. Dupree was just 20 when he was sentenced to 75 years in prison in 1980."

Posted by: claudio giusti, italia | Jan 10, 2011 2:47:38 PM

wouldn't have mattered joe! the us courts right up to the u.s. supreme court have been routenly tossing the constution especialy when it covers sex crimes.

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 11, 2011 11:43:57 AM

That's right Rod. The problem is, people are too busy watching Sarah Palin spend $45,000 to kill one caribou, while their freedoms are slowly being taken away.


Posted by: Huh? | Jan 11, 2011 10:15:43 PM

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