Archive for September, 2017

When Junk Science About Sex Offenders Infects the Supreme Court

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

An important op-ed in the New York Times by David Fiegle.

No retrial for man freed following NECIR investigation

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

In 2014, Nicas wrote a blog post for NECIR describing how main findings in his story were included in the judge’s grounds for a new trial. “There was excitement, disbelief and a sense of vindication,’’ he wrote. “Later, the feeling became relief. Not just that we were right, but that Victor Rosario was free.”

Read the report by Jennifer McKim for the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.

A “Frightening” Myth About Sex Offenders

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Current sex offender laws have no scientific basis.

View this video by David Feige at the New York Times web site.

Betsy DeVos could change sexual assault policy for the better

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

“And yet it is also true that the current regime under which campus sexual-assault allegations are investigated and adjudicated is seriously flawed. Before the Obama administration instructed colleges and universities that they had to take sexual-assault allegations seriously — or risk losing federal funds — the system was way too disposed to discourage complaints. But the Obama administration’s move also prompted an overcorrection at some institutions that failed to do enough to protect the rights of students accused of wrongdoing.”

Read the op-ed by Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post.

Lowell man, after spending 32 years in prison for a fatal fire, to remain free

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

“Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan agreed Friday to end the pursuit of murder charges against a Lowell man for a fatal 1982 fire he denied setting, ending a legal roller coaster that saw the man freed three years ago after spending 32 years in prison.”

The NCRJ played an important role in freeing Rosario.

Read the article by Milton J. Valencia at the Boston Globe.

The Bad Science Behind Campus Response to Sexual Assault

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

I talked with Richard McNally, a psychology professor at Harvard and one of the country’s leading experts on the effects of trauma on memory, about the assertions Campbell made in her presentation. He first said that because assaults do not occur within the laboratory, “there is no direct evidence” of any precise or particular cascade of physiological effects during one, “nor is there going to be.” But there is plenty of evidence about how highly stressful experiences affect memory, and much of it directly contradicts Campbell. In his 2003 book, Remembering Trauma, McNally writes, “Neuroscience research does not support [the] claim that high levels of stress hormones impair memory for traumatic experience.” In fact, it’s almost the opposite: “Extreme stress enhances memory for the central aspects of an overwhelming emotional experience.”

Read the article by Emily Yoffe in The Atlantic.

Colorado sex offender registration act is unconstitutional, federal judge declares

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

“The fear that pervades the public reaction to sex offenses — particularly as to children — generates reactions that are cruel and in disregard of any objective assessment of the individual’s actual proclivity to commit new sex offenses,” Matsch wrote. “The failure to make any individual assessment is a fundamental flaw in the system.”

Read the article by Kirk Mitchell in The Denver Post.