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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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.”

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.

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.

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.

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