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September 03, 2006

Comments

Presumption of innocence is such a pre-9/11 mindset. When evrything gets simplified to a "with 'em or against 'em" approach, expect more of this to come. Expected target groups: drug dealers, foreign nationals, Muslims, people who are bilingual, and non-Republicans in general.

Instead, they are acting as though they need to choose sides -- pro- or anti- child molestation -- and doing whatever seems to align them with the first.

Uhh, hilzoy: shouldn't that be "align themselves with the second "side"?

a-o-way-to-go-Ohio: test tube of Democracy. From the same people who brought you the Kent State massacre.

JayC: corrected. Oops.

My apologies, hilzoy, I should have known that an obvious glitch like the one I pointed out wouldn't take you more than eighteen minutes to spot and fix!

Anyway, even though IANAL, just a humble blogcommenter, mightn't there be just some sort of Constitutional bar against this sort of non-judicial (extrajudicial?) "registry" of presumed "offenders"? Especially by State officials (including DAs)? Not to downplay the seriousness of child molestation, but, as Gary F. points out (albeit half-jokingly) on his Amygdala post, isn't allowing this sort of "process" leaving things wildly open to possible abuses/miscarriages of justice?
Can any ObWIngers with the requisite legal knowledge opine as to the validity of this sort of "law" (and I can't tell from the Toledo Blade piece whether the proposed Ohio "registry" is to be implemented via the legislative process, or as mere "adminstrative rules")?

I think this is even worse than it sounds. Note that it

" allows county prosecutors, the state attorney general, or, as a last resort, alleged victims to ask judges to civilly declare someone to be a sex offender even when there has been no criminal verdict or successful lawsuit."

It seems to me that even if judge rejects the request the "suspect" will be stigmatized by the mere fact that the prosecutor made it. This gives local prosecutors, among others, an unconscionable degree of power.

Where is conservative distrust of government when this kind of stuff comes along?

This is such a terrible idea that I can explain it only by thinking that in this case, people are not thinking about the specific policy and the likelihood that it will actually be a good idea.

It's not such a terrible idea if there just happens to be an election soon and if your candidate for governor (in this case Blackwell, to whom Petro lost in the GOP primary) needs a little help. I predict this "law" will somehow get used so that Democrats (specifically Strickland, Blackwell's opponent) can be shown to support pedophiles.

Jimbo - Kent State? That was a while ago; we've had much more recent travesties here that would better display the GOP's contempt for Ohio voters, like the anti-gay constitutional amendments.

Isn't this 'law' going to be tossed out as unconstitutional pretty quickly? That's what makes me think cw's right, this is purely for electoral purposes.

Just like the proposed amendment to the Virginia state constitution on the ballot this November, whose broad language would not only bar same-sex marriages (already the law here) but also threaten contractual arrangements of all kinds between people of the same sex.

The people who got this onto the ballot couldn't care less about the giant legal mess that the amendment could create. The ballot measure's entire purpose is to motivate the fundamentalist base to turn out to vote, for the benefit of George Allen.

Isn't this 'law' going to be tossed out as unconstitutional pretty quickly? That's what makes me think cw's right, this is purely for electoral purposes.

One would think that, but given the wrong appeals panel, I could conceive of someone ruling that as an administrative deteremination which doesn't impose jail time, it's not really criminal punishment and is only subject to the more lenient civil standard. I think that's a crap argument, but I can see it convincing a group of suitably reactionary judges.

Isn't this 'law' going to be tossed out as unconstitutional pretty quickly?

I don't know, the Supreme Court last spoke on civil commitment, which seems to be a more serious punishment than what the Ohio law provides, in Kansas v. Hendricks, in which they appeared to significantly lower the bar.

Abstract of a law review comment on the case and its possible disturbing implications here.
Note that the four dissenters are still on the Court. Cite for case is 117 S. Ct. 2072

Yeah, I ditto Pooh. It sounds like a more punitive domestic violence finding. DV has a civil process that leads to things like restraining orders and such.

In my state, one of the nasty aspects of that is that the accused in the civil process is often also under investigation in the criminal case. And anyhting he says in his defense at the civil case can be used against him in the criminal case. So there is usually a default finding in the civil case and things like restraining orders and such are entered and remain in place even if he is found not guilty or the charges are dropped.

For restraining orders and such it really isn't such a huge deal, so even if some innoscent people get caught up in it. Ohio's law on the other hand is much more punitive.

I should correct myself to say that, AFAIK, the last time the Supreme Court spoke on the subject was in Hendricks, they certainly could have done so since then.

Scalia and Thomas seem think that anything labeled "civil" means that it's "civil," despite whatever punishment that comes along with the "civil" proceeding.

And hey! Why not do this with terrorists too?

Trials: A Quaint Relic Of A Bygone Era

The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.

cw: "It's not such a terrible idea if there just happens to be an election soon and if your candidate for governor (in this case Blackwell, to whom Petro lost in the GOP primary) needs a little help. I predict this 'law' will somehow get used so that Democrats (specifically Strickland, Blackwell's opponent) can be shown to support pedophiles."

Nell: "That's what makes me think cw's right, this is purely for electoral purposes."

However, "No one in attendance voiced opposition...."

Who will stand up and risk being labeled "pro-pedophile"?

It's not easy to deal with these issues; I write at times, among the various other issues I deal with, about other aspects of laws dealing with sexuality, and age limits, at times, such as when the Republican Kansas Attorney General sought to require all health care and educational workers to report all consensual sexual activity of 16-and-unders (later over-turned in federal court), but I have to stop and think every time I do: will people assume because I'm writing about this that I'm a pedophile? Will they conclude that because I pay attention to this, I support child molestation, or have an unhealthy interest?

Etc. And, in fact, one of those posts was linked by a [carefully legal] pedophile site, which made exactly that speculation, which creeped me out no end.

And I'm just a nobody blogger, with nothing whatever at risk beyond my name. There's little doubt that any legislator who breaths a word about such issues, or anything touching on them, including mere civil liberties, a topic a great many people know little about and care less, will lose some votes, at the very least.

But if we don't speak up for the civil liberties of us all, including accused child molestors, then we don't have civil liberties; just civil privileges.

On other issues of "it's for the children," heard about the WaldenBooks in Mississippi that removed all the books from their "Relationships" section, because a woman complained about seeing The Good Sex Bible where minors could see it? And in Mississippi that can be a felony.

I'm sad no one linked to my post about how our import of the "war on drugs" to Afghanistan will lead us to lose the war, but unsurprised. (Sad because yesterday I had an hour with 0 hits, and the rest of the day was getting 7 and 8 hits per hour, all search engines, with the previous couple of weeks not much more, but oh well.)

So, many thanks for this link, Hilzoy! Much appreciated.

And my last pointer for the moment, they're now stomping 12-year-old-girls, and fracturing their eye-sockets, for being dirty Jews, because, you know, Israel.

And my last pointer for the moment, they're now stomping 12-year-old-girls, and fracturing their eye-sockets, for being dirty Jews, because, you know, Israel.

Gary: I read about that at your blog yesterday. The erroneous notion that Anti-Semitism is a thing of the past is one that disturbs me to no end. Reminds me of those who claim that racism in the US doesn't exist any more simply because Jim Crow laws were overturned. What, Anti-Semitism is only notable if it involves mass genocide?

One only has to look at the recent electoral success of the British National Party, along with a general rise in far-right nativist sentiment throughout Europe, to know that Anti-Semitism is still an unfortunate reality. European hate groups as of late tend to centre their focus on the Muslim 'invasion', but that doesn't mean they've forgotten to include the Jews in their pathological ethnic antipathy.

Back in the late 90s, I used to work at a local synagogue doing security, among other duties. Anti-Semitic graffiti and other forms vandalism and intimidation were common, especially after high-profile incidents such as the LA daycare shootings. Synagogue officials would downplay these hate crimes, for fear that media attention would inspire copycats.

Which may partially explain why some people assume Jews in North America don't face overt discrimination and intimidation any more.

No one in attendance voiced opposition to rules submitted by Attorney General Jim Petro's office to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, consisting of members of the Ohio House and Senate

Isn't the solution to this one fairly obvious?

"Your honor, I was raped by Jim Petro and the members of the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. Despite the fact that I have no evidence for this claim, I ask that they be placed on the sex offender registry. Think of the children..."

"The erroneous notion that Anti-Semitism is a thing of the past is one that disturbs me to no end. Reminds me of those who claim that racism in the US doesn't exist any more simply because Jim Crow laws were overturned. What, Anti-Semitism is only notable if it involves mass genocide?"

I have no wish to threadjack, so feel free to point me to a more appropriate thread, but I see two main reasons this comes up so frequently (in my world).

One is simple innocent obliviousness; if you're not paying close attention, as a news junkie, it's easy enough to never read about it, and thus conclude there's no significant anti-Semitism left in America or Europe or English-speaking countries, and if you're not Jewish, or apt to be mistaken as such, you have the privilege of not paying attention.

Reason two is that the claim is constantly hauled out as justification for the assertion that a Jewish state is racist, that nationalism is pointless and unnecessary and a bad thing in modern world (though, oddly, one hears this less often in the context of a Palestinian state, or at least I hear it less often, and one doesn't tend to hear it in the proposal that some other nation should be dismantled next year), and that since Jews are all very safe in Europe and the U.S. and Canada and elsewhere, nowadays in our fine and safe new world, there's obviously no reason for Israel to exist as a Jewish state, other than racism, militarism, colonialism, aggressiveness, paranoia, obsolete fears, etc., and so on. Similarly, those crazy Israelis are just nuts/evil/whatever for reacting "disproportionately" because obviously they have nothing to worry about.

I don't mean to suggest that everyone who reachs some variant of the latter conclusion concludes that anti-Semitism is an obsolete problem because of their political agenda to attack/dismantle Israel; I don't believe that; it's the case, I think, that plenty of people do sincerely work through that in reverse: they sincerely believe that anti-Semitism is no longer a serious problem in the western world, and therefore conclude that Israel etc. (Zionism is racism.)

They're still wrong, though, in my view.

"Which may partially explain why some people assume Jews in North America don't face overt discrimination and intimidation any more."

And, of course, countless numbers of pale-skinned people walk around with the delusion that racism is basically a bygone problem of a bygone era, that it's not a serious problem any more. This is insanity, as most any dark-skinned person could tell you, or anyone with eyes to observe how a dark-skinned person who dresses down is comparatively treated when entering many shopping establishments, or in countless other situations (housing, employment, etc.), but the fact is that, nonetheless, innumerable pale people have the privilege of not paying attention and not noticing, so the widespread and constant nature of the problem remains invisible to them, since it's not Bull Connor turning fire hoses on people on the evening news.

Ditto sexism (hey, women are equal nowadays, whatcha bitching about?), homophobia (I'm okay with gays, so long as they don't flaunt it, and act all disgusting in public), and on through all the isms.

And, of course, at present Moslems get to be overtly wildly discriminated against and attacked, and that's not just publically acceptable in much of our society at present, but immensely popular. (Cue LGF and their ilk, and non-virtual equivalents.)

"What do you think of Western civilization, Mr. Gandhi?"

"I think it would be a good idea."

Perhaps the powers-that-be would be so kind to provide a forum for these off-topic musings?

Before bowing out, I'd like to highlight something you said here, Gary, which I don't think gets touched upon enough in the mainstream (read: non-feminist/POC) liberal blogosphere:

And, of course, countless numbers of pale-skinned people walk around with the delusion that racism is basically a bygone problem of a bygone era, that it's not a serious problem any more. This is insanity, as most any dark-skinned person could tell you, or anyone with eyes to observe how a dark-skinned person who dresses down is comparatively treated when entering many shopping establishments, or in countless other situations (housing, employment, etc.), but the fact is that, nonetheless, innumerable pale people have the privilege of not paying attention and not noticing, so the widespread and constant nature of the problem remains invisible to them, since it's not Bull Connor turning fire hoses on people on the evening news.

Ditto sexism (hey, women are equal nowadays, whatcha bitching about?), homophobia (I'm okay with gays, so long as they don't flaunt it, and act all disgusting in public), and on through all the isms.


As a dark skinned person who 'dresses down' and whose speech patterns are whiter than Ed Begley Jr, I can't tell you how much I enjoy being told how 'well spoken' I am, or asked 'where are you from, originally?' (I further enjoy the inevitible look of confusion when I inform these enlightened souls that I'm originally from Wingham, a small, almost uniformly white, farming community in southwestern Ontario. 'No, where were you from before you came to Canada?') Or being stopped (and followed) by police because I 'fit the profile' of someone they're looking for ('let's see: neeegro in a sportsjacket - eh, close enough.')

These slights may seem trivial to someone who isn't part of a racial or ethnic minority, but are indicative of a deeper sentiment among far too many: the fact that any one who isn't a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant is, on one level or another, 'the other'.

Things may not be as bad as they were in previous generations, but 'better' doesn't equal 'ideal', nor even 'adequate'.

Yet it seems, at least in the US, that some on the 'Left' (or, to be more precise, the 'Center') think race and other identity-related social concerns are political liabilities.

But if we don't speak up for the civil liberties of us all, including accused child molestors, then we don't have civil liberties; just civil privileges.

A wonderful companion to/today's Greenwald, where he takes on Republicans who like:

Here is Bush loyalist Sen. John Cornyn, explaining why we should allow the President to break the law and eavesdrop on our conversations without any oversight: "None of your civil liberties matter much after you’re dead." And here is Pat Roberts, showing how willing he is to trade all American values in the hope of being protected from the things he fears: "I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties. But you have no civil liberties if you are dead."

mattbastard, anyone who truly thinks racism -- widespread, insitutionalized racism -- is a relic of the past needs to read this story, and realize that something like this probably happens several times a day all over America:

Nine black children attending Red River Elementary School were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children.

The situation has outraged relatives of the black children who have filed a complaint with school officials.

Superintendent Kay Easley will meet with the family members in her office this morning.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also is considering filing a formal charge with the U.S. Department of Justice. NAACP District Vice President James Panell, of Shreveport, said he would apprise Justice attorneys of the situation this week. He's considering asking for an investigation into the bus incident and other aspects of the school system's operations, including pupil-teacher ratio as it relates to the numbers of white and black children, along with a breakdown of the numbers of black and white teachers employed.

A few seasons ago, there was a cast member on MTV's The Real World who was quite openly racist, and disingenuously portrayed himself as coming from "a small town in Ohio." That small town was Parma, OH, a Cleveland-bordering suburb with a population of nearly 86,000, the sixth-largest city in Ohio (after Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Akron and Canton. Parma fought a 23-year battle with the DoJ over its policies which kept minority homebuyers out of the city, only settling things in 1995. And even since then, when black families have bought homes in Parma, there have been incidents of racial intimidation and even cross burnings (at least two, in 1996 and 1999). Cross burnings! In the 1990s! In a major US urban area! And yet MTV let this guy get away with acting as if he came from some cow-town where he just hadn't had the opportunity to interact with blacks.

(Although, interestingly, Parmatown Mall and the schools are full of kids who have adopted the fashion, music and trappings of hip-hop culture. As long as they don't have to live near any black people, it's perfectly OK to appropriate and exploit their culture, am I right?)

So whenever I hear from people that racism is a thing of the past, I just roll my eyes and think of Parma.

will people assume because I'm writing about this that I'm a pedophile?
At least you didn't get noticed by Lee Siegel, Gary. Then again, maybe you'd have been able to get a court to make the New Republic pay your rent for a while.

Scalia and Thomas seem think that anything labeled "civil" means that it's "civil," despite whatever punishment that comes along with the "civil" proceeding.

That was basically much of the analysis (although it was most upfront in Kennedy's opinion).

That said, the cases can be distinguished. Key to those cases, IMHO, was that the registry was just a wider dissemination of already-public info: that the person was convicted was just a raw fact, and the publication of facts can't constitute a cognizable injury, other things being equal. That leaves plenty of room for a court to find those cases largely inapplicable. Although, as someone else pointed out earlier, the wrong panel could easily uphold the registry.

So whenever I hear from people that racism is a thing of the past, I just roll my eyes and think of Parma.

It's never a good idea to think of Parma. Ever. For any reason.

"As a dark skinned person who 'dresses down'...."

Well, you bring that problem on yourself! If you simply always dressed in a three-piece suit, you wouldn't have these problems! You people are just so touchy!

Of course, as we know, you'd still be treated in some situations, by some people, as The Other; at least as a non-religious, atheistic, Jew who isn't Hasidic and doesn't wear a yarmulke, etc., I have the benefit/privilege, most of the time, of passing, at least so long as I'm not engaged in conversation. (And occasionally that lets me in on one of Those Conversations with a pale-skinned person, which reminds me of that old "Mr. White" sketch of Eddie Murphy's [YouTube here] about what white folk do when darker-skinned people aren't about; of course, I've also heard fascinating opinions about The Jews at times, as well.)

But I have an idea: while you're writing about anti-Semitism, and I'm writing about skin tone privilege, we could get together and form a movement! We could call, I don't know, liberalism, and we could be for fighting poverty and discrimination and stuff like that! Who's with me?

"Yet it seems, at least in the US, that some on the 'Left' (or, to be more precise, the 'Center') think race and other identity-related social concerns are political liabilities."

At times I get discouraged at what seems to be the fact that more often than not -- and not to obviate that there is much good in most people -- people's political views mostly tend to be selfish, and when they see attention going to solving other people's problems, if they perceive that as being at their expense in any way, even if it's only in attention and money not going to them and theirs, they resent it.

There are, to be sure, exceptions. The Voting Rights Act, and other civil rights and anti-poverty measures of the Great Society of Johnson's day were, after all, voted in with the support of many middle-class pale-skinned folks; but it didn't take long at all for the racist resistance, and the resentment at attention and effort being given to the poor, and that being seen by many as being at the expense of many middle-class pale folks, to resurge into dominance again, and that led to the Republican majority and the eras of Nixon and then Reagan/Bush/Bush. (And Clinton couldn't be a genuine liberal, but had to be a triangulating "the era of big government is over/welfare-as-we-know-it-is-over" guy.)

Which makes me feel like some sort of lifelong whackadoodle idealist for thinking that Sweden is onto something.

Whoops, that YouTube video was pulled by NBC. Oh, well.

DV has a civil process that leads to things like restraining orders and such.

Interesting comparison, actually - this is a long simmering debate in my state as well (especially in situations where ex parte proceedings are sought) As a policy matter, though, I can draw a pretty clear demarcation between the need for quick action in a DV situation vs. precipitous action in putting someone on a registry in that in the domestic situation there is a specific relationship which the court is considering. For this abomination well, hello thoughtcrime?

I love spending time with kids, especially building stuff or exploring. In the environment of hysteria surrounding stranger molestation an unmarried male nonconformist simply can't take the chance. It's too bad, since I'm really good with kids - I worked for a while in a hands-on science museum and had a total blast.

Perhaps this should be something done as a separate post, but I recall that some people were arrested for child porn and the evidence was not any actual pictures, but computer graphics they had made. (I'm sorry, but googling the requisite words on Google is not recommended). My feeling has always been that what goes on in a person's head (which extends to what they create) is not really something that can be prosecuted, but I wonder if I'm just being quaint.

The other thing about domestic violence is that there is generally no chance at all of some sort of mistaken identity, and often also clear evidence of abuse (hospital records, photographs of bruising, etc. I was the one with the camera at my shelter, and got to take a number of documentary photographs, including the wounds one woman had gotten by being repeatedly stabbed with a fork.)

"...but I recall that some people were arrested for child porn and the evidence was not any actual pictures, but computer graphics they had made."

Yeah; in both America and Britain, in fact. (There was a case just the other week in Britain, as I recall.) It's against the law in both countries, now, remarkably enough, to make "representations," whether by computer manipulation, or simple hand-drawing, of people who "look" under-age, in sexual situations.

Is there any ambiguity about proving what "looks" under-age? Why, that couldn't possibly be an issue, could it?

And the rationale here? We have to protect the molested pixels/drawings, you know. (More seriously, it appears to literally be the case that thought-crimes indicate sufficient depravity that the person should be locked up, or otherwise, of course, The Children would be in danger.)

"...but I wonder if I'm just being quaint."

Apparently.

It's also rather historically whacky, when you look back a few hundred years, or at other cultures, as to when people were often getting married, which is to say, frequently at age 12-16.

Of course, the entire concept of adolescence is a modern invention.

Gary, it's possible to condemn Israel's behavior in Lebanon, antisemitism and vicious attacks on 12 year old girls. Maybe it would be best to condemn vicious antisemitism without linking the condemnation to a defense of Israel's behavior.

As for Israel's right to exist--there are good pragmatic reasons for wanting the Palestinians to give up the right of return and accept the results of their expulsion, but couching the issue in terms of "Israel's right to exist" was a stroke of diplomatic genius, since it frames Palestinians demanding their rights as rejectionists who deny Israel's right to exist. Anyway, aside from the antisemites the reason some people have problems with Israel's "right to exist" is because it involves denying the Palestinian right of return. You know the issue is morally messy with no satisfactory solution, but you left out that aspect of it. The solution, I think we agree, involves both sides admitting that there is no black and white answer to be found and then muddling their way to a not wholly satisfying but acceptable solution for both sides. Something like the Geneva Accords, probably.

Okay, having solved the problem of peace in the Middle East, I'll bow out. Back to the issue of assuming people are guilty until proven innocent. Child molestation charges seem to bring out the little Cotton Mather in the American psyche

Isn't this 'law' going to be tossed out as unconstitutional pretty quickly?

It depends. Several things have to happen. You need to find (1) a good plaintiff (i.e. with standing and good facts) who is (2) willing to challenge the law, and who has (3) access to a lawyer or has contacted someone (e.g. ACLU) that wants to represent him or her.

For example, a 19 yr-old who had consensual sex with her high-school boyfriend who can't get an apartment or job because of being identified as a "sex offender."

"Gary, it's possible to condemn Israel's behavior in Lebanon, antisemitism and vicious attacks on 12 year old girls."

Of course it is.

That's possibly why I wrote in that post that:

Obviously it's absolutely legitimate to vehemently criticize and protest any action of the Israeli government. This is so obvious it shouldn't need to be said.

[...]

There's nothing whatever wrong with objecting to endless numbers of Israeli policies, of its occupation of the West Bank, of its unfair treatment of Palestinians, of its still very often racist and unfair treatment of its Arab citizens, and so on and so forth; endless numbers of Israelis object to these and many other injustices, and so do I and so do innumerable other Jews.

Since I wrote it, it's entirely possible that's what I believe.

"You know the issue is morally messy with no satisfactory solution, but you left out that aspect of it."

Yes, that's correct. I did not write a treatise on all aspects of the situation, or even start to; that way lies 30,000 word long comments.

"The solution, I think we agree, involves both sides admitting that there is no black and white answer to be found and then muddling their way to a not wholly satisfying but acceptable solution for both sides."

Yes. A viable contiguous democratic Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, and Israel having withdrawn from the West Bank, save for some mutually-agreed-upon swappage, compensation for the families of the Palestinians unable to return, some sort of compromise over Jerusalem or East Jerusalem (I don't in the least agree with any formulation of Jerusalem needing to be indivisible and wholly Jewish; the city clearly needs to be shared in some fashion, in my opinion), and so on. Both sides have committed historic wrongs (just as pretty much every other nation on earth has).

Leaving I/P issues to the side, I would like to say that I'm really glad that people are beginning to start talking more openly about sex offender laws as civil liberties violations.

It's not very popular to criticize these registries, involuntary detentions, and whatnot, and, as Gary noted above, it can be taken very much the wrong way, but since I'm firmly convinced that a lot of these measures are dangerous incursions into civil liberty (and not particularly productive), it's good to see a broadening range of people willing to speak rationally on this issue.

I meant by "sex offender laws" those laws that try to create a class of person to whom almost no civil rights obtain, not those laws that penalize specific criminal actions.

That's important to clarify. In fact, that was the whole point of my comment.

why do I have this sinking feeling that standing up against this kind of bs is going to re rewarded with tar and feathering by the RW noise machine? Especially since it is that battleground state and the Ohio House of Representatives is 61-38 Republican? (Please don't take this as a suggestion to back down, just an awful foreboding that should be planned for)

Jackmormon: I have conflicted views about registries per se, as opposed to my completely unconflicted views about registries that don't involve first being convicted of a crime. This goes back to my shelter days. At that time, the recidivism rate for spousal abuse was thought to be very, very high. (It may still be thought to be very very high; I just haven't kept up on the research.) If a guy beat up one lover, the chances were extremely good that he would go on to beat up another.

Batterers are not always easy to identify: the telltale signs aren't things like beating other people up, or something obviously connected, but things like: falling for someone too hard, too fast -- things that might set off alarm bells for someone who had been poring over lists of 'Ten Ways to Spot an Abuser', but not for anyone who hadn't. They are also manipulative and often charming, and tend to explain away things like not being on speaking terms with their previous lovers in plausible ways.

After the nth long, tearful session with someone who had been beaten up by someone who had, as it turned out, a long history of abuse, I remember wondering, in exasperation, whether it might not be a good idea to just tattoo a scarlet B on their foreheads. Only if they had been convicted; only if the abuse had met some threshhold of seriousness, but still: wouldn't it be a good idea?

Some part of me was horrified that I had this thought. Another part wondered: well, why wouldn't it be a good idea? Here it's relevant that whereas it's easy to see how someone could be convicted of a murder he did not in fact commit, there are not many cases of mistaken identity in domestic violence cases. There are false accusations, but I was quite prepared to require independent evidence of abuse, e.g. hospital records. This would be useful both in preventing innocent people from being stigmatized, but also in making the scarlet B harder for the abuser to explain away.

I still don't really know what I think of this. And sex offender registries are somewhat different, insofar as my thought experiment turns on specific features of the crime of domestic violence. Still, I do not think it's nutty for someone's past misdeeds to be public, and for that person to have to explain him- or herself to others.

So have I lapsed into barbarism, or what?

why do I have this sinking feeling that standing up against this kind of bs is going to re rewarded with tar and feathering by the RW noise machine? Especially since it is that battleground state and the Ohio House of Representatives is 61-38 Republican?

And especially keeping in mind that Ohio is where one of the notorious "film developing lab calls cops on parents who take pictures of kids in bath" cases took place, this one involving a woman in Oberlin. Oberlin, for pete's sake!

The disturbing thing is that for just about any egregious abuse of state power, all that you have to do is invoke The Children.

This Ohio business still pales in comparison with that time in the 1980's when after three hundred years of dormancy, the witch hunt briefly returned. So for a while you had wild tales being spun about a sinister network of Satanist child molesters for which there was no evidence save children pushed into giving outrageous testimonies.

"It takes a child to raze a village."

Didn't the U.S. Supreme Court rule that the law banning computer generated images of child pornography, as opposed to the real thing, was unconstitutional?

why do I have this sinking feeling that standing up against this kind of BS is going to be rewarded with tar and feathering by the RW noise machine?

LJ: Maybe that is the whole idea - again, (as seems almost obligatory to have to state in these sort of cases) this is no negation of the seriousness of child-molestation, or any argument that childen shouldn't be protected against sexual predators: but the whole Ohio "registry" plan seems to have been designed as a political ploy in the first place. It is a sort of win-win situation for its proponents: if the plan is deemed constitutional, they win: even if it is eventually knocked down in court, they still win, as they can then milk the issue along the lines of "Activist judge kills sex-offender plan; pedophiles rejoice!" and set up the requisite strawmen to exploit for electoral advantage ("Congressman X doesn't want to protect your children: Vote Republican!").
It is an unfortunate fact of human nature that, if the crime/practice is deemed heinous enough, most people are quite willing to suspend their dedication to the principles of the Law - and just as true a fact that, in our democracy, there will be politicians willing to pander to this trait.

if "sex offender" is defined loosely enough to include an 18 year old who has consensual sex with his 17 year old girlfriend.

That's a very good point cause half the high school students would probably get classified as sexual offenders right now.

Also, how about more protection for the accused? Rape victims' names are always kept away from the public for obvious reasons. I think the accused should be given the same consideration until proven guilty.

"So have I lapsed into barbarism, or what?"

well, yeah, I thought the part where you advocated having the victim tatoo the scarlet B with repeated stabs of a salad fork was a bit much, really.

But other than that, no.

Rape victims' names are always kept away from the public for obvious reasons. I think the accused should be given the same consideration until proven guilty.

I can see the argument for this, and am sympathetic to it, but I think there are Constitutional problems involved. Those accused of a crime are given the right to a speedy and public trial; "public" includes the fact that their identities are not kept secret. In fact, allowing courts to try people in secret would be a bad road to start down.

Part of the problem is that it's so well known now that only 4% of rapes that get as far as a police blotter* result in conviction, that for a man to be cleared of committing rape in court usually means "He did it but he got away with it".

Improve the conviction rate for rape - make it more likely that rapists are convicted and that when a man is acquitted of committing rape it really means "He didn't do it" and not "He got away with it" - and men who don't rape need not fear public trial in the case of a - rare, in any case - false accusation.

*As has been wearily established over and over again, the majority of rapes are not reported to the police, or not formally reported at least.

Stan -
While I agree with the underlying motivation, I'm not sure I wouldn't then have to conceal the names of everyone accused of murder as well; certainly being called a murderer is as damaging to your reputation as being designated a rapist. And that's where the press freedom issues become really relevant, as there are many cases upholding the press's right to attend (if not film or photograph) capital murder trials.

If it could be shown that there was something inherently unreliable about an accusation of rape, or that rape cases were systematically being brought with no evidence or based on false testimony, you could maybe have something like what the Illinois governor did for the death penalty; seal all rape trials untill the issue was reformed, or something. But I know of no such data, and I don't know how you would get it, anyway.

So while I certainly agree that a false accusation of rape can tarnish (or destroy) someone's reputation permanently regardless of the verdict, I'm not sure how it could work in the context of the larger system.

St: So while I certainly agree that a false accusation of rape can tarnish (or destroy) someone's reputation permanently regardless of the verdict, I'm not sure how it could work in the context of the larger system.

And false accusations of rape are, in any case, so uncommon - especially false accusations that get as far as trial - it seems wrong (as well as inconsistent) to provide a shield for men charged with rape. We would end up providing a shield for everyone charged with a heinous crime, until they were convicted - effectively, secret trials.

Jes,

Improve the conviction rate for rape - make it more likely that rapists are convicted and that when a man is acquitted of committing rape it really means "He didn't do it" and not "He got away with it" - and men who don't rape need not fear public trial in the case of a - rare, in any case - false accusation.

Then, by that logic, let's improve the conviction rate for terrorism, cause if you are acquitted - then you are really not a terrorist!
The scary thing is that any woman can accuse any man of rape (with minimal or no evidence!), and the man will end up spending time in jail awaiting a court date (or until she drops charges). My friend's cousin was taken to jail, because his wife (whom he left), decided to get back at him by accusing him of domestic violence.

We would end up providing a shield for everyone charged with a heinous crime, until they were convicted

What's wrong with that? If false accusations are so uncommon, as you claim, then the perpetrator's name will get out as soon as he convicted, anyway.

"tattoo a scarlet B on their foreheads. Only if they had been convicted; only if the abuse had met some threshhold of seriousness . . .
So have I lapsed into barbarism, or what?"

FWIW, under such circumstances, I would be perfectly happy to put the B on with a cattle brand, so I don't think you have lapsed into barbarism.

StanLS: It's just not true that any woman can accuse any man of rape and he then ends up in jail. The police have to listen to the complaint, and decide whether it warrants an arrest. They are not idiots, and do not act on each and every report they are given.

In the somewhat different case of domestic violence, which you mention, I could tell you many stories about the police coming to a house, seeing clear evidence of violence, and going away on the grounds that it's a "private matter". And then there's this case, which I remember vividly, since it happened in the town I was living in when I was volunteering at a local shelter:

"Last August in Somerville,Massachusetts, Pamela Nigro-Dunn was coming home from work and got off the bus at the stop where her mother met her each day. A man drove up and insisted Nigro-Dunn get into his car. When she and her mother resisted, he threw mace into her mother's face. Then he shot Pamela, who was five months pregnant, in the abdomen and dragged her into the car. Her body was found in a garbage dump nine hours later. She had been shot, strangled, and stabbed. The murderer was arrested three months later in Florida. He was her husband. (...)

Many people are aware that wife-beating is aproblem. But few are aware of the shocking way that violence is ignored by the criminal justice system. When called for help, police rarely make arrests. When they do, prosecutors rarely bring charges. And when cases are brought to court, judges too often have the attitude of Paul Heffernan, the Massachusetts judge who was sitting on the bench when Pamela Nigro-Dunn requested help.

In the first affidavit Pamela filed, just sixweeks after her wedding, she stated, "I'm a prisoner in my apartment. He locks me in and takes the phone cord out. He chocked me and threatened to kill me if I try to leave. He made me work only where he works. . . . My life is in danger so long as he is around.'

Pamela asked Heffernan to order Paul Dunnout of the apartment, but the judge refused and then asked her, "Did he demonstrate this type of behavior before you married him?' presumably reasoning that, if the husband had hit her before they were married, she was not entitled to police protection if she was beaten--however badly-- after she was married. Pamela moved out.

Five days later, she returned to court to obtaina police escort so she could return to the apartment for her clothes. "I don't think it's the role of this Court to decide down to each piece of underwear who owns what,' Heffernan said. "This is pretty trivial . . .. This court has a lot more serious matters to contend with. We're doing a terrible disservice to the taxpayers here.' Heffernan then turned to her husband and said, "You want to gnaw on her and she on you fine, but let's not do it at the taxpayers' expense.'

Pamela moved in with her parents, but afterpressure from Paul to return and promises that he'd reform, she reconciled with him for several weeks. The abuse resumed. She didn't go back to court to seek further protection. Why would she? She moved back to her parents', and her mother began accompanying her to and from the busstop because they had seen Paul circling in his car. Shortly thereafter he murdered her."

But all these stories, like yours, are anecdotal, and in themselves they show only that the police and judges are (not surprisingly) fallible human beings.

For what it's worth, the FBI puts the proportion of rape allegations that are false at 8%; the number of unreported rapes is, for obvious reasons, unknown.

hilzoy,

What about that Duke case?

Stan: It sounds like that's part of the 8%.

"What about that Duke case?"

Math isn't my strong suit, Stan, but I'm fairly sure that "1" falls within 8% of tens of thousands.

Similarly 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Gary,

Read the thread. Their names should not have been made public.

Stan: Then, by that logic, let's improve the conviction rate for terrorism, cause if you are acquitted - then you are really not a terrorist!

Oh well, by that logic, Stan, let's kidnap lots of men, claim they committed rape, and lock them up in Guantanamo Bay for four years without permitting them a trial or allowing them to communicate with their families.

Jes,

I am glad you figured out the stupidity of your original comment.

I am glad you figured out the stupidity of your original comment.

I wish you had figured out the stupidity of yours.

Jes. Good comeback. Spot on!

As usual, everyone, Stan is not interested in a discussion; he's interested in declamations, faulty inductive reasoning, and the tu quoque fallacy. If you ignore him sufficiently, he'll go away until someone says "Israel" again.

The idea that, contrary to the Constitution's provision for public criminal trials, we should shield the names of accused rapists -- and accused rapists only -- because some vanishingly small number of rape accusations are false is simply stupid. There's not a more polite word for it.

As usual, everyone

Aw, our resident announcer - Phil.

Stan is not interested in a discussion; he's interested in declamations, faulty inductive reasoning, and the tu quoque fallacy.

...and just a few hours ago you were agreeing with me - I can see the argument for this, and am sympathetic to it

What's the matter? You didnt' realize you were replying to a point that I was making?

If you ignore him sufficiently, he'll go away until someone says "Israel" again.

Cute.

contrary to the Constitution's provision for public criminal trials, we should shield the names of accused rapists -- and accused rapists only

Don't be dense (please, try!). Rape victims are the only victims whose names are kept private, isn't that so? This should work both ways.

What's the matter? You didnt' realize you were replying to a point that I was making?

Stan, repeating the same point over and over again does not require that people need to express their agreement with you. There is some problem by trial by public media, and a discussion would be nice, but you don't seem to be interested in it. If I am mistaken, please explain how we would create a law that would just dealing with those accused of rape and no other crimes? Or how we would balance the press freedom involved?

BTW, rape victims are not the only ones whose identities are kept private. The identity of minors is kept secret. But publicizing the identity of those who commit crimes as adults is an acknowledgement that they are of a certain maturity, whereas I believe it is presumed that children may not know what they have done. Your thoughts?

...and just a few hours ago you were agreeing with me - I can see the argument for this, and am sympathetic to it

Try again, kiddo. I disagreed with you, because I noted that despite my sympathy to the argument, there was a Constitutional barrier to holding secret trials for accused rapists. See, that's what "I am sympathetic, but . . . " means in English -- it's the opposite of agreeing.

What's the matter? You didnt' realize you were replying to a point that I was making?

No, I just thought maybe you had grown up a little. Alas, I'll be wiser next time.

Rape victims are the only victims whose names are kept private, isn't that so? This should work both ways.

Number one, no, they aren't; and number two, the obvious solution is not to keep the names of the alleged victims secret, either.

"Rape victims are the only victims whose names are kept private, isn't that so? This should work both ways."

Rape victims' names are kept private because of the nature of the crime against them. Your suggestion presumes a moral equivalence between victim and accused. That's rather hard to take seriously, particularly when those who have made false accusations can later be pilloried.

Rape victims' names are kept private because of the nature of the crime against them.

I am aware of the reason. By that same reasoning, however, we should keep the name of the accused private as well - till proven guilty.

Your suggestion presumes a moral equivalence between victim and accused.

But the accused himself is a victim of a different sort if found innocent, no?

hilzoy, then there was Yvette Cade here in Maryland, whose estranged husband -- right in the middle of the cellphone store where she worked -- doused her with a soda bottle full of gasoline, then lit her on fire, causing third-degree burns all over her head, hands and torso. This was a mere three weeks after a judge in Prince George's County dismissed a protective order she had asked for, because the husband claimed he wanted to go to counseling.

The all-too-common results of violence against women make the reputational damage suffered by men as a result of incredibly infrequent false accusations look like WATB baloney.

My friend's cousin was taken to jail, because his wife (whom he left), decided to get back at him by accusing him of domestic violence.

The absence of the word "falsely" here is telling.

"As usual, everyone, Stan is not interested in a discussion; he's interested in declamations, faulty inductive reasoning, and the tu quoque fallacy."

I find it difficult to observe more substantial attention to policy and issues in one of these comments over another:

I am glad you figured out the stupidity of your original comment.

I wish you had figured out the stupidity of yours.

Both equally deeply informative.

JakeB: "Rape victims' names are kept private because of the nature of the crime against them."

More than a few people have raised questions about this reasoning in recent years, to be sure. The assumption that the "nature" of being raped is more shameful than being robbed or killed is certainly questionable, although the obvious primary rebuttal is that not everyone is yet sane enough to see that.

But it's a legitimate debate.

Phil,

The absence of the word "falsely" here is telling.

The decided to get back at him part indicated that her accusations were unwarranted.

The all-too-common results of violence against women make the reputational damage suffered by men as a result of incredibly infrequent false accusations look like WATB baloney.

Frequent or not, I still don't understand what harm it would do to the victims to not publicize the name of the accused until proven guilty.

"But the accused himself is a victim of a different sort if found innocent, no?"

But you haven't shown the equivalence between this victimhood and that of a rape victim, which is what you need to do for your claim to make sense.

Gary--I'm aware of that. I made that statement as a claim about the general thinking. I should have added a verb of thought, perhaps.

JakeB,

It's the stigma.. How many of us would let a person accused of child molestation baby sit our kids? Even if that person was found not guilty?

As a lawyer who's cousin just endured a false accusation of DV, I found the process heavily weighted toward the accused (at least in his state). Ex parte proceeding, special process, "sympathetic" judge, etc. Though not thrown in jail, he was tossed out of his house for a month, as his fiance and her lawyer (who violated the state's ethical rules by speaking with him when he was represented by counsel), tried what they could to get some $$ out of him (though I think the lawyer was snowed by her client, despite the aforementioned ethical violation, which is another issue in this area, though also for lawyers in general). It's a process tailor made for the vindictive, though for the victim as well; and thus hard (but not impossible) to balance.

That said, unfortunately we've gotten to the point where a mere accusation can ruin people. As noted in the previous thread, child molestation is one particular area, the almost unfettered discretion prosecutors have to indict is another (especialy with respect to corporations, where indictment is tantamount to conviction, not that I know what to do about it). I think in the DV area we've gone (at least where I've lived) from one extreme, cops treating DV as a "private" dispute not warranting intervention even when the evidenc of violence is obvious, to the other, cops required to arrest someone if go to a residence on a DV call. A happy medium would be nice here, like most areas.

Crap! That would be "heavily weighted against the accused."

I even did preview and everything, I swear.

It should also be noted that another reason rape victims are kept anonymous is that the defense strategy in those cases which go to trial frequently is based upon accusing the victim of being a promiscuous liar, and unearthing their sexual history in pitiless detail. This is rarely required in the context of other crimes, even murders where self-defense is asserted.

To put it another way, "she was walking through a bad neighborhood" is not a defense to a charge of armed robbery.

People: stop the personal slams.

Ugh: my sense is that with respect to domestic violence, we're in one of those transitional moments when the system is working through the process of getting over previous systemic unfairness. It used to be that DV was never taken seriously at all; it was regarded as a purely private matter, and that, combined with the fact that entering houses in the midst of domestic violence was quite dangerous for the police, meant that very little was done about it. That started to change, slowly, in the 80s. There were education programs for police, etc., but it was slow and inconsistent. And as a result, I think,, the system is still off-balance: some parts haven't adjusted nearly enough, others are overcompensating. It reminds me of businesses getting used to the fact of a diverse workforce, or to the realization that sexual harassment is not, in fact, OK: some people haven't gotten it at all, whereas one wants to say to others: look, you can, in fact, compliment women in a normal, friendly, non-sexualized way; stop being so nervous all the time.

I imagine it will eventually work its way to some sort of equilibrium, which will be better than the status quo ante.

st: My favorite analogy has always been: would your history of charitable giving somehow excuse someone robbing you?

would your history of charitable giving somehow excuse someone robbing you?

If you were in the habit of giving your wallet to poor people on the street and the only evidence that someone robbed you was that they showed up with your wallet, that person could reasonably argue that you gave them your wallet and that your history of giving away your wallet is evidence that this claim isn't unrealistic.

Hiloy, what makes me nervous, from a rather abstract civil liberties standpoint, perhaps, is taking very broad statistical trends like redecivism and using them to create special legal categories of people.

By "special," I mean "singled out," "easily googleable," and "categorizable as suspicious."

What makes me especially nervous about this legal trend is that the studies I've come across (here and there, somewhere) suggest that intensive therapy can really help people with pedephiliac urges.

The redecivism stastitics shouldn't be taken in a void; without any kind of treatment, thrown into brutalizing US jails, most psychopathologies will probably find their way back into the outside world.

However, to use the statistics derived from such a brutalizing system to create new legal categories of persons to be shunned? I can't get behind that.

And really, let's face it: the people who will access the hypothetical database of Bad People To Be Shunned are not the women who find the three-times-convicted batterer charming, nor even the working-class family seeking a baby-sitter.

That hypothetical database would probably be far more heavily used by real estate agents, cops, and screening companies. "Concerned citizens" could contribute hysteria, if any were lacking.

shorter Jes: burn them at the stake unless they can prove their innocence

Chuchundra: If you were in the habit of giving your wallet to poor people on the street and the only evidence that someone robbed you was that they showed up with your wallet, that person could reasonably argue that you gave them your wallet and that your history of giving away your wallet is evidence that this claim isn't unrealistic.

If you sometimes loaned or gave money to close friends, would this excuse a close friend robbing you if one day you decided you didn't want to give them money?

Situation A: I give you money every day, often in front of witnesses. One day, I don't give you the money, and you stick a gun in my face and take it anyway. When you are arrested, you admit the act, but offer the fact of my previous gifts as a defense, saying you weren't really stealing. You lose and go to jail. This is what Hilzoy is talking about.

Situation B: I give you money every day, often in front of witnesses. One day, when there is no one around, I refuse to give you any money. You pull a gun and take it anyway. When you are arrested, you lie and claim that you never pulled a gun, and just accepted the money like you do every day. At your trial, you call previous witnesses to such transfers in your defense. You may win, you may lose. This is what Chuchundra is talking about. Cc's point has nothing to do with "excusing" anything.

st: yes, although I meant also to be including situations analogous to the fact that people used to drag into court the fact that a rape victim had ever had sex -- maybe even in several different relationships!!! -- to show that she was cheap and easy. That would be more like saying that the fact that I once gave money to a charity I knew well and trusted and had come to know over time meant that I obviously couldn't be taken at my word when I said that some complete stranger with a gun in his hand had robbed me.

st: This is what Chuchundra is talking about. Cc's point has nothing to do with "excusing" anything.

CC's point is used in many rape trials to excuse the rapist, as Hilzoy points out. Because a woman gave money to one man - or even to many men - she is assumed to be willing to give money to any man - and if she claims she didn't want to give money to that man, she must be lying - look at how she gave money to other men! And, most perniciously: because she gave money to this specific man willingly once, that means she must be lying when she says he forced her to give her money another time.

Jes

And, most perniciously: because she gave money to this specific man willingly once, that means she must be lying when she says he forced her to give her money another time.

I know, I know, anecdotes aren't data, but I have a nephew who can tell you that sometimes that is true.

Charges were dropped last week, after two months in juvenile detention and house arrest at his grandparents' -- two months where he was forbidden to even see his sister, because he was accused of a sex offense.

Kinda sucks when you're fifteen.

Philip: I know, I know, anecdotes aren't data, but I have a nephew who can tell you that sometimes that is true.

Anecdotes aren't data, no. I have a friend who was raped by her boyfriend when she was fifteen: she didn't bother reporting the rape to the police, because who'd believe her that it was rape? No one: she'd had sex with him before. Your nephew, it appears, was eventually cleared: how nice for him. My friend is still someone who was raped when she was fifteen.

Kinda sucks when you're fifteen.

Yeah. How sad for him: so much worse for a fifteen year old boy to be accused of rape (when he didn't) than for a fifteen year old girl to be raped (and know, if she's brave enough to report it, that the trial will be another purgatory, as her rapist's family and friends circle him protectively, assuring all and sundry that she's a lying slut and he never, he's a nice boy).

And happens so much more frequently, too.

Philip, what would equivalently suck for a fifteen year old who had not committed rape would be for him to be convicted of rape. For him to be accused and to spend two months not being able to see his sister - wow. My heart bleeds for him.

I should add in the interests of accuracy that I don't know for sure that my friend was fifteen: we only talked about it once, when we were both in our early twenties, and from what she said she had to be either fifteen or sixteen.

Philip, what would equivalently suck for a fifteen year old who had not committed rape would be for him to be convicted of rape. For him to be accused and to spend two months not being able to see his sister - wow. My heart bleeds for him.

This is a revolting statement.

Well, since what happened to my nephew isn't the worst that could have possibly happened, I guess he should just sack up then, eh?

If someone said something so crass about your friend, you'd go ballistic. As it is, I'm merely boiling.

Bernard: This is a revolting statement.

What, you think it is worse for a fifteen year old boy to spend two months being cleared of rape that it is for a fifteen year old girl to be raped? Or are you seeing some kind of equivalence? Tell me, Bernard, which would you rather - to be raped by someone much bigger and stronger than you, who would assure everyone afterwards that you'd wanted it, and for you to have a justified fear that they'd believe him and not you - or to be accused of rape, have your family and friends believe you that you didn't do it, and be cleared two months later? Think carefully before you answer: would you really pick being raped over being accused? Or do you really think the two would be equivalent?

If someone said something so crass about your friend, you'd go ballistic.

When people say crass things implying it's just as bad to be accused of rape and cleared, I do go ballistic. You may have noticed. Would you care to wonder how you'd feel if your fifteen year old niece had been raped? Would you tell her the anecdote about how her brother, when he was her age, had been falsely accused? Would you even think that was appropriate or relevant?

Oh, never mind. Walking away from the computer now, and voluntarily banning myself from ObWing for 24 hours, which will give you guys lots of time to explain to each other about how it's exactly as bad for a man or a boy to be accused of rape when he didn't do it as it is for a woman or girl to be raped - and know that if her rapist is ever on trial, so will she be.

When people say crass things implying it's just as bad to be accused of rape and cleared, I do go ballistic.

Show me where I said or even implied any such thing. All I did was point out that these things do occur, and when they occur they do hurt people.

Don't assume that, just because I haven't mentioned it, none of my family members were ever raped. Don't assume that they wouldn't be just as boiling-mad at the fact that you think my nephew's ordeal just doesn't count because rape victims have it a lot worse.

Because that's really the problem here -- you seem to think this doesn't count. Hell, reading back, I wouldn't be surprised if you thought he did it and got away with it.

Says Jes:

Improve the conviction rate for rape - make it more likely that rapists are convicted...

I like the sound of that, but there's something about it that concerns me. Possibly I have a naive view of what's happening now. My assumptions are:

1. A rapist today, faced with good evidence, gets convicted.

2. A rapist who goes free was not faced with very good evidence.

3. Convictions are rare because it's hard to get good evidence about rape because of the nature of the crime (15 years ago, we college freshmen were told that most women who are raped are raped at home by men who (a) they know, and (b) they let in).

If those assumptions are right (and I'm listing them because I want them challenged), the only way to get more convictions is to relax the defintion of "good evidence." We know already that innocent men get convicted of rape (though it is certainly rare). If it's easier to convict, it seems reasonable to assume that more innocent men will be convicted (as well as many more rapists).

So, is convicting more innocents of rape an acceptible price for to pay for bringing justice to more rapists? Or is that not really the price I think it is?

Jes,

Unlike you, I made no claim of equivalence.

What is revolting is your utter lack of any sympathy whatsoever for a falsely accused fifteen-year old.

How sad for him

My heart bleeds for him.

Lovely sentiments, jes.

Do you think that being falsely accused, spending time in detention, and carrying all that around is a trivial matter. I don't. I think it's tragic. That you are able to airily dismiss it so easily is, as I said, revolting.

To completely misrepresent what Phillip and I said is also blatantly dishonest.

"....so much worse for a fifteen year old boy to be accused of rape (when he didn't) than for a fifteen year old girl to be raped...."

I doubt it will be any use to point out to you, Jes, that : Phillip J. Birmingham said nothing of the kind, and that you are attacking him purely, apparently, because of the voices-in-your-head interpretation.

He wrote: "Kinda sucks when you're fifteen."

The "so much worse for a fifteen year old boy to be accused" part is pure hallucination by you, and an example, since have these sort of translations-in-your-head-of-what-someone-really-means, of how you frequently, regularly, go wrong, which is a shame because when you don't do that, you often have something worthwhile to say.

But here you are, as you often do, engaging of calumny of someone purely because of your own making up what they said.

And you continue:

What, you think it is worse for a fifteen year old boy to spend two months being cleared of rape that it is for a fifteen year old girl to be raped? Or are you seeing some kind of equivalence?
This is pure hallucination on your part. No one said any such thing.

"For him to be accused and to spend two months not being able to see his sister - wow. My heart bleeds for him."

Why would it not? If he's purely innocent?

Why would this have to be a contest as to whether someone else's situation might be worse? Why would you simply have no sympathy for someone in the above situation?

"...which will give you guys lots of time to explain to each other about how it's exactly as bad for a man or a boy to be accused of rape when he didn't do it as it is for a woman or girl to be raped...."

Don't let the fact that no one said any such thing get in the way of your thinking.

This is archtypical, Jes: you respond to hallucinations; you might want to learn to stop doing that, and to instead respond to what people actually wrote, rather than the voices in your head.

Jes: I'm with the others here. It is worse to be raped than to be falsely accused, I think, but Philip didn't deny that; he only said that it sucks to be falsely accused when you're 15, which is also true. it is sad for him. Very sad. Especially since, while you've assumed that no one believed the accusation, Philip didn't say so.

It would be even worse for your friend to have been slowly tortured to death when she was 15, but that doesn't make it remotely OK for me to say: wow, she was only raped? Well boo hoo hoo.

which will give you guys lots of time to explain to each other about how it's exactly as bad for a man or a boy to be accused of rape when he didn't do it as it is for a woman or girl to be raped

Well, gosh, now that we have been given the time, let's get to it! Who wants to go first? Anyone? Seriously, she's gone, so we can go back to being the ignorant, thuggish woman haters we really are when she's not around! The coast is clear!

No?

Yikes, this list is a really horrible idea. I suppose it will be run at least as well as the no-fly list?

Argh.

It constantly amazes me how much mileage politicians get for stupid ideas by just saying "Think of the CHILLLLLDREN".

Just for the record, I believe that being falsely accused of rape is nowhere near as bad as being raped.

But it still sucks.

BTW, Hilzoy, none of us in the family believed he had done it, and I don't think that it was widely believed outside the family either. If my nephew has a violent bone in his body, he has hidden it very well. Still, if history is any judge, there are people who will go to their graves believing that he did it and got away with it.

Phil, your newphew wasn't just falsly accused. He spent two months in juvenile detention. Even if the facility was decent, as these places go, he still was locked up and accused of a heinous crime. He likely spent a good part of that time wondering if he was going to spend large chunk of his life behind bars and the rest of his life after that marked as a sex offender.

Was his ordeal worse than Jes's friend who was raped? I surely can't say. But I wouldn't jump to any conclusions either way.

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