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The ‘Frightening and High’ Factoid About Sex Offender Recidivism Still Stalks Courts Across the Land, Completely Untethered From Actual Numbers

Arizona Supreme Court overturned a state ban on bail for people accused of sexual assault “when the proof is evident or the presumption great,” concluding that the categorical exclusion violated the constitutional right to due process. Critics of that decision are urgingthe U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case, Arizona v. Goodman, and their arguments highlight the continuing influence of misconceptions about the “frightening and high risk of recidivism” among sex offenders. Full Article

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  1. Joe123

    What a well-written piece!

  2. Tim

    @Justice Kennedy is Catholic, so I’m sure he knew a good deal about recidivism among gay priests who’s behavior lead to scandal involving young men and boys. He quoted information that supported what he already had personal experience with just by being a Catholic. But Kennedy was but one of five Catholic court members in DOEs. The mistake provided collateral cover justifying government USE of databases that essentially made NULL the following equation: Machine Need > Human need.
    The registries databases are properties, the mandated demand is a form of indentured servitude – electronic, the commodity being (useful) data. Such a regime is the first of human kind. If a lowly state can indenture for a felony crime, a citizen to a database, it’s maintaining for life; Then a more powerful FED can go how far with data base use???????

  3. TS

    A contributor slamming a fellow Reason contributor from a blog…Interesting…

    • Notorious D.I.K. / Kennerly

      Volokh is sort of its own thing and Reason agreed to host it without exerting any editorial control over their content. I’m not convinced that it’s a very good arrangement. I’m not sure why they left the Post but Eugene Volokh is not my favorite legal scholar on sex-related issues and, apparently, neither is his associate Paul Cassell. Volokh is much more of a conservative than a libertarian. If they want to offer a platform to former Soviet refuseniks turned brilliant legal minds, I would have much preferred that Reason was posting the thoughts of former Judge Alex Kozinski.

      • TS

        Thanks DK. I was wondering what your take was going to be and am in agreement with you.

        As for the written piece, excellently written and one I believe will get wide reading, especially when people push it out to others to read. If the case is accepted by SCOTUS, then I hope the 17 legal scholars that have provided two other amici briefs will provide another one here recommending they deny the premise and find it unconstitutional based upon data today. Heck, maybe they will submit a brief asking the court to deny accepting it (I think they can do that, right?).

        • David

          @TS: The responding party can certainly present the argument that revisiting the lower court’s decision is unjustified.

  4. Eric

    What a great article, if only all the supreme court members could read it.

  5. Matt

    A very well written article that will likely be ignored by just about everybody. The entire scam of today’s version of the SOR is based on this bogus, sixteen year old statement and the following decision by SCOTUS. Think of the amount of political capital, taxpayer money, and earnings for law enforcement, prisons, lawyers, monitoring companies/technology, internet extortionists and therapists that is involved here. These are the true reasons for the existence of the SOR. It has absolutely nothing to do with the public good, safety, or “protecting the children”. The people in power are doing this for the political capital and the actual capital. The people who oppose this are doing so because it’s the right thing to do. Because this is true, we need to force the courts to kill the SOR because it’s unconstitutional. Asking them to do the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing isn’t going to work. Human nature is very predictable. Need proof? Look at the responses by both government and business when the royal family of a certain country murdered and dismembered a journalist. They got caught. Nobody cared. Now they’re going to prosecute and execute the people they sent to perform said murder. Yes, it’s a different country. Yes, I am generalizing. Yes, human nature is still predictable.

    • Will Allen

      Exactly right. Which is why the Registries should be referred to as the $EX Offender Registries and $ORs. Never discount all the money as the true motivation. Never. Everyone loves to make $$$ from “$EX offenders”.

      The “treatment” scam is the largest scam of all. Nothing but big government promoted and sanctioned theft.

      Which reminds me … when I got caught, LE there stole around $1,000 from me. No one ever heard about it or saw it. I’ll never be convinced that LE is not a bunch of criminals. The bad 90% of them give the good 10% a bad name.

  6. Facts should matter

    That statement is merely an uneducated and biased opinion from Kennedy which has morphed into what is referred to as the “Illusory truth effect.”

    • TS

      I love the Wired story (thanks for posting it again and continue to do so) and believe it should be in continual circulation along with the false facts being refuted and the current data in front of the NCSC Dustin has put in many places of late. Folks need to stop drinking the kook-aid because the sky is not falling and being gullible is unfashionable.

  7. wonderin

    “the rate of recidivism of UNTREATED offenders has been estimated to be as high as 80%.”
    Perhaps so? But so what!

    All that should say to people is, Hey! A person who has Not been convicted of a sex offense is waaaaay more dangerous to society than those who have been arrested and placed in the correction and treatment system.

    Why are we comparing apples to oranges? And what bearing does this statement have on an unconstitutional registry that serves no other purpose than to blatantly interfere with the ongoing “treatment” and rejuvenation of individuals striving to become a better person.

    When clearly “Treatment” is so very important in reducing sexual assault both before and after the fact, why in the world are we not devoting our limited funds to meaningful prevention for both the innocent and guilty instead of the ever growing and popular shame and blame game.

  8. G4Change

    Do they even know? Do the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States know that their credibility has been tarnished by this “frightening and high” charade?
    It’s bad enough that the entire judicial branch of government has allowed itself to be emasculated by continually ruling in favor of laws that effectively give the legislative and executive branch more and more power that should only be reserved for the judicial branch of government. But now we have the nation’s high court that can’t seem to remove the “stench from the room” left by this outrageous ruling that is almost 2 decades old. Are they not the laughing stock of the professional legal community??? They should be.
    I’m curious how Justice Brett Kavanaugh now views the registry. After all, he was more or less tried and convicted by the media of a sexual assault which we all now know he never committed.
    Maybe, just maybe, Justice Kavanaugh will think twice before drinking this stale Kool-Aid. Maybe, just maybe, his colleagues will too.
    We can only hope…

  9. kat

    A 1986 Psychology Today magazine article seems to be the Supreme Court’s basis for the decisions they make regarding the registry.
    I don’t think it’s that they aren’t aware of current statistics or facts. I’ve written to the justices. They’ve been made aware!
    I think they just don’t care.

    • Notorious D.I.K. / Kennerly

      If the real statistics supported their agenda then they would certainly use them. I’m sure that they would rather have better statistics than the “Psychology Today” citation but they don’t exist. No, they don’t care about the truth but what they deeply care about is keeping us under the government’s thumb. That’s their mission, as they see it.

    • WC_TN

      The article was written by Robert Freeman-Longo and in a YouTube video I saw a close-up of that infamous quote and what I remember it saying was as many as 80% of UNTREATED sex offenders re-offend. Remember, this guy was a treatment provider, so he was biased in favor of “treatment”.

      Here’s the link to the video:

      Stop the video at 32-35 seconds and read, then let the video run to 7:12 and stop again. Read the print.

      How did 35-80% of UNTREATED sex offenders get changed to the public perception that as many as 80% of ALL sex offenders re-offend?

      Sex offender treatment is not even viewed as effective by the government. Why do I say that? Because the law in my state which mandates treatment says the state operates on a NO CURE PHILOSOPHY and give a disclaimer that basically says, by requiring treatment we do not claim an offender can be cured. There are some who cannot or will not be helped by treatment. Why would such a disclaimer be inserted into state law if treatment really was the solution?

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