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

Unheard but Unafraid: The Story of the San Antonio 4

August 14th, 2016

“There was never a day I just never stopped fighting or looked for strength from God. I never gave up,” Elizabeth said. “I had three friends incarcerated with me and my family, and that was my strength to say I’m not giving up and the truth will one day come forward.”

Then, she struck up a friendship with a pen pal in the Yukon Territory [Darrell Otto], with a man who believed in her innocence. Soon, an organization called the National Center for Reason and Justice had picked up the case, and reporters were paying attention to the story.

Listen to the program about this case on Latino USA.

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

Judge Critical of Sex Offender Registry Confirmed to Massachusetts High Court

August 11th, 2016

“Making a mild criticism of sex offender registries looked like it could have hurt a Massachusetts judge in her bid to serve on the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. But on Wednesday the Governor’s Council, an eight-member elected body responsible for approving judicial nominees, voted unanimously in favor of Superior Court Judge Kimberly Budd’s nomination to serve as an associate justice.”

Read the article by Elizabeth Nolan Brown in Reason.

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

Don’t Believe the fearmongering about perverts using Pokemon Go

August 5th, 2016

“Parents, it’s time to panic: Kids who venture outside to play Pokémon Go are going to end up in the clutches of sex offenders, unless we do something pointless, political and pathetic.

“We must fearmonger!”

Read the article by NCRJ Director Emily Horowitz in the New York Post.

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

Bogus “Sex Offender” Labels are Ruining Lives

August 2nd, 2016

What’s the most common age of sex-offenders?

It’s not a trick question, but unless you follow this stuff closely you’ll almost certainly answer wrong.

In fact, most people are shocked to learn that the most common age of people charged with a sex offense isn’t a creepy 39, or 51.

It’s 14.

Read the article by Lenore Skenazy in the New York Post.

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

Beyond Panic and Punishment: Brock Turner and the Left Response to Sexual Violence

July 18th, 2016

“The Turner case exemplifies a problematic pattern in American policymaking. The case, similar to other sensationalized instances of leniency for sexual assault, has animated calls for harsher punishments, mandatory minimums and removing judicial discretion. All of these law-and-order responses, coming particularly from the left, continue a tradition in the United States of channeling efforts to address sexual violence into demands for punishment. Far from being progressive, however, this strategy contributes to the expansion of the carceral state, which is ineffective at reducing crime, incapable of healing victims, and devastating for those caught in its web. A more substantively progressive and feminist strategy for addressing these issues is needed in order to draw the connection between sexual violence and material inequality.”

Read the article by Sarah Cate in Common Dreams.

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

Clemency for Joseph Allen

July 18th, 2016

Joseph’s lawyer, Paula Brown, is updating Joseph’s clemency petition. This petition will go first to the Parole Board, and then to Governor John R. Kasich.

Paula is collecting support letters to file with the clemency petition.

Here are some posts to this blog about Joseph’s case:

Many of you have developed a personal relationship with Joseph over the years.

It is not necessary to argue for Joseph’s innocence in these letters. The accompanying petition will make the case for innocence strongly.

What will be most helpful are testimonies about Joseph’s character.

Send your letters to:

Paula Brown
65 East State Street, Suite 200
Columbus OH 43215-4277

With your letter enclose a note giving Paula your contact information.

Thank you for your concern about my good friend Joseph.

-Bob Chatelle

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

Program to corral ballooning sex offender registry failing

July 16th, 2016

“So-called Romeo offenders, convicted of sex with an underage girlfriend or boyfriend, exist side by side with rapists. There is no consideration as to whether a molestation occurred within a family — and thus, experts say, is statistically unlikely to reoccur outside it — or was committed by a predator snatching an unknown child off the street.

“Across the country, even offenders whose risk approaches zero can remain on the list.”

Read the article by Eric Dexheimer in the Austin American-Statesman.

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

How a Plano legislator’s remarks bred strict sex offender laws

July 15th, 2016

July 1997: State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, a former schoolteacher and proponent of the state’s strict 1995 Ashley’s Laws for sex offenders, attends a conference in Bellevue, Wash., about sex offender registries. She begins her speech by noting that “putting the modern sex offender into the traditional criminal justice system is usually as successful as keeping a snake in a shoebox.”

Shapiro continues: “Sex offenders are a very unique type of criminal. I like to say they have three very unique characteristics: They are the least likely to be cured; they are the most likely to reoffend; and they prey on the most innocent members of our society.” She cites no evidence.

Read the article by Eric Dexheimer in the Austin-American Statesman.

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

I’m a public defender. My clients would rather go to jail than register as sex offenders.

July 9th, 2016

“But I realize now that many of my clients would choose to take on more jail time, more fees — anything to avoid being labeled a sex offender for life. That’s because our current sex offender registration laws apply an unbending and inhumane one-size-fits-all approach that does not prevent future sex crimes and in fact makes us all less safe.”

Read the article by Rachel Marshall at

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

A Grievous Error in Judge Joseph LaPlante’s Court

June 26th, 2016

In a sentencing hearing weeks after the trial, Judge Arthur Brennan sentenced MacRae to a term of 67 years in prison – more than thirty times the two-year maximum sentence proposed to MacRae pre-trial, deals that the priest rejected citing his innocence of the charges. During the sentencing phase, he was not permitted to say a single word in his own defense while the Judge berated him for observing his Constitutional right to a jury trial.

When sentencing MacRae, Judge Arthur Brennan offered some evidence and testimony of his own: “This court has heard clear and convincing evidence that you created child pornography of your victims.” In the entire trial, not a single word about child pornography was ever raised. Eleven years later, the lead detective in the case admitted to Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal, “There was never any evidence of pornography.”

Read the post by Ryan MacDonald in These Stone Walls.