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He produced the pornography, and he used a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old to do it. For these acts, a year sentence is not a shocking departure from sentences routinely imposed in federal courts for comparable offenses — especially considering that the mandatory minimum is fifteen.
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The sentence is barbaric without being all that unusual. I appreciate the candor and yet remain stunned by Judge Jacobs stating simply that the defendant's sentence here is "barbaric" but yet not "all that unusual" and thus ought to be affirmed despite the obligation of circuit courts to review sentences for their reasonableness in light of the requirements of a. John Pfaff has authored this recent Washington Post commentary under the full headline "California ousts an elected judge. Everybody loses. The recall of Aaron Persky in the Stanford swimmer sexual assault case will make judges harsher, and thwart progress on perils of mass incarceration.
California voters last week recalled a judge for the first time in more than 85 years. The politics of punishment are already pathological; the recall will make them worse A central reason the United States punishes its citizens more than any other country is that actors in our criminal justice system face more political pressure than they do elsewhere. Only this country allows judges to be elected, which 39 states choose to do. While a concern in the Andrew Jackson era about corrupt appointment processes drove the decision to elect judges, more recent concerns about the costs of a politicized judiciary have led to increasing calls to return to appointing them.
In criminal justice, the costs of politicization are unambiguous: They make judges more punitive. The empirical studies on judges and crime tell a consistent story. Judges sentence more aggressively as their election dates near and as their elections become more contested.
Elections make judges nervous, and nervous judges are harsh judges.
This harshness is entirely logical. Judges are harsh because the costs of mistakes are asymmetric. There is little downside to harsh sanctions, because the error costs are invisible: How do you show that someone would not have reoffended had they left prison sooner? The costs of being overly lenient, however, are inescapable. That sort of failure produces an identifiable victim for political opponents to capitalize upon.
The recall turned on a slightly different asymmetry but one that equally pushes judges toward severity. An overly lenient sentence will be seen as insulting the victim, while an overly harsh one will be seen as unfair to the defendant. The former error, as the Persky recall demonstrates, is costlier unless, perhaps, the defendant is politically powerful. Defenders of the recall dismiss this concern by pointing out that recalls are rare. The Persky case makes clear to judges and their detractors alike that judges can lose their jobs — in a recall, in a primary, in a general election — if just one or two decisions anger someone with sufficient political capital to oppose them.
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The Persky recall campaign highlighted only five decisions out of thousands that the judge handed down. Even the prosecutor in Santa Clara opposed the recall. The success of her campaign tells judges, and the politically powerful who are unhappy with their decisions, that these campaigns can work even with little evidence, as long as there are one or two bad cases to point to. Not only did Democratic legislators pass new mandatory minimum sentences for sex offenses in response to the recall to make sure they looked tough enough on crime, but public defenders in California also report that judges seem harsher now, out of fear of being targeted next.
Some defenders of the recall concede that it may make judges harsher, but only regarding sex crimes. The judges, they say, are smart enough to limit what they have learned to the facts of the recall. But this is overly optimistic. Judges have no idea what issue will trigger the next recall or primary challenge, only that such campaigns can work The recall will make judges more aggressive, and in ways that will never be neatly confined to the issues in the Turner and Persky cases. And since a majority of people in prison are black or Hispanic, the impact of this toughness will fall disproportionately on minorities.
Sex offenders can live next door to victims in 45 states because of loophole - CBS News
The title of this post is the headline of this lengthy new Detroit Free Press article. I recommend the piece in full, and here is how it gets started and additional excerpts:. Eight months after the U. Supreme Court effectively upheld a decision saying parts of Michigan's sex offender registry law — one of the toughest in the nation — were unconstitutional, thousands of former sex offenders who thought they'd be off the registry by now, or facing less severe restrictions, have seen no changes.
The law remains in place, unchanged, with the state defending it in more than three dozen lawsuits — many of which it has already lost. The controversy involves a ruling two years ago by the U. Last October, the U. Supreme Court declined to hear the state's challenge to that ruling, effectively upholding it. The rules prohibit offenders — many of whom have gone years if not decades without committing any crimes — from legally living, working or even standing within 1, feet of a school, a regulation that many say makes it hard for them to work, or to pick up or see their kids at school, and has forced some to give up jobs and homes.
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The rules also require offenders to immediately register email addresses or vehicles and report to police as often as four times a year, in some cases, for the rest of their lives. Because the appeals court decision came in civil cases and not class action lawsuits, the state has maintained those rulings apply only to the specific plaintiffs who brought them.
And with the state Legislature failing to change the law, registrants find themselves in a legal morass, with the requirements they must comply with almost wholly contingent on whether the offender has successfully gone to court. Michigan now has the fourth-largest sex offender registry in the country, with 43, registrants on its database, more than the state of New York, which has 40, The disparities can be wide. One man convicted 17 years ago of eight counts of sexual contact with several girls under the age of 13 sued prosecutors, arguing that the rules keeping him on the registry — with his photo, name, address listed publicly — for life were unconstitutional.
Last November, after the Supreme Court declined to take up the 6th Circuit decision, the state Court of Appeals agreed, saying those rules no longer apply to him. But it's different for another man convicted of touching two girls under the age of 16 while drunk 24 years ago in another state but who has had a clean record since. Last September, as a "Tier 2" offender, he was expecting to come off the registry after nearly a quarter century.
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To this day, under Michigan law, he's subject to all those restrictions from which the first man has been freed In Michigan, any legal certainty about what is required of thousands of sex offenders is almost nil. While some local prosecutors — like those in Wayne and Oakland counties — no longer enforce cases involving retroactive applications of the law, it's far from certain that others are following suit. Macomb County prosecutors, for instance, declined to answer the Free Press' questions about whether they are still enforcing those restrictions.
And Michigan State Police — which oversees the registry — says, legally, all restrictions remain in place.
Background Checks Coverage
As reported in this Fox News piece , "Northern California residents on Tuesday voted to recall the judge who sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexual assault to a short jail sentence instead of prison. He was targeted for recall in June shortly after he sentenced Brock Turner to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a young woman outside a fraternity house on campus.
Prosecutors argued for a 7-year prison sentence. Turner was instead sentenced to six months in jail for sexually assaulting a young woman outside a fraternity house on campus.
Critics say Turner's sentece was too lenient. Persky maintained that he had followed a recommendation from the county probation department.
The California Commission on Judicial Performance ruled that the case was handled legally. The case gained national prominence after the victim read a statement in court before Turner's sentence. The statement made the rounds online and was read on the floor of the U. Capitol during a congressional session Michele Dauber, a Stanford University professor who led the recall effort, said the election "expresses clearly that sexual assault, sexual violence is serious and it has to be taken seriously by elected officials. Persky's supporters said his removal set a dangerous precedent.
LaDoris Cordell, a former Santa Clara County judge who led a counter campaign against the recall, called the decision "a sad day for the California judiciary.
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Persky has served on the court since He declined The Associated Press' request for comment late Tuesday. I suppose it is fitting that a local judge recalled for a sentence being too lenient gets replace by a local prosecutor. Regular readers know there have been lots and lots of prior posts here about the Brock Turner case, including posts in which I expressed various concerns about both the lenient sentence Turner received and about the campaign to recall Persky.
Here is a sampling of the prior posts this case has generated:.
My Other Blogs
Regular readers surely already know a lot of the story and backstory surrounding the controversial sentencing of Brock Turner and the controversial recall campaign against the judge who sentenced him. That recall campaign culminates in a vote this coming Tuesday, and that has prompted another notable round of media coverage. Here are some recent media pieces with varying degrees of depth:.
From CNN here , "Will voters bench the judge who gave a 6-month sentence in the Stanford sexual assault case? From Vox here , "Brock Turner was sentenced to 6 months in jail for sexual assault. Now voters may recall the judge. The reporting in the piece stuck me as particularly thoughtful and balanced, and I learned new things big and small about the campaign and her efforts and goals. Despite all this new reporting, I must note my own sense that there are still lots of angles on this case that are still not getting fully explored.
In particular, these articles and others only give passing mention of the fact that Turner was sentenced to a lifetime on the sex offender registry.