Homophobic Outrage in Virginia

Last month, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) succeeded in his aim of incarcerating a gay man indefinitely for sending text messages. AG Herring maintains the man – who has never been accused or arrested for any act of violence – is a “Sexually Violent Predator.” Virgina’s treatment of Galen Baughman, now 36,has attracted protests from LGBT and criminal-justice groups, and at least one Virginia lawmaker. His case highlights the dangers of Orwellian civil-commitment laws that allow indefinite confinement of people to prevent possible future offenses.

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APA Opposes Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders After Prison

APA’s Board of Trustees approved a task force report on sexually dangerous offenders at its meeting last month in San Diego recommending that psychiatrists vigorously oppose sexual predator laws. Opposing such laws is necessary “to preserve the moral authority of the profession and ensure continuing societal confidence in the medical model of civil commitment,” states the report. The report was written by the Task Force on Sexually Dangerous Offenders, a component of APA’s Council on Psychiatry and Law, which endorsed the report before it went to the Board for action. Paul Appelbaum, M.D., was chair of the council when the…

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Some Virginia sex offenders held long after sentence up

By Dena Potter, Associated Press Nov 19, 2011, 12:15pm RICHMOND, Va. — Having already served their sentences, hundreds of Virginia sex offenders are held behind bars for months — some for years — while waiting to see whether they’ll be sent to a psychiatric center indefinitely, an Associated Press review has found. Judges acting on the requests of both prosecutors and defense attorneys routinely shrug off the legal deadline for making that decision, leaving the inmates in limbo well beyond their designated punishment and without access to the very kind of treatment the state says they may need. Attorneys and…

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Vladimir Bukovsky, 76, exile who exposed use of psychiatric hospitals to jail dissidents.

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Critics of “sex offender civil commitment” laws often liken them to the Soviet practices of imprisoning dissidents in psychiatric hospitals. The man who was credited for exposing this soviet practice, Vladimir K. Bukovsky, died recently at age 76. We wanted to remember him and remind Just Futurists just how alike these practices truly are.

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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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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     Philip Fornaci and Roger Lancaster followed up their Aug 24, 2019 WaPo article with the following message after the jury verdict, that we are including here as a preface.  Their message originally appeared on the ncrj web site: On October 17, 2019, after a two-week civil trial in Arlington County, Virginia, a…

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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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Lawsuit, Ballot Initiative Seek to Reform Felon Disenfranchisement in Florida | Prison Legal News

In 1868, in response to the abolition of slavery following the Civil War (except for prisoners), Florida enshrined in its constitution the permanent disenfranchisement of people convicted of a felony.  The deprivation of felons’ voting rights was combined with Black Codes that criminalized offenses state lawmakers believed were mostly committed by blacks, as a means of sending freed slaves to prison and ensuring they could not vote. While the civil rights movement helped to change racial attitudes, Florida has held strong to its disenfranchisement policy.  It is one of only four states, the others being Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia, to…

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