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When junk science about sex offenders infects the Supreme Court

This month the Supreme Court will have a rare opportunity to correct a flawed doctrine that for the past two decades has relied on junk social science to justify punishing more than 800,000 Americans. Two cases that the court could review concern people on the sex offender registry and the kinds of government control that can constitutionally be imposed upon them.

In Snyder v. Doe, the court could consider whether Michigan’s broad scheme of regulating sex offenders constitutes “punishment.” The other case, Karsjens v. Piper, examines the constitutionality of Minnesota’s policy of detaining sex offenders forever — not for what they’ve done, but for what they might do.

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  charles pettus 2 months ago.

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  • #21397 Reply

    Mark Petrak

    I was sentenced 12 years ago and now I am 67. I will be long gone before any real progress is made. Nobody is in any hurry to correct obvious issues affecting the S/O population, and that is a huge indicator that we can expect more of the same. Don’t get your hopes up.

  • #21463 Reply

    charles pettus

    Something I don’t understand about this with these federal judges and this high SO residivism crap and I wish someone anyone will answer these questions: a) How, after over 17 years of research findings on the subject of SO residivism by some very educated people proving that there is no high residivism rate among the SO population, how is it that justices on SCOTUS could still be citing this “frightening and High” none sense? b) And this is the one I would really like answered—Just where is it that these justices are getting their information from??? I don’t recall reading anywhere where they have cited the authority/source to back their assertions. If anyone knows please say so here because to be fair and balanced and give them benefit of the doubt, I would really, really like to know where they are getting their information from. We all know now that the 80% figure came from a 1986 or ’87 “Psychology Today” article that has been thoroughly debunked by Ira Ellman and his team. Even the author of the piece himself (can’t think of his name) has recanted, so to speak, his own assertions in the article. Even studies made by the US DOL has confirmed a very low residivism rate for the SO population so again, just where the hell is their information coming from??? An aside right here, I read in an article written by a well known legal scholar awhile back discussing the ruling in Does v. Snyder. The author made mention of the fact that the presiding Judge asked the MI AG’s office for PROOF of a high residivism rate in the state of MI—three times; however, the state could not produce any such evidence “even though they had the means to do so”. And according to this legal scholar this had an effect on the court’s decision to rule the way they did. So the same rational apply here, if the state of MI could not produce any empirical evidence to support their assertion of a high residivism rate, then what state has? So again, just where the hell are these people getting their information from??? Can somebody, anybody answer the above questions?

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