Archive for June, 2016

A Grievous Error in Judge Joseph LaPlante’s Court

Sunday, 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.

To Reduce Recidivism Rates, Turn to Housing Policy

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

The criminal justice system has immense influence on an ex-offender’s ability to work, live, and interact post-release. Treating all sex offenders as one, rather than treating them as individuals therapeutically and programmatically, makes no sense, especially if we are interested in reducing risk, improving lives, and saving money.

Read the article by Doug Ryan in Rooflines.

Sex Offender Registration: Driven by Fear or Real Risk?

Monday, June 20th, 2016

“The fact is that we have no idea of who is going to offend or re-offend,” said Professor Heather Ellis Cucolo—an attorney, adjunct professor, and director of New York Law School’s Online Mental Disability Law Program. “The ironic part of all this is that some of the factors that might potentially lead to a greater risk [of re-offense] are the factors that are imposed as a result of registration and notification.”

Read the article by Jessica DaSilva in the Criminal Law Reporter.

Could Removing Brock Turner’s Judge Hurt Poor and Minority Defendants?

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

“When we as a community reprimand or condemn a judge for engaging in such a holistic analysis and for exercising discretion, such efforts can have a chilling effect on judicial courage and compassion,” the letter states. Punishing him, the defenders explain, will “deter other judges from extending mercy and instead encourage them to issue unfairly harsh sentences for fear of reprisal.” The Santa Clara County Bar Association has also released a statement saying that removing Persky would be a “threat to judicial independence.”

Read the article by Maurice Chammah at the Marshall Project.