Archive for July, 2016

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

Monday, 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.

Clemency for Joseph Allen

Monday, 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

Program to corral ballooning sex offender registry failing

Saturday, 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.

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

Friday, 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.

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

Saturday, 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