In Puritan America, a married woman’s illicit affair with a minister landed her in jail. After her release, Hester Prynne was sentenced to forever wear a big red “A” on her dress. 

Nearly 375 years later, the U.S. continues to be scandalized, tantalized and perplexed by sex, especially about sex offenders. Tough on crime, we’re still struggling to learn: 

  • Why domestic violence and incest are so under-reported by victims? 
  • Why most people think every sexual offender is a serial rapist? 
  • Why, even among therapists, many continue to believe sex-offenders to be untreatable? 
  • Why supervision after offenders’ release tends to-wards punitive rather than restorative? 

It’s time to bring the subject of sex crime out of the dark ages, time to help victims shed the shame and trauma of their experience. It’s also time to allow offenders an opportunity to show they can change, make amends and start to earn back trust and acceptance from society.

Supreme Court Reverses Sex Offender Conviction because of Racial Bias in Trial

Supreme Court Reverses Sex Offender Conviction because of Racial Bias in Trial

Myth and Bias

Racial bias is “a familiar and recurring evil” in the criminal justice system, said a US Supreme Court majority last month. They reversed a decision upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court that dealt with a man of Mexican descent convicted in a lower court of three misdemeanor sex offenses.

One of the jurors in the Colorado case was a former law enforcement officer who, during jury deliberations, uttered a number of statements indicating his bias. "Where I used to patrol, nine times out of 10, Mexican men were guilty of being aggressive toward women and young girls,” he said. When asked by peers why he thought the defendant’s alibi wasn’t believable, he said the witness was “an illegal,” and therefore untrustworthy.

After his conviction in the lower court, the defendant – Angel Peña Rodriguez – appealed the conviction on what he said was a violation of his constitutional right to a fair trial. The juror’s bias tainted the deliberations, he said. When the state Supreme Court denied his claim, they said their court system’s “no-impeachment rule” required them to disregard evidence of the juror’s racial bias. Apparently, that is false.

"…blatant racial prejudice is antithetical to the functioning of the jury system and must be confronted," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. Additionally, he said, "Where a juror makes a clear statement that indicates he or she relied on racial stereotypes or animus to convict a criminal defendant, the Sixth Amendment requires that the no-impeachment rule give way in order to permit the trial court to consider the evidence of the juror’s statement and any resulting denial of the jury trial guarantee."

 

High Risk Offender Lives a Hermit's Life to Avoid Stress

The Ratio of Men Abusers to Women is Changing

The Ratio of Men Abusers to Women is Changing