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Prof. Janus establishes center devoted to sex-offender litigation, policy


Mitchell Hamline School of Law is pleased to announce the creation of a center devoted to tracking litigation and encouraging effective public policy related to sexual offenders.

Directed by Professor Eric Janus, a leading national expert on sexual violence law and policy, the Sex Offense Litigation and Policy Resource Center collects and disseminates information about cases related to sex-offender policy and laws. Supported by a grant from the Vital Projects Fund, the center seeks to facilitate communication, sharing, and the development of strategies among lawyers, advocates, and academics who seek a more sensible and effective public policy on sexual violence prevention.

“Our aim is to create a national network of lawyers and social scientists dedicated to holding our sexual violence policies accountable both to the Constitution and to the growing body of knowledge about effective prevention strategies,” said Janus, who has written extensively and participated in impact litigation on sex-offender laws. The former president and dean of William Mitchell College of Law, a predecessor to Mitchell Hamline, Janus is the author of two books on this subject: “Failure to Protect: America’s Sexual Predator Laws and the Rise of the Preventive State” and “Sexual Predators: Society, Risk, and the Law” (with Prentky and Barbaree).

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  1. Hmmm...

    Seems promising. Just one concern: From reading Professor Eric Janus’ profile, I see that in his bio, he “is interested in the effectiveness of risk assessment.”

    Someone ought to warn Professor Janus of the many flaws to the Static-99R before he transforms into one of the “experts” that become one of H. Karl Hanson’s phrenological apostles. Those that do fall into the trap cannot be blamed, as Hanson has — along with his Static “developer” cohorts and/or Carleton University students have — authored/co-authored nearly every “study” that “validates” the Static-99R. However, many in the forensic psychology and legal field are too often tunnel-visioned in the quest for a magical crystal ball that they don’t see the blatant conflict-of-interest in citing Hanson, Hanson’s Carleton students, and/or Hanson’s fellow ‘developers.’ As someone else mentioned in a different article, it’s as simple as looking at the footnotes or reference citation to see “Hanson” and/or his minions in predicating/underlying ‘studies.’ If anything, Hanson is a master at self-marketing — as very few have questioned his (or his fellow developers’) tactics in being able to manipulate his way to author/co-author nearly every ‘validating study.’

    The point I’m trying to make: There is no magical crystal ball in the risk assessment of “sex offenders.” Most do not recidivate. And ‘sex offender’ registries only cause recidivism because they inhibit a person and one’s ability to successfully reintegrate into society. And certainly, no law should be based on these “assessments.”

    • David Kennerly, Samizdat Scribbler

      He already knows this; he’s an expert in his field and has long been one of the Registry’s biggest detractors. He wrote “Failure To Protect.”

      • Hmmm...

        Professor Ira Ellman is also considered an expert in his field. Yet in Ellman’s paper exposing SCOTUS’ errors in McKune v. Lile and Smith v. Doe, he relied on the Static-99/R’s statistics to make his point. It seems to me that if Ellman fell for H. Karl Hanson’s ploy, that Janus could also fall for it. But maybe I’m mistaken?

        Nonetheless, I have yet to read “Failure To Protect.” Is the book worth purchasing? If you (or anyone else) have read it, is there any mention of the so called “risk assessments” like the Static-99/R in the book? If so, what is Janus’ opinion of them?

        • TS

          How did Ira use the Hanson data to make his point? Please elaborate on that. Did he use it to validate Hanson or refute it in his argument about the bogus statistical data being used ad nauseum.

        • Hmmm...

          @TS … Professor Ellman–who I have much respect for–used the Static to refute the bogus statistical data in McKune and Smith. However, at least in my opinion (your’s and others’ may differ), by using the Static he also gave the impression that Hanson and Hanson’s “tool” deserved an aura of undeserved credibility. Otherwise, I think that the “Frightening and High” paper by Professor Ellman was a masterpiece.

        • TS

          I guess a review of the data set used by Ira against Hanson is needed to fully understand the refute, e.g. age, offense, period afterward, etc…you know the drill, to see if undeserved cred was backhandedly given.

        • Hmmm...

          @TS … Any review of said data set would need Hanson–and perhaps other developers (Phenix, Fernandez, Harris, Helmus, Thornton)–as coauthors. (Because what review of the Static data set would be complete without the obligatory conflict of interest to make sure the results are “validated” per Hanson’s liking.) You know the drill. 😛

        • TS

          But of course!! Without that validation, er, conflict of interest, nothing counts or can be considered legit!!

    • Stephen B.

      I’ve literally read hundreds of arguments on this website against the Static 99 Revised and attorneys/researchers rarely argue against the obvious. Maybe this Janus guy will help fight against Karl Hanson’s monstrosities? Anyway, I will e-mail him to let him know about out concerns of the Static 99.

      • Hmmm...

        Good idea. I might e-mail him too regarding the Static-99R. There definitely needs to be more publications that expose the flaws of what California, under the misleading title “SARATSO,” intends to do in three or so years.

  2. Chris F

    If this means a place where the best legal strategies against the registry can be found and used by all, then GREAT!

    The current way of doing things doesn’t work. You’ve got lawyers that don’t do research and blindly follow some course of action that hasn’t worked before. You’ve got lawyers that won’t be creative and just keep trying to improve on the past stuff that didn’t work. Then you’ve got what people here have had to try to do all by themselves, which is start fighting the registry in new ways Pro-Se that haven’t been tried before, or were not tried in the right way originally and abandoned.

    We need a place with proper discussions and debates among scholars, lawyers, and the public that allow all to reach the right conclusions and paths so we quit having bad precedents set by bad lawsuits.

    • ML

      I think this has got to be positive. I would hope that if they have an non profit status that they may be able to use Watson, the IBM thinking computer for research. It is a trove of data that not only can recall, but think. Then people can use that info and form different strategies.

    • David Kennerly, Samizdat Scribbler

      I’ve been waiting for a law school to establish a sex offender justice program for many years and have long felt that this is our most promising route to major reform. This is now, I believe, the second such school to take up this cause. Over the last several decades we have seen “forensic psychology” schools and enrollments explode in popularity and influence. This offers the best antidote to the mass-delusions inculcated by the sex offender industrial complex.

  3. E

    How many of us should be enrolling in programs like this one at his law school? We may need to focus on getting a JD, whether or not we can take the bar exam, and getting more litigators active on our issue.

    • cool RC

      Come to campus twice per semester

      Are you even allowed to come to this campus?

    • R M

      @E Have you looked at the tuition prices? $21,730 PER SEMESTER.

    • The Static-99R Is A Scam

      @cool RC: I laughed out loud at your comment because it’s true. Assuming that any registrant were to apply and be accepted: Are we even allowed to come to the campus twice per semester?

      @R M: Sadly, $21,730 per semester is about the going rate for earning a law degree nowadays. That’s why newly graduated attorneys are often desperate to bill at ridiculous rates. Many attorneys graduate with well over $100k+ in student loans. But $21,730 does seem a bit high for a distance course. On-campus courses cost about the same.

    • AJ

      @cool RC:
      Yes. MN has no presence/residency restrictions, and doesn’t even publish Tiers I or II to the public. You can even be in MN for two weeks without having to register!

      @R M:
      Wm. Mitchell and Hamline are/were, in their own right prior to merging a few years ago, very good law schools. They were essentially competing against one another, with both losing out. Yes, pricey, but they turn out good product. The late Chief Justice Warren Burger was an alumnus of Wm. Mitchell. But yeah, they have throat-choking tuition prices.

  4. MickeyS

    I have to put my 2 cents in. There is no damn test that can be given to gauge a persons behavior in the future. To do so is only looking at a crystal ball and telling your fortune. No one knows the future. It can’t be done.

    Now, look at how the person has behaved in the recent past 5 to 7 years and you have got a picture of what is possible.

    • The Static-99R Is A Scam


      As you can see by my username, I share your perspective that fortune-telling tests do *not* exist. I also agree with the time frame that you mention. Five to seven years is a fair time frame to review one’s offense-free record to determine whether registration should be applied. Of course, I disagree with registration — not only because we are subjected to it but — because there is little evidence to support the fact that they prevent crime. Perversely, the evidence shows that registration may actually *cause* crime — and in theory, this should be enough for the public *not* to support registration schemes. But despite the correlation between having a registry and increased crime, those who support a registry will claim that they should be given the registry information so that they can decide whether to buy a house in the area, make proper parenting decisions, know whether a neighbor(s) is a registrant — and/or want the scheme imposed as either a deterrent and/or so that they can see people suffer (i.e. punishment).

      The whole thing is sick. But yeah, the whole “minority report” fortune-telling tests add another dimension to an already sick registry.

  5. kind of living

    everyone was sure that Sigmund Freud had it all right too .

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