Today I became painfully aware of the failing of registry advocate groups not to get pertinent information and press that information because it is extremely important to inform defense attorneys. This realization comes about because of a simple statement by Judge Hamilton of the seventh circuit court. Where he pressed A.G. Schmelzer on whether there is current empirical data to back up the notion that GPS monitoring reduces the recidivism rates of certain sex offenders, saying that high levels of recidivism is “very convenient to use” to justify GPS monitoring, but wondered whether it could still survive constitutional analysis if those recidivism rates were disproven.
Looking even at limited studies that are out there the re-offense rate prior to the registry and since the registry has not changed it is still lower than any other criminal class and those limited studies do not even begin to tell the whole true story. What is a limited study it is study that only looks at people coming out of prison or people involved in treatment programs or people on probation or parole. They do not give the whole picture of the people affected by the registry. Limited studies do not take into account the large number of people who have been on the registry for a long period of time and not committed a new offense. They also do not take into account the amount of collateral damage that has been done to the offender, family members, friends and employers.
There is to my knowledge only one true study of people on the registry that is everyone that is on the registry and that is the Nebraska study ( Nebraska sex offender registry ) that looked at the entire registry for the state of Nebraska going back to 1971 yes there are people on the Nebraska registry whose crime happened in 1971. And in that entire time the average yearly re-offense rate was 6/10 of 1% and that is with the registry increasing in size every year. For more information see these articles.
This is the information that should have been given to the defense attorneys at the outset of this case and that information should have been presented to the court making it impossible for the state to claim any kind of high recidivism rate for any group. The information should’ve also been passed along about the actual truth about the limited studies so that they could not be placed on the court record because they do not meet the *Daubert standard.
What is a limited study to give you an example you want to find out how safe American-made cars are and instead of looking at the record for all American-made cars you only look at the record for the Pinto and the Corvair. If a study does not look at the entire vista that would be affected by the information, then it is a limited study. It is also limited if it uses manipulation of numbers such as adding percentages together instead of real numbers and manipulation of those numbers through the adversarial alliances. This information is also covered in the above articles.
Finally it is the job of every advocate and every advocate organization to pass along correct and pertinent information to the people that need it. Especially defense attorney. Rather you just send them an article or personalize it including specific data everyone who wants to do away with the registry should take the time to find these people and pass the information along to them.
I’ve stated time and again one of the things that all attorneys in all court cases should be prepared for is to prove that there is no high reconviction rate or high recidivism. they should do this by presenting studies that show reconviction rate of less than 3% which is easy to do. they should also be prepared to debunk any studies that show high re-offense rate that the state tries to use to show high re-offense rates. the interesting thing about this is that this can also be carried over into the legislatures by simply pointing out to the legislators that any study that they attempt to use to justify punitive laws had better meet the scientific method laid out in “Daubert” because if they don’t follow those strict guidelines then the laws will be overturned in the courts making them look like the total idiots that some of them are.
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical s, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), is a United States Supreme Court case determining the standard for admitting expert testimony in federal courts. The Daubert Court held that the enactment of the Federal Rules of Evidence implicitly overturned the Frye standard; the standard that the Court articulated is referred to as the Daubert standard.
After Daubert, it was expected that the range of scientific opinion evidence used in court would be expanded. However, courts have strictly applied the standards in Daubert, and it has generally been successful in excluding “junk science” or “pseudoscience”, as well as new or experimental techniques and research that the decision might have been expected to deem admissible.
Discerning between science and “pseudoscience” was the theme of a book by Karl Popper whose summary was quoted in Daubert: “the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability.” The book, Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (5th ed. 1989), pp. 34–57, explains how psychology is more like astrology than astronomy because it does not make predictions about an individual which are falsifiable. He wrote that “the impressive thing about” Einstein’s predictions “is the risk involved…If observation shows that the predicted effect is definitely absent, then the theory is simply refuted.” But “it was impossible to describe a human behaviour” which would be accepted as proving psychology false.
The considerations in Daubert do not all have to be met for the evidence to be admitted. It is necessary only that the majority of the tests be substantially complied with.
The principle in Daubert was expanded in Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael (1999), where the evidence in question was from a technician and not a scientist. The technician was going to testify that the only possible cause of a tire blowout must have been a manufacturing defect, as he could not determine any other possible cause. The Court of Appeal had admitted the evidence on the assumption that Daubert did not apply to technical evidence, only scientific evidence. The Supreme Court reversed, saying that the standard in Daubert could apply to merely technical evidence, but that in this case, the evidence of the proposed expert did not meet the standard.