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By September 3, 2010 6 Comments Read More →

In California, life without parole for violent sex offenses against children

Chelsea King, age 17, was brutally murdered by a John Gardner III, who was already a convicted sex offender. Gardner has also killed 14-year-old Amber Dubois. Lovefraud covered the case in March, in the article Could the Chelsea King murder have been prevented?

The California legislature has passed Chelsea’s law, in an attempt to do just that. It creates mandatory sentences of life without parole for violent sexual offenses against children. Critics, however, wonder if it will work.

Read 1 man, 2 murders lead to tough laws for sex crimes against children on CNN.com.

Link supplied by a Lovefraud reader.

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Posted in: Laws and courts

6 Comments on "In California, life without parole for violent sex offenses against children"

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  1. Amy says:

    It takes a village to protect each other. More people need to trust their instincts and err on the side of caution and protection when someone exhibits any dangerous signals.

  2. bluejay says:

    Amy,

    That’s a good point to make. What I have learned via this web site is that lesson – LISTEN TO YOUR GUT (it doesn’t lie). A friend use to tell me, “when in doubt, don’t.” I wish that I had applied this truth many times over in my life.

  3. OxDrover says:

    Years ago when I was a kid, “Kidnapping” and “rape” were automatically capitol offenses (or is it capitAl?) Anyway, they would execute a man or a woman for kidnapping or rape. Then the “reason” for which these crimes were changed to a lesser sentence was that “if they were going to get executed anyway, they might as well kill the person and leave no witnesses” so the crimes were down graded to life sentences or less….unless they killed the victim.

    So now, probably 50 years later, they are finding that the perps are killing the victims anyway, because now most of the time even MURDER isn’t a true (natural) life sentence, SO, not much difference whether you kill them or not, or just rape them, you’ll be out in a few years anyway.

    So now they rewrite the laws back to “lock em up and throw away the key” for rape to at least prevent you raping and/or killing the next one.

    It’s hard to tell or prove HOW MANY rapes/murders are PREVENTED because a man is locked up. Interestingly enough the crime rate is showing up as less percentage of crime lately as laws have toughened and guys are spending more time in prison after convictions (on some crimes) but some folks attribute this to the aging of the baby-boomers and state that when the latest group of young folks get a bit older the rate will go back wayyyyyy up again. I’m not sure what the “truth” is. I do admit that more young offenders commit crimes than older geezers—but who knows? At least if someone is in jail they aren’t preying on the public.

    Yesterday in Arkansas prisons one murderer doing life without parole killed another murderer doing life with out parole. I didn’t cry when I heard the news. In fact, I didn’t even care, though maybe the dead man’s family will care. The other man will be moved eventually over to death row, and maybe in another 20 years he will be executed after a quarter of a million dollars has been paid to lawyers and others for a trial and four appeals. It was a black on black crime, so he can’t yell racism and get 8 appeals, so that keeps the cost to the tax payers at less than it might have been. I’m just glad it wasn’t a store clerk he killed, or a guard, or a child which it might have been had he been free.

    There will forever be laws Changing punishment rates up or down for “good reason” and I guess none of it will really matter one way or another except that we know that while a person is locked up, they aren’t preying on the general public.

  4. BloggerT7165 says:

    The critics are right. While a few parts of the law are acceptable other parts are just going to cause all sorts of issues and false sense of security. Polygraphs are junk science and have repeatedly been shown not to be valid lie detector tests. They do not detect lies. Even though the people making money off them argue differently the science/evidence is solid on this piece.

    As for the “risk assessments” piece, well as someone who has actually administered them I can also say that this is going to be a problem also. As I posted to LF about convicted sex offender Anthony Sowell who had scored a 1 on the Static 99 and Gardner, the one this whole law is in knee jerk response to scored a 2! So how is having his LOW score posted on the registry supposed to help? It makes him look low risk when in fact he wasnt. It will make others look high risk when they are not. A couple of things that many of the legislators cant seem to grasp:

    The broad majority of men who are apprehended and prosecuted for a sex offense are never rearrested for another

    The broad majority of sex crimes are committed by men who fly below the radar because they have never been apprehended before. To catch these guys, you’d have to engage in massive over-prediction, producing an epidemic of “false positives.”

    These knee jerk sex offender hysteria laws cause other problems also. Is a sex offense so much worse than murder? torture? etc? The fact is that the King case is a RARE sex crime just like the Sowell case. The truth is when it comes to risk the the biggest killer of 15- to 24-year-olds worldwide remains motor vehicle accidents. The is followed closely by suicides, the fourth-leading killer of children over age 10 in seven developed nations.

    To quote a forensic psychologist “it’s the statistical problem of low base rates. If only about one of every ten paroling sex offenders will reoffend sexually, picking out that one is difficult. And picking the one who will commit an exceedingly rare crime like the Chelsea King murder is virtually impossible.”

    If these lawmakers are going to be serious about these things they need to take their own beliefs and emotions and set them aside and go with the science and data. Sadly though they dont and a large number of professionals don’t either and so this happens.

  5. Ox Drover says:

    There you go,. BloggerT, bringing FACTS into the arguments! LOL

    I’m not sure if I have mentioned Dr. Anna Salter more than 10 or 15 times here on LF but her book, “Predators” ( I loaned out my copy and I think I will order another) is enough to raise the hair on the back of your neck. HER statistics about pedophiles (she is supposedly one of the top 10 experts in US on Pedophiiles) she says that most Pedophiles have OFFENDED an average of like 300 times BEFORE THEY are arrested the firsst time.

    The two pedophiles I have known (both of which were convicted of multiple crimes) are the Trojan Horse Psychopath 3 convictions of kids aged 9,11, and 14, and I proved he was grooming a 12 yr old boy before he was rearrested, but he was not charged with anything there, and Charles “Jackie” Walls III who is in Ark now LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE who molested over 1500 separate kids over 20 years, instructed one to kill his parents and family, after the boy had “told on” Jackie, and the kid did the murder. Jackie had gone undtected, unarrested for over 20 years while abusing huge numbers of boy scouts, even his own nephew who then suicided when it was exposed. Jackie had a SQUEEKY CLEAN RECORD of “good public citizen” and no criminal record at all.

    Dr. Salter says that the VAST MAJORITY of sexual crimes are never reported or prosecuted. She doesn’t use the term “psychopath” or anything approaching it in speaking about the pedophiles, but my belief is that all forceable rapists and pedophiles=psychopaths in many, if not all, cases.

    Yes, it IS difficult to PREVENT CRIME on the streets by predicting who will do it, and keeping them locked up. How do you EVER prove that locking up man A prevented 2 murders and locking up Man B prevented 3 rapes?

    However, if you take a 2-3 X convicted felony sexual offender and let him out and he is rearrested for rape and murder it makes YOU look like you have made a serious mistake in your judgment of releasing man C.

    Factor in the “fact” (according to Dr. Salter at least) that the average pedophile has molested 300+ times before he ever hits the radar, then, I would think we could also say that there is a GREAT likelhood that he will again MOLEST UNDETECTED upon release a great number of times.

    I think using the “rate of arrest” of released sexual offenders is not necessarily a good indicator though of OFFENSES.

    Ted Bundy had Raped, and raped and Killed, before detection. After he was detected, he CONTINUED to rape and kill, even escaping from prison to continue to do so.

    The Trojan Horse Psychopath that invaded our family, had 3 SEPARATE offenses for sex with a minor (2 under age 12) and yet was RELEASED again. How many times does a perp have to commit the same crime before he can be put away FOREVER with a reasonable rationalle for doing so?

    I know that you have worked in prisons doing psych assessments on some of these prisoners. I also agree with you that polygraphs are junk science and though they can show up “deception” on some people via the placebo effect, psychopaths and some others, can routinely beat them.

    What is your opinon on sentencing on these sexual predators?

    How’s that for putting you on the spot?! LOL

  6. BloggerT7165 says:

    I have no problem with harsh sentences for those who are truly predatory. But detecting and predicting violence can be an iffy thing. A new study out looked at 9 of the most common tools (including the PCL-R) and found:

    All 9 tools and their subscales predicted violence at about the same moderate level of predictive efficacy with the exception of Psychopathy Checklist—Revised (PCL-R) Factor 1, which predicted violence only at chance level among men.

    The moderate level of predictive accuracy of these tools suggests that they should not be used solely for some criminal justice decision making that requires a very high level of accuracy such as preventive detention.

    http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/bul/136/5/740/

    For instance in my opinion one of the problems with Factor 1 on the PCL-R is as much the tool as it is the person using it. There are some pretty subjective things about it and this, I think, helps to contribute to the differences between evaluators (for example http://www.springerlink.com/content/0438031707442008/?p=5b7aa8a5e050463ba7ce77146b4cee07%C3%8F%C2%80=4)

    And this study shows how in the research context where things are more controlled a tool may do well but once it gets out to the professional masses where there is little control over it things may go south http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bsl.918/pdf

    It is all very complicated because there are some many variables involved not the least of which is that we are dealing with people. Personally I would like to see the limited resources of the justice system better used. There are no simple answers but who doesnt like or wish for simple answers?

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