ACSOL’s Conference Calls

Conference Call Recordings Online
Dial-in number: 1-712-770-8055, Conference Code: 983459

Monthly Meetings: September 21 – Phone meeting details

Emotional Support Group Meetings (Los Angeles, Sacramento, Phone)

National

VA: In Arlington, a judge must decide if a nonviolent sex offender should stay incarcerated after serving his sentence

[washingtonpost.com – 8/23/19]

Philip Fornaci is a civil rights lawyer based in Washington. Roger Lancaster is the author of “Sex Panic and the Punitive State.”
On Monday, the Circuit Court in liberal Arlington County will be the scene of a heavy-handed morality play, with prosecutors seeking lifelong incarceration for a young gay man who has already paid an extraordinary price for youthful, nonviolent sexual indiscretions.
Virginia, like 19 other states and the federal government, has a Sexually Violent Predators Act (SVPA). Under these laws, people who have completed their criminal sentences under any of a large number of sex-related offenses can be indefinitely detained in a high-security facility until the state determines that they no longer present a risk, typically never.

Civil libertarians have always objected to such practices. They smack of double jeopardy, of ex post facto punishment and of a glaring form of Catch-22: The defendant is deemed mentally fit to stand trial but is mentally unfit for release. The Supreme Court has swatted aside such objections, ruling that civil commitment is not punitive as long as the state claims that the purpose of detention is psychiatric treatment.

SVPA laws and practices refer to “mental abnormalities,” which sounds scientific. But the American Psychiatric Association has opposed such laws, citing their abuse of civil liberties and the use of unscientific “disorders” as the basis for punishment. In practice, designation as a sexually violent predator (SVP) is not based on substantial scientific research, and the therapy received by detainees in “treatment facilities” is based more on passing fads than on careful scholarship.

Nationwide, some 6,400 people are being held in civil commitment.

Galen Baughman could be one of them. At age 20, Galen pleaded guilty to two charges of illegal sexual misconduct: The first “offense” occurred 10 days after his 14th birthday (he was charged as an adult six years later) and the second when he was 19. Neither charge involved violence or deception; neither “victim” participated in his prosecution. As a consequence of an unwise plea agreement, he served six and a half years in prison, much of the time in solitary confinement.

Read more

 

Leave a Reply

We welcome a lively discussion with all view points - keeping in mind...  
  • Your submission will be reviewed by one of our volunteer moderators. Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  • Please keep the tone of your comment civil and courteous. This is a public forum.
  • Please stay on topic - both in terms of the organization in general and this post in particular.
  • Please refrain from general political statements in (dis)favor of one of the major parties or their representatives.
  • Please take personal conversations off this forum.
  • We will not publish any comments advocating for violent or any illegal action.
  • We cannot connect participants privately - feel free to leave your contact info here. You may want to create a new / free, readily available email address.
  • Please refrain from copying and pasting repetitive and lengthy amounts of text.
  • Please do not post in all Caps.
  • If you wish to link to a serious and relevant media article, legitimate advocacy group or other pertinent web site / document, please provide the full link. No abbreviated / obfuscated links.
  • We suggest to compose lengthy comments in a desktop text editor and copy and paste them into the comment form
  • We will not publish any posts containing any names not mentioned in the original article.
  • Please choose a user name that does not contain links to other web sites
  • Please send any input regarding moderation or other website issues to moderator [at] all4consolaws [dot] org
ACSOL, including but not limited to its board members and agents, does not provide legal advice on this website.  In addition, ACSOL warns that those who provide comments on this website may or may not be legal professionals on whose advice one can reasonably rely.  
 

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer this question to prove that you are not a robot *

.