Update on the Galen Baughman Civil Commitment trial

by Charlie Clark, September 4, 2019 5:27 PM Our Man in Arlington. A culture-clash of a trial will resume in late September in Arlington Circuit Court. The scantly reported-on civil procedure involves the disturbing topic of predatory sexual behavior and the Virginia laws intended to protect potential victims. The trial, preliminaries for which I attended Aug. 26, involves an Arlington family eager to spring a son from an open-ended incarceration they feel the state is pursuing to make a statement against a gay man. Galen Baughman, 35, a graduate of H-B Woodlawn Secondary program who studied opera at Indiana University,…

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Patrick Hope column: Virginia’s sexually violent predator laws have gone too far

By: Patrick Hope Sept 29, 2019 The “lock ’em up and throw away the key” era of criminal justice is over. Virginians have reassessed their views on criminal justice to better address mass incarceration weighed against costs and the likelihood to reoffend. Policies ripe for reform include: resentencing prisoners who were convicted as youth; repealing mandatory minimums; legalizing marijuana; abolishing the death penalty; ending solitary; reinstating parole; ending cash bail; and creating alternatives to incarceration. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has a strong track record of criminal justice reform. But there’s one enforcement aspect his office needs to re-examine: the…

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Sex Offenders Locked Up on a Hunch

The essence of the American criminal justice system is reactive, not predictive: You are punished for the crime you committed. You can’t be punished simply because you might commit one someday. You certainly can’t be held indefinitely to prevent that possibility. And yet that is exactly what is happening to about 5,000 people convicted of sex crimes around the country. This population, which nearly doubled in the last decade, has completed prison sentences but remains held in what is deceptively called civil commitment — the practice of keeping someone locked up in an institution for months, years or even decades for…

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Prominent voices chime in on Twitter

Lots of folks are talking about the abusive, homophobic, and blatantly unconstitutional use of pre-crime preventative detention laws in Virginia. Here we have aggregated some prominent voices expressing their outrage on Twitter. ⁦.⁦@MarkHerringVA⁩ has made exceptionally strong statements on ways to improve our criminal justice system. Civil commitment, however, is an area where Va law and enforcement is an injustice and a violation of civil rights. Here’s a prime example: https://t.co/7kVW1wDSIg — Patrick Hope (@HopeforVirginia) August 24, 2019 All the power to you for trying to undo this great injustice https://t.co/SPw4aKEkWr — Arax (@araxkl_arax) September 20, 2019 Another injustice. Help…

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Second appearance on Crossroads Radio WPFW 89.3FM

Pre-crime preventative detention was the focus of a second hour-long conversation on the Crossroads Radio show hosted by Roach Brown and Nkechi Taifa  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, a prominent civil rights attorney based in Washington DC, to describe the abusive and unconstitutional application of these laws — especially highlighting the case of Galen Baughman in…

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Letter to the editor in WaPo on reentry for people living on the registry

Persons with sex-related convictions are often deliberately excluded from the reentry picture.  This LTE points that out to the Washington Post and argues that everyone is entitled to a just future.  Kudos to Kirsten Darby for using this important advocacy tool to register her perspective as a member of the community, with the newspaper’s editor. I read with great interest the September 3 article [in the Washington Post] by Tracy Jan documenting the legal hurdles of those formerly incarcerated. I’ve led a faith based prison pen pal ministry for many years and have seen first hand the struggles these men…

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ABOUT INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL TO GERMANY UNDER IML PASSPORTS

passport

This is a very interesting video about a man that left the United States while on probation to Permanently live in Germany as his new home to live as a free person.  He shows what the new International Megan’s Law marked passports look like and talks about the reasons that they are not a problem for entering Germany.  Everyone should watch this video.  Those currently on the sex offender registry in the United States and those that think they will never ever have to be on the sex offender registry.  Everyone that cares about the future of the United States…

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Punishment Without Crime

⁦.⁦@MarkHerringVA⁩ has made exceptionally strong statements on ways to improve our criminal justice system. Civil commitment, however, is an area where Va law and enforcement is an injustice and a violation of civil rights. Here’s a prime example: https://t.co/7kVW1wDSIg — Patrick Hope (@HopeforVirginia) August 24, 2019   IN ARLINGTON, A JURY MUST DECIDE IF A NONVIOLENT SEX OFFENDER SHOULD STAY INCARCERATED AFTER SERVING HIS SENTENCE By Philip Fornaci and Roger Lancaster August 23 at 11:32 AM Philip Fornaci is a civil rights lawyer based in Washington. Roger Lancaster is the author of “Sex Panic and the Punitive State.“ On Monday,…

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Fwd: The Dobbs Wire: Out of control Prosecution!

The Dobbs Wire:  A case unfolding in Virginia has much to tell us about justice in the U.S.  For crime the legal system provides punishment, usually incarceration.  In cases of sex wrongdoing, after prison time is done and the price is paid, 20 states and the federal government have something extra – laws that allow keeping an individual locked up, often indefinitely, on a hunch, a mere guess that they might break the law in the future.  On the eve of trial for a Virginia gay man, Philip Fornaci and Roger Lancaster spotlight how these ‘civil commitment’ laws can be…

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PUNISHMENT WITHOUT CRIME (long unedited version)

By Philip Fornaci and Roger Lancaster In a few weeks, the Circuit Court in liberal Arlington County, Virginia will be the scene of an aggressive morality play, with prosecutors seeking lifelong incarceration for a young gay man who has already paid an extraordinary price for youthful, nonviolent sexual indiscretions. With the support of a compliant judiciary, the Commonwealth of Virginia has repeatedly set aside legal, scientific, and commonsensical norms to target him for lifetime punishment as a violent sexual predator. Virginia, like 19 other states and the federal government, has a Sexually Violent Predators Act (SVPA). Under these laws, people…

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