Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

The ongoing legacy of the great satanic sex abuse panic

May 28th, 2015

“Ultimately, the panic and power of suggestion was pervasive enough to dupe our entire criminal justice system, as dozens of innocent people were sent to prison for crimes for which there was no evidence other than the coerced testimony of kids, and for which those same defendants would later be exonerated.”

Read the article by Radley Balko in the Washington Post.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

Please Send a Birthday Card to Joseph Allen

May 24th, 2015

May 29th is Joseph Allen’s birthday. Joseph is a dear friend and his is perhaps the most tragic case I have encountered. You can read about it here.

Here is Joseph’s prison address. A card from you would brighten his day!

Joseph Lee Allen #A293-486
Grafton Correctional Institution
2500 South Avon Beldon Road
Grafton, Ohio 44044-9802

Thank you!


Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

“Satanic” Day-Care Operator’s Conviction Tossed

May 22nd, 2015

The NCRJ has long sponsored the case of Dan and Fran Keller.

“Beginning in 1991, Fran and Dan Keller, who ran a day care out of their Austin home, committed unspeakable acts against their charges — they put one in a swimming pool with a baby-eating shark; they forced the kids to watch as they dismembered an infant; they flew the children to Mexico, where they were raped by soldiers, before flying them back to the day care in time to be picked up by their parents.

“Except, possibly, just maybe, perhaps, none of that ever happened. Incredibly, even though the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday overturned the charges against Fran Keller because of “false evidence,” the court denied her claims of actual innocence.”

Read the full article by Craig Malisow in HoustonPress.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

The Shadowy Realm of Civil Commitment

May 4th, 2015

Lelaind knew he’d test positive for marijuana. But after spending the past few years bouncing in and out of jail, mostly for minor parole violations, he wasn’t afraid of another 30-day stretch. I can do that standing on my head, he thought.

That was in 2006, when Lelaind was 26 years old. He’s been kept under lock and key ever since. His problem wasn’t the drug bust itself. But the bust prompted the authorities to review Lelaind’s checkered past. As a teenager, he had been convicted for sexual abuse against a minor — and had served his time.

That fact, along with other aspects of his criminal and life history, were entered into the “Static-99,” a little-known but highly influential questionnaire that critics contend is being tragically misused. The test spit out a score that set him on the path to being locked up in a state psychiatric facility. Why? Because he might commit another crime in the future. He doesn’t know if he will ever be released.

Read the article by Peter Aldhous in Buzzfeed.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

Day one of ‘San Antonio Four’ hearing

April 23rd, 2015

The “San Antonio Four” appeared in court Wednesday for the first time since they were convicted and sentenced for sexual assault in the late 90’s.

These four women — were sent to prison for more than a decade, after being accused of raping and threatening two young girls with a gun.

The four were let out about three years ago on bond, based on new evidence…now the defense says they have even more new evidence.

Read the article by Andrew Lofholm of News 4 San Antonio.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

Is Shaken Baby Syndrome the New Satanic Panic?

April 11th, 2015

“It’s never simple when science suffers a shakeup. The road to the truth is littered with fallen experts who were disgraced when they tried to disprove—or prove—the common wisdom, be it that the earth revolves around the sun or that witches float. Today’s researchers are fighting to restore logic in the debate over vaccinations, global warming, and the increasingly hazy medical condition called Shaken Baby Syndrome, whose adherents accuse, pursue and prosecute an estimated 250 parents, babysitters and other caretakers each year.”

Read the article by Amy Nicholson in LA Weekly.


Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

California’s Sane New Approach to Sex Offenders

April 4th, 2015

“Why did you write a book about the sex offender registry?”

“When I saw the research on the registry I was really shocked at how pointless it is. And it was shocking because usually, when you research something, there’s ambiguity—there are some good things and there are some bad things. But with the registry, there’s really no research that shows it’s effective at all.”

Read the interview with NCRJ Director Emily Horowitz in Slate.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

Stop the Sex Offender Registry Panic

March 30th, 2015

“How did you arrive at taking up reform of the sex offender registry as a cause?

“Well, I’m interested in keeping kids safe and I’m also interested in when our fears don’t match reality. That began when I let my son ride the subway and everyone told me, “Don’t you watch ‘Law & Order’?” I was called “America’s worst mom” for trusting him on the subway, even though from my own personal experience, both as a New Yorker and as a reporter, I knew it’s really quite safe. So then I started hearing about other things that we worry about that are actually a lot safer than we think — for instance, in the suburbs, parents are driving their kids to the bus stop. Then I looked up the statistics and it turned out that only between 11 and 13 percent of kids are walking to school anymore — which, I walked to school when I was a kid. I looked up whether it’s really dangerous to wait at the bus stop and, in fact, the No. 1 way that kids die is as passengers in cars. So it seemed strange that we were obsessing about kidnapping and predators and such when the biggest danger to kids is putting them in the car and driving them to the mall.”

Read the interview with Lenore Skenazy in Salon.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

A Disputed Diagnosis Imprisons Parents

March 23rd, 2015

Read these articles in the Washington Post on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

Case of “San Antonio Four” Set to Enter its Final Act

March 19th, 2015

“On April 22, the case will enter its final act as the two alleged victims take the stand. Now in their late 20s, one still maintains the abuse took place, and the other says the two were coerced to make a false accusation. After each is cross-examined, a judge will decide the likely truth — essentially who is more credible — and make a recommendation to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The state’s highest criminal court will then decide whether the women should be declared innocent and entitled to compensation from the state, or, in an unlikely but plausible scenario, sent back to prison.”

Read the full article by Maurice Chammah in The Texas Tribune.