Friday, October 21, 2005
An 18 year old guy was having sex with a 14 year old guy; if one of them had been a female, the maximum sentence would have been 15 months; instead, the dude got 17 years. The Kansas Supreme Court unanimously held that punishnent of gay underage sex much more harshly than straight underage sex was unconstitutional. Story here, opinion here. [Jack Chin]
Sunday, October 2, 2005
From ReutersUK: "NEW YORK (Reuters) - A $2,000 an hour prostitute known as New York's No. 1 Escort pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of money laundering and prostitution that stemmed from her bragging in the media about her work. Canadian Natalia McLennan, 25, sobbed uncontrollably in Manhattan Criminal Court after she was unable to post $50,000 bail and was taken away in handcuffs to jail. The charges against McLennan came after she bragged in several interviews about her professional exploits, including posing provocatively for the cover of New York Magazine under the headline "N.Y.'s # 1 Escort Reveals All." In that interview, she told the magazine she generated revenues of $1.5 million annually and kept 45 percent of that sum in return for having sex with high-roller clients of NY Confidential, a swanky Moroccan-themed brothel in Manhattan.
McLennan showed up for her arraignment dressed in a skimpy mini-skirt, a see-through blouse and four-inch spike heels, and told the court she had no idea she would remain in custody after the hearing. She wailed as she was taken from the courtroom. She will remain in jail pending her next hearing on Monday. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Story . . . [Mark Godsey]
Monday, September 26, 2005
From a press release: William Mitchell College of Law is hosting the conference "State-of-the Art Use of Actuarial Instruments in the Forensic Assessment of Sex Offenders," Thursday, October 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Actuarial Instruments are necessary tools in the risk assessment of sexual offenders. It is important for forensic psychologists, attorneys and judges to understand their principles and limitations. This conference will review the currently accepted actuarial instruments and discuss significant factors, such as age, that impact their interpretation.
The conference will feature Dr. Howard Barbaree, professor and head of the Law and Mental Health Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. He is also the clinical director of the Law and Mental Health Program, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He has devoted much of his professional career to research, teaching and clinical practice related to sexual aggression and sexual deviance. Dr. Barbaree has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on the topic and he is co-editor of the Handbook of Sexual Assault: Issues, Theories, and Treatment of the Offender (Plenum), and The Juvenile Sex Offender (Guildford) and editor-in-chief of the journal Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment.
The conference will also feature moderators Dr. Paul Reitman, who is on the staff of four Twin Cities hospitals where he provides clinical and forensic services, and William Mitchell Vice Dean Eric S. Janus, as well as 14 additional panelists including area lawyers and doctors.
The event costs $125 per person. Register online by filling out the attached form. For more information contact Dr. Paul Reitman at (612) 508-9309.
Application will be made for 5.5 Minnesota Continuing Legal Education credits.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
CrimProfBlog is pleased to announce a first: An Op-ed by a reader, exclusive to CrimProf. Margy Love, the former U.S. Pardon Attorney who retired after 20 years at DOJ, offers some insightful analysis of the new national sex offender registry. ***
DOJ National Sex Offender Registry, by Margaret Colgate Love
I have recently seen an article by Regina Schofield, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, announcing the Justice Department's new National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR). The article explains that Attorney General Gonzales believes that "real time access to public sex offender information is one critical resource for Americans to help identify sex offenders beyond their own streets or states." It points out that "the NSOPR currently gives millions of parents, grandparents, and other concerned citizens easy-to-use and free access to information on two out of every five registered sex offenders in the United States." It concludes hopefully that "Thanks to the National Sex Offender Public Registry, they can now take a proactive and meaningful step in protecting a child's life."
This article made me really mad, mostly at those in my old agency who are trying to pass off this half-baked mean-spirited incitement to vigilante justice as a responsible public safety measure.
. . .
Full Text here
Thursday, September 15, 2005
From MSNBC.com: Washington (AP)--On Wednesday, the US House approved the Children's Safety Act, "which, among its many provisions, creates a national Web site for child sex offenders and stipulates that sex felons face up to 20 years in prison for failing to comply with registration requirements...The sex offender bill...also requires felony offenders to register for life and authorizes the death penalty for sex crimes resulting in the killing of a child." House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., called the bill a response to a "'national crisis' in child sex offenses. He said that of some 550,000 convicted sex offenders in the nation, the whereabouts of 100,000 are unknown." Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., commented that 'We track library books better than we do sexual predators.'
In addition to tightened sex-offender monitoring, the bill also expands the "current hate crime law to include some crimes involving sexual orientation, gender and disability. Under current law, the federal government assists local and state authorities prosecuting limited types of crimes based on the victim’s race, religion or ethnic background." Sensenbrenner expects the bill to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the end of the year. Story... [Mark Godsey]
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Two courts said such evidence is not barred by rape shield in August; the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in State v. Hooper, 2005 WL 1981789 (Tenn.Crim.App., Aug 16, 2005) and the Utah Supreme Court in State v. Tarrats, 2005 WL 1868861, 532 Utah Adv. Rep. 3, 2005 UT 50--but in each case the error was harmless or the foundation unproved. [Jack chin]
Thursday, August 25, 2005
From The Standard.com: "In a landmark decision, the High Court ruled Wednesday that current laws on the age of consent discriminate against homosexuals. Justice Michael Hartmann acted in favor of William Leung, 20, who launched a Judicial Review against the government for what he considered unfair laws against gays. Hartmann said existing laws were "demeaning of gay men,'' stereotype them as "deviant,'' and interfere with their private lives on the assumption that homosexuality was "morally reprehensible.'' Civil rights groups described the ruling as "a historical moment for the Hong Kong gay community.'' Hartmann declared that four sections of the law covering homosexual acts, on the books since 1991, were unconstitutional. The Basic Law "must allow for a remedy in appropriate circumstances to those who say that their fundamental rights have been undermined by primary legislation,'' he ruled. Hartmann said that Leung, should not have to face prosecution and life imprisonment before he can use the courts to challenge the constitutionality of laws that infringe upon his rights. Previously, sexual intimacy between two men below the age of 21 was a criminal offence even though sexual intimacy between heterosexuals and lesbians is allowed after the age of 16. Group sex between gay men, even though in private and conducted by consenting adults, was also criminal, while such activities between heterosexuals and lesbians above 16 was allowed. An act of sodomy, submitted as the natural sexual expression of gay men, below the age of 21 was a criminal offence with possible life imprisonment if it was conducted between two men.
During the trial in July, the government conceded that three of the four sections were in breach of the Bill of Rights and Article 25 of the Basic Law safeguarding equal rights because they unfairly distinguished between homosexuals and heterosexuals. However, it maintained that the criminalization of sodomy between men under the age of 21 was not in breach of the constitution since sodomy between a man and a woman under 21 was equally a criminal offence. The judge added that the proposal not to make women criminally liable "demonstrates a reliance on the stereotyped view that the female is per se submissive, the man always sexually the active partner.'' The reason put forward by the government to make both partners of a homosexual act of sodomy below the age of 21 was the "potential for blackmail.''
Citing an Equal Opportunities report to Legco in 2001, Hartmann ruled this attitude exemplified "stereotypical assumptions made of the homosexual community.'' Hartmann also declared that criminalizing sodomy for homosexuals below the age of 21 was indirectly discriminatory of gay men since it deprives them of their natural sexual expression. "Put plainly, heterosexual couples may have sexual intercourse under the age of 21, homosexual couples may not,'' he said.
Leung said that previously, he could not form physical homosexual relationships because of this "criminal threat above my'' head. [Mark Godsey]
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Members of the public in Sweden are outraged over the fact that a man with a criminal record for rape was able to commit additional rapes by getting a prescription for Viagra. Some are calling for background checks before Viagra is dispensed. Story . . . [Mark Godsey]
Wednesday, August 3, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
One of my new colleagues at Arizona, who was not born in this country, sent me a link to some arrest photos of johns posted in the Internet, and asked if this was common. I think it is; some post just the johns (including Chicago), others men and women arrested. [Jack Chin]
Sunday, July 24, 2005
From post-gazette.com (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette): In efforts to reform juvenile sex offenders, "Allegheny County (uses) a program that keeps (juvenile sex) offenders in their homes and runs on the assumption that children are not miniature adults and that most first-time juvenile offenders will not become adult sex criminals. That is counter to the trend in much of the country....Many jurisdictions are seeking tougher sentences for juveniles and the ability to treat them like adults. 'There is a very strong current that sex offenders are sex offenders and they don't stop,' said Dr. David Kolko of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, who is the director of the program (used by Allegheny County)...'But a young offender is not the same as a 35-year-old pedophile. That means not taking it lightly, but not equating them with adults.' The vast majority of juvenile offenders don't go on to be adult offenders, and most first-time offenders are never arrested for another sexual offense, Kolko said." Story... [Mark Godsey]
A total of 228 children have been referred to the Special Services Unit/Services for Adolescent and Family Enrichment program since it started in 1998. Of the 163 juveniles who consented to research follow-up and have now been discharged, three were sent to a juvenile facility by the judge for disclosing a prior or a new sexual offense; another 21 were sent to a facility because of nonsexual offenses or for violating the terms of their probation. Of the 106 juveniles that the program has been monitoring for two years following their discharge, two (1.9 percent) have been adjudicated for new sexual offenses, and three (2.8 percent) for non-sexual offenses, Kolko said.
Juvenile court judges order children and adolescents that they deem good candidates into the program. Repeat offenders, those who committed violent crimes, and those who committed offenses against family members or who have very bad family situations are not sent to the program. The child stays in his or her home and is seen by a probation officer two or three times a week -- at a group session with other offenders, as well as at weekly family and individual sessions with Western Psych therapists. Treatment typically lasts a year, though some children have successfully completed the program in as little as 10 months and others have continued for as long as 15 months.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
NACDL.com: From 10 News, Tampa Bay, FL: "Hillsborough County has approved a new policy banning registered sex offenders and predators from using any of the county's hurricane shelters. Sheriff David Gee of Hillsborough County [advised], "My advice (for sex offenders) is to make arrangements in advance and go somewhere else because I think it's going to be a problem."
At least one family has challenged the law on the basis that a youthful offender may later reform himself, father a family, and have nowhere safe to take his family based on his juvenile offenses. Story... [Mark Godsey]
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Because of its loose reporting rules, some residents of Nevada believe the state has become a haven for sex offenders, and that the state is bearing the burden in the form of recidivism. The Nevada legislature is acting to toughen reporting an other laws on convicted sex offenders. Story . . . [Mark Godsey]
Friday, June 17, 2005
From MSNBC.com: "SAN JOSE, Calif. - A convicted child molester jailed in California may have committed sex crimes against thousands of victims, police said Thursday after finding computers, notebooks and meticulous, handwritten lists of boy’ names and apparent codes for various sex acts.San Jose Police Lt. Scott Cornfield described 63-year-old Dean Arthur Schwartzmiller as “one of the most active child molesters we’ve ever seen.” During a search of his bedroom in San Jose, police discovered binders full of child porn and numerous logs with lists of more than 36,000 children’s names — mostly boys — and codes that appear to indicate how he abused them. “If one-tenth of these numbers are accurate, we’re looking at hundreds of victims in a number of states. The reason we want to tell the world about this is because we believe he’s been involved in child molestations in a number of countries,” Cornfield said." Story . . . [Mark Godsey]
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Member nations of the G8 are working together to create an international database of photographs depicting child pornography. Authorities from each country and other participating nations will enter copies of all known pictures of child pornography in their possession into the database. Similar to existing databases involving DNA and fingerprints, when police find a photograph that they suspect involves a minor, they can enter it into the database. If it matches a picture in the database, then the cops will know they have found child porn and can make an arrest. Story from News.Telegraph . . . [Mark Godsey]
Wednesday, June 8, 2005
From CNN.com: "TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) -- A federal appeals court upheld two Florida laws that require sex offenders to register with the state after getting out of prison and to submit DNA samples. A group of sex offenders challenged the laws as violations of their federal constitutional rights, but the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed in an opinion issued Monday. The registration law was enacted after the 1994 kidnap, rape and murder of 7-year-old Megan Kanka by a convicted sex offender in New Jersey. Her slaying spurred the creation of similar "Megan's Law" statutes nationwide. The requirement is "rationally related to a legitimate government interest," Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr. wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel. The DNA collection law requires samples from people convicted of a variety of sex crimes as well as non-sex crimes including any offenses using firearms, murder, burglary, carjacking and elderly abuse."
The decision, John Doe v. James T. Moore, is here. [Mark Godsey]