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

Do sex offenders deserve a scarlet letter on their passport?

February 4th, 2016

“After rousing themselves from the 30-plus-year bad trip that was the war on drugs — or rather, the war on drug users — many Americans in and out of elected office looked around for someone else to persecute. Someone, somewhere, must be so depraved and hateful that liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans could join in common cause to vilify them.”

Read the editorial by the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times.

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

Congress Acts to Mark Passports of Sex Offenders

February 2nd, 2016

In a rebuttal printed as an appendix in the report, the State Department noted that there was no evidence anyone on that list had traveled in order to commit a sex crime, and that it already has the authority to deny passports to people convicted of sex tourism involving minors and those whose probation or parole terms forbid them from traveling.

“We think the report is very misleading,” the State Department wrote. “Starting with the title, ‘Passports Issued to Thousands of Registered Sex Offenders,’ we are concerned that it conveys more ‘shock value’ than factual accuracy.”

Read the article by Beth Schwartzapfel at The Marshall Project.

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

Catholic Guilt? The Lying, Scheming Altar Boy Behind a Lurid Rape Case

January 21st, 2016

“The psychiatrist isn’t the only person deeply skeptical of Billy Doe and his stories. The detective who led the Philadelphia district attorney’s investigation into Gallagher’s allegations against the priests and teacher also has some disturbing doubts. In a confidential deposition obtained by Newsweek, retired Detective Joseph Walsh was asked on January 29, 2015, about nine significant factual discrepancies in Gallagher’s story. The detective testified that when he questioned Gallagher about those discrepancies, Gallagher usually just sat there and said nothing. Or claimed he was high on drugs at the time. Or told a different story.”

Read the article by Daniel Gallagher in Newsweek.

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

Kids As Young As 9 Are on the Sex Offender Registry…for Life

January 18th, 2016

“Recidivism rates — the rates at which juvenile sex offenders re-offend — are so low as to be indistinguishable from the rate that non-offenders offend. But that’s not what the public believes. Instead, it believes that juvenile sex ‘criminals’ (including a slew of teens who had consensual sex) can never stop pouncing.”

Read the article in Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy.

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

The yellow star, the scarlet letter and ‘International Megan’s Law’

January 8th, 2016

“There is something truly odious — “Scarlet Letter”-esque, one might say — about requiring people to bear, for their entire lives, this conspicuous badge of dishonor, whatever their prior crime (for which they have already been duly punished) may have been. And the fact that the category of “covered sex offenders” includes many thousands of people whose crime involved consensual sexual relations with an underage partner, in many cases when they themselves were teenagers, just serves to make it seem even more wildly disproportionate; the notion that this entire class is somehow predisposed to engage in child sex trafficking is nonsensical, and squarely at odds with the actual recidivism data.”

Read the article in the Washington Poist by David Post.

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

Are Sex Offender Registries Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

December 30th, 2015

“And what is absolutely mind-blowing is that the SOR’s have been proven not to work, and they cost the taxpayers gobs of money (see reference ‘a’ above). But now that they’ve become institutionalized in the justice system, they’re a political football. Now we have lots of people whose livelihoods derive from the SOR’s, and an entire industry has built up around the maintenance and support of SOR’s (just like the prison system). To advocate sensible, logical approaches to the problem has become political suicide for the politicians and legislators.”

Read the full article by Phil Lcoke, Science and Technology Advisor, Ohio Innocence Project.

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

Shutting Down Conversations About Rape at Harvard Law

December 15th, 2015

“We have seen recent high-profile instances in which that article of faith has led to damaging errors, as in Rolling Stone’s reporting of a rape at the University of Virginia, or the prosecution of the Duke lacrosse case. The extent of the damage comes out of the fact that “always believe” unwittingly renders the stakes of each individual case impossibly high, by linking the veracity of any one claim to the veracity of all claims. When the core belief is that accusers never lie, if any one accuser has lied, it brings into question the stability of the entire thought system, rendering uncertain all allegations of sexual assault. But this is neither sensible nor necessary: that a few claims turn out to be false does not mean that all, most, or even many claims are wrongful. The imperative to act as though every accusation must be true—when we all know some number will not be—harms the over-all credibility of sexual assault claims.”

Read the full article by Jeannie Suk in The New Yorker.

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

Two Articles About the Sex Offenders of Pahokee Florida

December 11th, 2015

“Today, though, the town of Pahokee does more than tolerate the sex offender colony. It has come to embrace it. And nowhere is that turnaround more evident than at the United Methodist Church, where many offenders attend service.”

Read the full article by Anne Schindler in First Coast News.

“Travis Russ is founder and artistic director at Life Jacket Theatre, an “investigative theater” company based in New York City. He and creative partner Amelia Parenteau came to Pahokee for a week in October to conduct hours of interviews. Those will be transcribed into verbatim scripts, and eventually performed at their Off-Broadway theatre.”

Read the full article by Anne Schindler in First Coast News.

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

The Online–Sex Predator Panic

December 9th, 2015

“And then there are the patent absurdities created by such laws—signs that legislators, in search of novel ways to torture so-called sex offenders, have abandoned consideration of efficacy or justice. In the case of underage sexting, for instance, a person is both offender and victim at the same time.”

Read the full article by Judith Levine in Boston Review.

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

Felito Mendoza Desperately Needs Pen Pals

December 7th, 2015

I have been in touch with Felito Mendoza for over 15 years. But I haven’t been a good pen pal. I mean well, but my schedule just seems to get too busy.

Since being sent to prison, Felito had two faithful supporters. One was his mother. The other was a man named Nicholas Peters. Unfortunately, both are now dead. Felito is devastated by their loss.

I haven’t investigated Felito’s case. Mr. Peters did, and you can see his report by clicking on Felito’s name in the below address.

If you feel you can’t commit to being a regular pen pal, perhaps you could send him a Christmas card to brighten his lonely holiday season. Here is the address:

Felito Mendoza
BV3355
Box 246, C-A1-059
Graterford PA 19426-0246

-Bob Chatelle