Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prisons and Society

The Summer issue is dedicated to mass incarceration and problems.

D├Ždalus was founded in 1955 as the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and established as a quarterly in 1958. It draws on the enormous intellectual capacity of the American Academy, whose Fellows are among the nation's most prominent thinkers in the arts, sciences, and the humanities, as well as the full range of professions and public life. Features in the recently redesigned magazine include fiction, poetry, and a Notes section with original works by distinguished members of the American Academy.

Silvia Clute writes in Oped News that one solution is called Restorative Justice. Click on title of this post to link to her article about the Conference in the U.K.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cert Granted No. 09-1454

Greene v Camreta to be heard by the High Court.

Jumping into a new controversy over child sex abuse, Tuesday to decidewhether the Constitution p the authority to interview children at school of sexual assault. The specific issue is wheth social workers must obtain a warrant before such interviews. A deputy sheriff and a state social caseworke issue of child interviews to the Court in a pai Camreta v. Greene, et al. (09-1454) and Alfor al. (09-1478).


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Innocents and Prosecutors' Misconduct

Supreme Court hears Connick v Thompson today. Will unfettered patterns of abuse go unheeded?

John Holloway writes in Slate yesterday.

Grits has good references as well.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Due process and sex offender reclassification

Wonder if recent reclass effort in Md triggers due process or other constitutional protections such as raised in recent ruling in Pennsylvania. Renchensky v. Williams, 3d Cir. (Oct. 4 2010).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Texan Freed

Here is an example of what i spoke of re wrongful conviction and reasons why they happen. Good comments at the link. Dallas has another one. wish i knew how to post a link with my new droid...
Wall St Journal carries the story too.

Convention Against Torture

Does an individual have standing to sue and if so why do victims not do so? "What to do about gitmo" by david cole.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Technology allows me to post via mobile device. I joined the new revolution due only to fact my home computer is fubar.

Taking 3 years following my release Texas's innocence commision report fails to mention at least one reason for a wrongful conviction, environmental factors and outside influence including prosecutor misconduct.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

SORNA and State Law

Here is an interesting decision from the Supreme Court on the interplay between SORNA and Montana state law. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the federal juvenile registration provision were ex post facto as applied to respondent. Respondent remains on Montana's sex offender registry; the Supreme Court certified a question that could resolve whether he must continue to register under state law independent of the fact that his federal duty to register expired in 2008, and might also violate the Ex Post Facto Clause (does, according to the Ninth).

Friday, June 04, 2010

Backing Away from the Briny Cesspool of Democratic Tyranny

From Ohio, a small legal victory. Supreme Court rules change to sex offender registration laws "required" by AWA -- the big bad Bush /Gonzo conspiracy to create a federal sex offender bureaucracy -- won't stand. Here is a link to Prof Berman's blog on it. The opinion of the Ohio Supreme Court is here.

Here is how it seems to work. Courts convict under legislated criminal law which provides for consequences of the conviction. The legislature then demands that it is within its power to take that conviction and provide for additional and other consequences without limitation. It then sits back and waits for a legal challenge by the affected citizens. The courts are then and only then compelled to decide whether the legislature has indeed exceeded its powers. Meanwhile, lives are ruined, families destroyed, costs mount, vigilantes and bigots, haters, hostile elements and ignoramuses lick their chops, and public safety suffers.

Can this be the America we have chosen to defend?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

How About Putting Only Dangerous Predators on the Registry, with Review?

Here is a good intro to a UK ruling that registration for life without periodic review violates Convention on Human Rights. About time some sensible thinking went into this. Most registrants are not the dangerous persons everybody thinks they are. Here is the link.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Registry for Drug Dealers? A Mandatory Life Sentence for Lewdness?

Now there's talk about a drug dealer registry in MA. I wonder why our law enforcement people can't track these dangerous criminals without putting them on a registry? But because nobody is really serious about stopping the drug trade it's all just more hot air.

Now mandatory minimum sentences have gone too far, as this post shows.

And here is a notable new paper titled

Public Safety, Individual Liberty, and Suspect Science: Future Dangerousness Assessments and Sex Offender Laws by Melissa Hamilton , University of Toledo College of Law,Temple Law Review, Forthcoming.

This article argues that the new preventive law focus in sex offender laws is largely ineffective and too costly to personal liberty. The application of sex offender laws involving civil commitment, sex offender registration, and residency restrictions is often based on an individualized analysis of future dangerousness, i.e., the risk the defendant will sexually recidivate. In assessing future dangerousness, experts and courts place heavy emphasis on the use of actuarial tools, basically checklists that mental health experts use to derive statistical estimates of risk. This article provides substantiation that actuarial tools, while enjoying the imprimatur of science, suffer from significant empirical faults. Yet courts are largely abandoning their gatekeeping roles in accepting the experts’ testimony using actuarial tool predictions of risk without critical review as required by the Daubert and Frye evidentiary standards. The paper theorizes that this is likely a pragmatic strategy considering the current political and public thirst for retribution against sexual predators. But, use of this empirically-challenged science exacerbates the practice of applying sex offender restrictions to inappropriately labeled individuals. Finally, this article takes advantage of the interdisciplinary trend of engaging social science with the law on expert evidence. More specifically, it offers an empirical assessment of future dangerousness opinions within the Daubert/Frye scientific evidence frameworks. The significance of the conclusion reached in this article is clear: if the law continues to rely upon suspect science that results in the wrong individuals being subject to liberty-infringing sex offender laws, then the drain on criminal justice resources will leave the truly dangerous offenders without sufficient supervision at the risk of public safety.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Nice Vacation

But it's over. Here's an interesting local posting on a pervasive national problem, money driving politics, and/or the reverse, which could be the same thing. And here we thought it could never happen in an enlightened republic of citizen legislators. Manipulating the public only becomes easier the less power the public retains. We are getting there, have been there before, and so on it goes. Interesting how a two year election cycle is not enough to ensure that we don't fall further into the pit. Term limits sure would be a welcome change.

It is called "A Growing Evil" by Katherine Heerbrandt, in the Frederick, Md, News Post. Katherine, you are so right.

And let's not forget how certain influential community leaders like to rail about "socialism" while doling it out to the corporations. What did they call it in Germany? National socialism, while the arms industry appropriated the economy. We, America, are there precisely now. Free market, ha!

A fitting, and ironic (ironic because the right in theory is the free markets crowd) reminder is the Reagan years "arms for oil" deal. People, is there no choice but to follow this to its logical conclusion? Which is, ... a hundred year of war for oil.

My solution: turn Iran into a parking lot and the sooner the better, keep the museums and mosques. It's sort of like the foreclosure crisis. The sooner we get the bad and underwater loans off the market the better we will be. People, walk (but buy cars) and rent. The mortgage banks are taking you for a ride.