Monday, February 26, 2007

Around the Blogs, Monday, February 26, 2007

Bunch of sex offender stuff up today. Governing's blog, the 13th Floor, takes the backlash against the ill-thought sex offender residency restrictions to a broader policy audience, underlining the coming politics of it all: But, from a political perspective, is it possible to vote in a way that an opponent could portray as favoring sex offenders and not have it come back to haunt you at the next election? These lawmakers seem intent on finding out, which makes them courageous, foolish, or both. Meanwhile, Sex Crime Defender digs into the injustice to be hammered in the future of prosecuting one or both parties in underage sex offenses. Here's the saddest thing, the quote from a prosecutor: "We can't ignore these things — we have to charge them," said Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco. "We take into consideration (if) it was consensual in nature, they were close in age … whether they had an ongoing relationship." But initially, he said, "We have to charge with what we can legally charge." Yeah, that's right. That's why every charge possible with every arrest is filed. Please. And then Sex Crimes Blog lets us know about this "too strange to be fiction" story of a NY county that, required to provide housing even to homeless sex offenders, puts them into trailers and rolls them around and away from residential areas. That should help them find work and establish stable lives. . . . Think Outside the Cage describes an attempt to enhance first-time DUI penalties, including a loss of driver's license for 5 years. This has counterproductive all over it. I've talked to too many judges who see the driver’s license restrictions as too harsh on people who, if they can’t get to or keep work, will end up turning more to alcohol—judges who thus sentence less harshly or don’t convict at all. Hasn't passed yet, so we'll see. While you’re at TOC, check out Pam Clifton's note of the new First Lady's taking on of mental health issues as her cause. Normally, we might be cynical, but the way CO is moving right now, it may turn out not to be the usual blather. . . . Via CrimProf Blog, "cheese" is now big. Not a WI thing, really. This "cheese" is a powdered heroin that's making inroads with the teen crowds. . . . Crime & Federalism updates the CT case of the sub teacher found guilty of showing porn to students though the government never produced evidence that she really did anything. Not a lot new except this contention that the judge may have overstepped. "W. Herbert Horner, a defense witness and computer expert, was prepared to testify that the images appeared on the screen as a result of the acts of others. However, the trial court judge, Hillary Strackbein, did not permit him to offer his opinion. Why? He was not disclosed as an expert in a timely fashion.Judge Strackbein's ruling may well be an abuse of discretion. Ordinarily, the defense need not disclose witnesses prior to trial. Indeed, in one recent case regarding the late disclosure of an alibi, the Appellate Court ruled it was an abuse of discretion to refuse to permit the witness to testify." Seriously. Timely fashion. Like the Supreme Court and death penalty evidence. In public administration we call it "goal displacement." Substituting your personal, professional or organizational goals for the goals society set you up to achieve, like, say, justice. But can't worry about that if kids saw porn, can we? . . . Philip Zimbardo's got the second part of his multi-part posts on the situational sources of evil up over at The Situationist. He's famous, his work classic, and this catches us up. . . . Ben Barlyn's been really busy getting drug court stuff set up in NJ, but he passes along this NIC Corrections Community post on what works in recidivism risk assessment in Canada. The report referenced is a little long but worth your time. . . . Finally, lots of good stuff up at Grits for Breakfast, including a “roundup” on recent TX corrections sentencing, a great post on what to do when you have a loved one coming up on a parole date, and some really cute baby pictures (you’ll see Grits but thankfully, they’re not pictures of him).

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