Words have Power.

It’s time for a fact check. All advocates need to get on the same page. Our information is misleading and many times incorrect. For example of the new sex crimes that are committed those that are done by first-time offenders, that is people who have their first conviction in a sex crime, is according to the Department of Justice statistics is 99.973% ,not 95%, of the new sex crimes that are committed by first-time offenders (see graph) ( /wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/1994-97-Graph.jpg ). Also the re-offense rate for people on the registry is not 5.3%  REARREST or even 3.5% RECONVICTED it is in fact less than 1%. The data is out there advocates need to start pushing the fact that people on the registry

1. Have a reconviction rate of less than 1% and

2. Of the new sex crimes they are involved in less than 1%.

Even the latest Department of Justice study when actually looking at the hard numbers shows a Yearly re-offense rate of less than 1% /blog/2019/06/07/a-limited-study-done-by-the-department-of-justice-still-proves-that-registrants-have-the-lowest-re-offense-rate.html

This is not a new phenomena studies going back to pre-registry and pretreatment programs show a super low re-offense rate even back then. The Jack study done in 1962 tracked over 4000 offenders for over 15 years and showed a yearly re-offense rate of 2/10 of 1%

As the title indicates words do have power, recently advocates have been looking for proper terminology to describe the movement such as moving away from the term sex offender and changing it to Register Citizens. It is time we stop using the term re-offense rate and started using the correct term reconviction rate, after all in this country a person is not considered guilty until they have been convicted. It also throws into a stark light the difference between studies that use rearrest rates and those that use reconviction rates. If there is not a reconviction then the study violates the constitutional principles of innocent until proven guilty. This is the type of information that needs to be spread throughout the advocate community and especially passed along to attorneys who are involved in trying to restore our constitutional rights. 

Advocates need to point out that most of the studies are limited in nature by the types of crimes that are studied and the group that is involved. The only true study of re-convictions is if entire group that is made up by all people on the registry is studied not subcategories.

The media has found over the years that implying guilt because of an arrest can be very costly in several lawsuits.

That is why they are very careful about how they describe somebody who has been arrested of a crime. Why should that not be true for studies that imply because someone has been arrested that they are guilty of the crime.

As 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 higher 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.

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