Archive for January, 2013

Nancy Smith’s Hearing Before the Ohio Parole Board

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

The National Center for Reason and Justice have long supported both Nancy Smith and her co-defendant, Joseph Allen.

You can read about the background of today’s hearing here.

The NCRJ Responds to New York Times Article, “The Price of a Stolen Childhood”

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

The article was published in the New York Times Magazine on January, 27th, 2013.

NCRJ President Michael R. Snedeker responds:

Dear New York Times Magazine Editor:

In “The Price of a Stolen Childhood” (NYT Mag, 1/24/2013), Emily Bazelon wrote about the appalling sexual abuse of two young girls and its use in widely distributed child pornography. The primary question raised by the article is whether people who downloaded this pornography should pay restitution to the now-adult victims. The National Center for Reason and Justice ( frequently hears from young men caught with child porn they downloaded from the Internet. Many claim to have done so inadvertently along with adult porn. Yes, they broke the law. But most have no money, have no previous criminal record, and have never molested a child. They will serve years in prison and will be labeled sex offenders forevermore.

Bazelon should have been more critical of the suggestion that deep-pocket defendants get shorter prison terms in exchange for paying restitution to child porn victims. It would be unfair to lock up poor men longer than richer men because they could not afford “restitution.” A better solution would be to do real research into the damage these crimes actually work on victims—victims not yet on the merry-go-round of questionable therapy and big-bucks restitution—and then adjust the punishment accordingly and equitably. As Bazelon points out, that research does not yet exist.

What we do know is that obsessive attention paid to victims can paradoxically make their feelings of trauma worse, or even cause them in the first place. Joyanna Silberg, the therapist of one young woman in the story, is notorious for advocating the debunked myth of satanic ritual child abuse and promoting the idea that many victims didn’t remember the crimes because they “dissociated” while being abused. Let us not give such pseudoscientific, dangerous therapists another gravy train.


Mike Snedeker


National Center for Reason and Justice

Harvey Silverglate on the Aaron Swartz Suicide

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Harvey Silverglate is on the Advisory Board of the National Center for Reason and Justice.

“The ill-considered prosecution leading to the suicide of computer prodigy Aaron Swartz is the most recent in a long line of abusive prosecutions coming out of the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston, representing a disastrous culture shift. It sadly reflects what’s happened to the federal criminal courts, not only in Massachusetts but across the country.”

Appeal Filed in ’92 Dan and Fran Keller Case

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

The children also accused the Kellers of forcing them to watch or participate in the killing and dismemberment of cats, dogs and a crying baby. Bodies were unearthed in cemeteries and new holes dug to hide freshly killed animals and, once, an adult passer-by who was shot and dismembered with a chain saw. The children recalled several plane trips – including one to Mexico, where they were sexually abused by soldiers before returning to Austin in time to meet their parents at the day care.

Looking for Lawyers

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

I frequently am contacted by people falsely accused of child abuse who are trying to find a good trial or appellate attorney. Many innocent people end up in prison because of poor legal assistance. Even some excellent attorneys know nothing about how to defend against false accusations of child abuse.

I have a list which I consult when trying to help people find a lawyer. But it has many holes in it. Do you know of any good lawyers I could add to my list? If so, please email me their contact information at

Thank you!

-Bob Chatelle