Gay Rights: How Far Have We Really Come?

By: Garret Christino The issue of mistreatment of homosexuals has been around for almost as long as civilization itself. For ages, members of the LGBTQ have been treated as if they are not people at all. For a very long time, being a homosexual was a crime. Once this was lifted, it was no longer a crime, but a mental illness. Once it was no longer considered a “disorder” to be gay, the LGBTQ community faced discrimation across the board and were still not able to become legally married. Since the Stonewall Protests nearly 50 years ago, the gay community…

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Punished Enough?

Downstate confronts questions that date to the time of Plato and the Old Testament: How ought we punish acts that are repugnant to society? Are there lawbreakers who are truly unforgivable? Are there offenses that demand perpetual condemnation, shunning, expulsion—banishment?   We once thought that we knew the answer to such riddles, at least in principle. For much of the twentieth century, jurists and lawmakers progressively tethered law to enlightened ideals: they eschewed punishment for the sake of punishment, embraced the idea of contingent redemption—rehabilitation—and imposed limits to punishment. But after the turmoil of the 1960s, American legal history diverged…

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California Hearsay Challenge

I. Introduction Currently, there is some slow progress being made in the quest to reform the use of hearsay in California criminal and Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVP or SVPA) proceedings.   Part of this progress began in 2016, when the California Supreme Court heard a case, People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th  665, that changed the way California applied Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 36 to state court proceedings.  Following the reasoning of the high Court in Williams v. Illinois (2012) 567 U.S. 50, the California Supreme Court did away with the (fraudulent) reasoning that expert testimony was “not…

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Percy Foundation Survey Report on Imprisoned and Committed Sex Offenders

Note from JustFuture: The original title of the paper was “The psycho/social/spiritual impact of being held in a ‘treatment center’ for sex offenders: reflections on the outcome of a brief questionnaire administered to a group of civilly committed men.” We would love to receive a full copy of the essay.  Please contact us if you know how to find it. The below quote came from “The Legal Pad” Volume 2, Issue 11, (November 15, 2018) published by Cyrus P. Gladden, II from the gulag in Mooselake, Minnesota. Gladden used the above title to describe the paper and attributed the paper…

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The Dobbs Wire: Banishment! Patty Wetterling, Jill Levenson and more

The Dobbs Wire:  Banishment!  In the 21st century many localities in the United States use an ancient means to get rid of people who have been stigmatized and are despised, banishment.  More formally and politely known as “residency restrictions,” the desired result of such laws is to drive individuals who are blacklisted — required to sign the sex offense registry — out of their houses and even out of town altogether.  The most infamous example of these awful laws is the encampment of homeless registered persons that sprung up under the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Florida.   In the last several…

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$28 million award for “Beatrice 6” whom police psychologist helped railroad to prison

“For years, a group of outcasts in Beatrice, Neb., were convinced they had brutally raped and murdered an elderly woman named Helen Wilson one night in February 1985, even though they couldn’t remember any of it.” That’s the lead of today’s story in the Washington Post, announcing a $28.1 million award to the “Beatrice Six” who spent a collective 70 years in prison before being exonerated a decade ago. Of interest to this blog’s audience is the role of the police psychologist. As I blogged about back in 2008, Wayne R. Price, PhD saw no ethics conflict in helping to…

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The Dobbs Wire: Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment:  There’s growing awareness that far too many people are getting punished in the U.S., and that they are being given far too much punishment.  Some of the punishment is extreme, even unconscionable — the death penalty, solitary confinement, life in prison (“death by incarceration”), lifetime supervision, sex offense registries, and more.  Organizers are usually unsung but they get the credit for rising public concern about criminal injustices and now they’re hard at work to spotlight harsh measures used in the “worse of the worst” cases.  What about accountability for really terrible crimes?  Have a look at this…

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The Dobbs Wire: First Amendment WIN in Alabama!

First Amendment WIN in Alabama:  Alabama’s sex offense registration law, said to be “the most comprehensive and debilitating sex-offender scheme in the nation,” suffered some damage at the hands of a federal judge.  A provision in the law that requires registrants to carry a driver’s license or official ID with “CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER” emblazoned in red was struck down.  That horrifying message legitimizes profiling by law enforcement (and others), ensuring that registrants are treated as suspects far into the future; even a coded message should be held unconstitutional.  The court also struck down “internet identifier” provisions in the law.   Kudos…

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Radio interview with WPFW 89.3FM

Pre-crime preventative dentation was the focus of an hour- long conversation on the Crossroads Radio show hosted by Roach Brown and Nkechi Taisa  on WPFW 89.3FM, known as “Washington’s station for jazz and justice”   Click Play to listen to Garnett Robins- Baughman and Bernida Thompson talk about how their families have been directly impacted by these Kafkaesque systems and their work with Just Future Project.  Garnett and Bernida were joined by Phil Fornaci, director of The DC Prisoners’ Project at the Washington lawyers’ comity for civil rights & urban affairs, to describe the abusive and unconstitutional application of these laws —…

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