sexual assault

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF “HEBEPHILIA”?

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 has three problematic features. First, it created the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”) which expanded the National Sex Offender Registry and established sanctions up to a maximum of 20 years for sex offenders who do not comply with the law’s registration requirements (here and here). Second, it placed severe restrictions on the constitutional right to bail and prohibitions against disparate sentencing (here). Finally, it allows for the civil commitment of federal sex offenders upon completion of their criminal sentence if it shown that they are “sexually dangerous” and pose a threat to the free community (here).

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“ADAM WALSHED”: A DANGEROUS AND COSTLY RESPONSE TO SEXUAL PREDATION

Former President George W. Bush in July 2006 signed into law the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (“Walsh Act”). A disturbing byproduct of the Walsh Act is the authorization given to the federal government to indefinitely detain any sex offender after completion of his prison sentence, if a Department of Justice attorney certifies and establishes by clear and convincing evidence that he is a “sexually dangerous person” who poses a threat to the safety of the free community. If the offender is certified for what is called “civil commitment,” chances are he will be sent to the Commitment and Treatment Program at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina.

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THE DIFFICULTY WITH CRIMINAL EVIDENCE

Rule 403: Courts Should View Child Porn if Defense Moves to Exclude as Unfairly Prejudicial…

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

Jurors in criminal trial are sometimes called upon to view difficult, disturbing pieces of evidence. This is particularly so in cases of violence and sex offenses, especially child pornography cases. In fact, it is probably easier for jurors to view photographs and/or videos depicting images of the aftermath of a violent offense than it is to view photographs and/or videos of child pornography. Many times, when the question of whether the images are in fact child pornography is not in issue, the Government and criminal defense attorney will stipulate to the jury that evidence is in fact child pornography. In those cases where neither party wants to proceed on the basis of a stipulation, the Government must allow the defense to inspect the evidence it plans to offer into evidence so the defense lawyer can prepare a proper defense. This process provides defense counsel with graphic details of the child pornography the Government will rely upon to make its case. These details often inform defense counsel of the level of prejudice the images/videos of children being sexually exposed and/or assaulted will have on the jury.

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THE PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM INTERNET PORNOGRAPHERS ACT OF 2011

Congress Uses Fear of Child Pornography to Justify Orwellian Surveillance of Private Internet Usage

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

Let us be clear at the outset. We love our children as much as anyone. And we believe that they should be protected from sexual predation: either physical sexual abuse or child pornography. But we have become increasingly concerned about a proliferation child protection laws, particularly at the Federal level. Some of which were obviously politically motivated “feel good” legislation intended to broadcast to the voters that congress was getting something done.

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HARDY V. CROSS: CONFRONTATION CLAUSE QUAGMIRED IN LEGAL UNCERTAINTY

Confusing Logic from SCOTUS and Conflict Among Appellate Courts Leave Trial Courts Guessing The Meaning Of Confrontation

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

The Sixth Amendment is one of the most important amendments of the United States Constitution. It ensures that an “accused shall enjoy the right … to be confronted with witnesses against him.” In 1988 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Coy v. Iowa, observed that “it is always more difficult to tell a lie about a person ‘to his face’ than ‘behind his back.’” Just two years later, in Maryland v. Craig, the Court made this follow up observation: “[F]ace-to-face confrontation enhances the accuracy of fact-finding by reducing the risk that a witness will wrongfully implicate an innocent person.” That observation is critically important because, as pointed out by the New York-based The Innocent Project, roughly 75 percent of the nation’s 282 DNA exonerations involved eyewitness misidentification.

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