Sex Crimes

After He Found California's Indefinite Detention of Sex Offenders Wasn't Working, the State Shut Him Down and Destroyed His Research

Psychologist Jesus Padilla was forbidden to complete research that could have set many indefinitely committed people free. He died with the work unfinished.

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In late 2006, a public defender went before a Napa County judge to argue for his client's freedom. Rex McCurdy, a 49-year-old man, had been detained for seven years at Atascadero State Hospital under a 1995 California law authorizing "civil commitment" of people who have been convicted of sex offenses, a practice that keeps them confined long after they have completed their sentences.

In 1983, McCurdy had pleaded guilty to a rape, for which he served two years in state prison. In 1990, he was convicted of a burglary and served another six years. In 1998, McCurdy says he was brought in on a parole violation for living too close to a school, contrary to his conditions of release. Prosecutors used that violation and the two prior convictions to get McCurdy classified as a "sexually violent predator" (SVP), he says. That designation let them civilly commit him to Atascadero, much the way people with mental health issues can be locked up when they are deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Seven years after McCurdy was committed, his lawyer, Jim McEntee, was trying to persuade a judge that his client was a low risk to reoffend. If he failed, McCurdy would be confined at the hospital indefinitely. Fortunately, the lawyer had heard of evidence that might tip the scales: a study done at Atascadero itself that could help his client.

McEntee called as a witness Jesus Padilla, one of Atascadero's psychologists. Padilla was four years into a study of ex-offenders classified as SVPs who had been released on technical grounds. Padilla had tracked them to find out their recidivism rates, which he presumed would be high.

What he discovered would undermine the basic premise of civilly committing people with sex crime records. In his sworn testimony before the judge and an October 10, 2006, memo, Padilla explained that of the 93 ex-offenders he and a colleague had tracked, just six had been rearrested for an alleged sexual crime after about five years in the community. That amounts to an astonishingly low rearrest rate of 6.5 percent. By comparison, a 2018 study by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 49 percent of all state prisoners were arrested again for the same type of offense within five years of their release. 

The recidivism rate that Padilla found for SVPs did not square with the 1995 law that created the program, which had called the people it targeted a "small but extremely dangerous [group of] sexually violent predators." In short, the study called into question the legitimacy of the entire $270-million-a-year civil commitment program.

Shortly after his testimony, Padilla's study was abruptly terminated. His records were confiscated, his hard copies were shredded, and he was forbidden to talk about his work. At first he pushed back and even tried to continue on his own. But as he explained in 2009, "It's too hard to fight the system, you know." In 2013, Padilla died of stomach cancer, his research unfinished. The whole incident might have been forgotten, if not for the work of law professors Tamara Rice Lave and Franklin Zimring, who excavated Padilla's work in a 2018 American Criminal Law Review article and brought to light the ways in which the state tried to ensure that knowledge of it would die with him.

California's civil commitment program is the biggest in the country, holding 15 percent of those detained nationwide—so a great deal rides on understanding whether it is actually achieving its goals. Yet for decades it has operated under the cover of unexamined assumptions, and the authorities apparently prefer it that way.

What Is a 'Sexually Violent Predator'?

The Constitution's Fifth and 14th amendments bar punishing someone twice for the same crime. A 1997 Supreme Court decision gets around that prohibition by permitting states to confine certain sex offenders not for their old crimes but for those they might commit.

In Kansas v. Hendricks, the Court created special rules for people with sex offense records who suffer from a "mental abnormality" or "mental illness" that makes it "difficult, if not impossible," for them to control their behavior. The decision framed civil commitment not as punishment but as treatment. The justices took at face value the core assumption in the preamble to Kansas' civil commitment law: that this group's likelihood of committing new offenses is exceptionally high.

Today, 21 states and the federal government have civil commitment laws for people who have been convicted of sex crimes. Among them, they hold about 6,000 "sexually violent predators" in indefinite detention. California alone holds about 900. To qualify as an SVP under California's law, a person must have committed at least one crime of sexual violence, and the state has to prove the offender has a diagnosed mental disorder that makes it "likely" he will reoffend.

The classification process begins six months before an inmate is scheduled to be released from prison. The California Department of Corrections screens inmates' records and refers those who might qualify as sexually violent predators to the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) for evaluation. If two evaluators concur that an inmate meets the SVP criteria, the DSH refers the case to a district attorney, the D.A. brings the case to court for a civil commitment trial, and a jury decides whether the person meets the law's criteria.

While the process may sound clear-cut, it is actually a dragnet that catches all manner of ex-offenders. The definition of a mental disorder that makes a person likely to reoffend is designed to include the broadest possible range of conditions. A 1998 American Psychiatric Association report concluded that "sexual predator commitment laws represent a serious assault on the integrity of psychiatry, particularly with regard to defining mental illness and the clinical conditions for compulsory treatment."

A rich vein of psychiatric literature has documented the ambiguities of diagnosing mental illness and predicting dangerousness when it comes to forcing people into institutions. A 1998 Massachusetts study, for example, found that mental hospitals involuntarily detained patients with insurance 40 percent to 100 percent longer than those without. "Over thirty years of commentary, judicial opinion, and scientific review argue that predictions of danger lack scientific rigor," University of Georgia law professor Alexander Scherr noted in a 2003 Hastings Law Journal article. "Scientific studies indicate that some predictions do little better than chance or lay speculation, and even the best predictions leave substantial room for error about individual cases. The sharpest critique finds that mental health professionals perform no better than chance at predicting violence, and perhaps perform even worse."

Civil commitment of sex offenders fares no better. Recent studies of people referred for civil commitment and released or never committed for technical reasons found reoffense rates ranging from about 3 to 11 percent. A 2013 review that Florida commissioned of its civil commitment program concluded that "for those deemed to be so dangerous that they may be committed indefinitely—and cared for at great expense to the state—[the] false positive rate appears high." While defending his state's SVP commitment program in 2015, Mark Dayton, then the governor of Minnesota, conceded that "it's really impossible to predict whether or not [sex offenders] are at risk to reoffend."

Ultimately, the determination about whether an individual is likely to reoffend is made by a jury, not a clinician. That lowers the bar dramatically: In one survey of jurors who had served in Texas civil commitment trials, nearly 54 percent defined a 1 percent chance of reoffending as "likely." That rate is actually lower than the likelihood that an offender with no sex crime convictions will commit such a crime, which ranges from 1 percent to 3 percent in studies with follow-up periods ranging from three to four and a half years.

Cases like McCurdy's, in which a decades-old offense is used to argue that someone is still dangerous, are not uncommon in California, according to San Bernardino County public defender Jeff Lowry, who has spent 19 years representing SVPs. A person with a sex offense from 10 or more years ago might be rearrested on a nonsexual charge, Lowry said in a 2013 presentation—it might even be something like a probation violation for drinking alcohol. The person then gets referred through the system as a possible SVP. When the decision comes before a jury, the phrase sexually violent predator—a legal term, not a clinical one—puts the defendant in a big hole out of the gate. When it's first used, Lowry said in the presentation, "you can feel the atmosphere in the entire courtroom change."

That's why, Lowry tells me, he always introduces a motion to have the defendant referred to at trial as a "6600"—referring to the relevant portion of the law—instead of a "sexually violent predator." The maneuver has worked only once, however. "Every judge says, 'The legislature chose to use that term, so that's the term that we're going to use,'" Lowry says.

Defendants don't stand much chance. There does not appear to be any research on how often the prosecution wins in civil commitment hearings with juries, but in state cases Lowry estimates the rate is about 90 percent. At the federal level, he says, it's closer to 45 percent because judges rather than juries make the decision.

Padilla's Odyssey

Under Kansas v. Hendricks, once people are locked up, the state has to offer them treatment. In theory, this offers a chance of release. In practice, some states almost never release SVPs. In 2002, Padilla had launched an effort to evaluate Atascadero's treatment program and figure out whether it was actually reducing recidivism among those treated and then let out.

Padilla wasn't looking to undermine the program. Quite the opposite, according to several people who knew him. In civil commitment hearings, he was "primarily if not exclusively an expert witness for prosecutors," says Brian Abbott, a forensic psychologist in San Jose who often serves as a defense expert witness in sex offense cases. Marian Gaston, a former public defender who is now a California Superior Court judge, says by email that Padilla was "a big advocate of a particular diagnosis for rapists that I thought was specious, but he was very smart and believed in the work he was doing." He was "a worthy adversary, I guess you could say."

Some ex-offenders take a dimmer view. Mike St. Martin, civilly committed since 2002, says Padilla was strongly biased in favor of keeping people locked up. McCurdy claims that in his own commitment trial, several state evaluators concluded he was a low risk and should be released. He says Padilla, who was also on the evaluation team, was the only holdout.

According to Lave and Zimring's masterful reconstruction, Padilla started working with an Atascadero social worker named Kabe Russell on what was planned as a 15-year study. At the time, California's civil commitment program was the only one in the country to limit SVP commitments to two years; all other states with civil commitment allowed indefinite confinement. So every two years, the state had to prove to a judge that the person was still dangerous. California had consequently been forced by the courts to let out a trickle of detainees. (Voters have since enacted a ballot measure that allows indefinite confinement.)

By comparing the reoffense rate of Atascadero detainees who had been released after receiving treatment with the rate of those who were released without treatment, Padilla and Russell could test whether the hospital's treatment program was working. "This is what any good program does," Padilla would say at a 2011 hearing. "You say, 'Well, we are treating sex offenders. How good is our program?'" Padilla and Russell planned to report their results every five years.

They expected—possibly hoped—to find high reoffense rates for the group released without treatment. "I'm hopeful that this data will confirm the importance of providing supervision and treatment for this high-risk group of patients," Russell wrote to a program supervisor in 2004. Padilla later said he had expected the recidivism rates to be in the range of 37 percent to 38 percent over five years, consistent with predictions from a risk assessment done on the inmates.

That might be why Padilla and Russell went to extraordinary lengths to get solid data: They did not want to miss any new crimes committed by SVPs who were released. They could not get data from the state's criminal history database without permission, so they went to Atascadero's umbrella agency, the Department of Mental Health (DMH, a precursor to the DSH), which appointed someone to get them access. Melvin Hunter, the hospital's executive director, approved the study design in 2004.

Padilla and Russell checked the state's sex offender registry to see where the inmates who had been released were registered, then sent letters and made follow-up calls to the prosecutors in those counties, asking whether the ex-inmates had been rearrested. For anyone who had left the state, they checked FBI reports for rearrests.

The Investigators Get Investigated

Padilla and Russell were about two years into their data collection when McCurdy's lawyer made his motion seeking their results. Padilla and the state resisted. "I said, 'No, it's privileged information,'" protected by the federal medical privacy law, Padilla remembered in 2009 testimony. But the judge ruled against him.

It turned out Padilla had good reason to fight the motion: After his resulting 2006 memo, the state turned on him. The director of the hospital's SVP civil commitment program, George Bukowski, had OKed the study. Now he had been replaced by Jon de Morales, who accused Padilla and Russell of illegally accessing the state criminal history database, according to Padilla's 2009 testimony.

Padilla showed de Morales he had authorization from the top to use the database. Nonetheless, in December 2006, Atascadero's umbrella agency, the DMH, appointed an investigator to look into whether Padilla and Russell had illegally accessed the information. After a six-month ordeal, they were cleared. "My understanding was [Padilla] was pretty much taken aback by the negative reaction," says Abbott, the forensic psychologist.

Worse was on the way. In June 2007, Hunter, the hospital's chief executive, who had signed off on Padilla's study, abruptly retired with no explanation. He was replaced by de Morales. Three days after taking over, de Morales sent Padilla a memo saying his study had been terminated and he was not authorized to use the data he had collected for publication, research, testimony, or any other purpose. Padilla was forced to turn over the electronic copy of his data and the boxes containing his backup information, all of which, he recounted in 2009, the department destroyed.

Padilla and Russell tried to keep going without the data they had collected. They reapplied to Atascadero for permission to continue. The hospital sent them to the DMH, which sent them to its own umbrella agency, the California Health and Human Services Agency, which sent them back to the DMH, which sent them back to Atascadero. Two years into the process, de Morales shut them down for good, telling the pair in a memo that they would not be given permission, because "neither [the hospital] nor DMH would permit 'volunteers' to conduct this research."

Why did Padilla keep trying after the hospital shut him down? "I think what was driving him was that he wanted to know—he genuinely wanted to know—whether or not these people were dangerous," Lave says. In his 2009 testimony, Padilla said he could have gone to then–Attorney General Jerry Brown and tried to convince him the state needed to look at the data. But he eventually gave up. "I got tired of pursuing it," he said in his testimony, and now much of the information was "gone forever."

De Morales retired in 2011. Contacted for comment, he responded by email. "Lave and Zimring did a good job with their analysis of predator commitment statutes," he wrote. "However, the issue of access to [the state criminal database], Mel Hunter's termination and whether or not the state/dept had a political or economic interest in quashing this 'study' is bogus." He refused to comment further without approval from the state. When DSH was contacted to request that approval, spokesperson Ralph Montano said the agency was "unable to grant or deny a request for an interview with a former employee."

Most other players in the story were unavailable for interviews. Hunter died in 2012 at 65. Russell, who owns a photography studio in the town of Atascadero, did not respond to requests for comment. Bukowski, the civil commitment director who approved the study, died in 2007 of leukemia. Two other people in Atascadero's leadership who Padilla said knew of the study—Craig Nelson, who headed the treatment program, and Brenda Epperly, who headed the sex offender commitment program—did not respond to letters sent to their latest addresses.

By the time Atascadero shut down Padilla, it was too late to stop his data from being used in SVP cases. In a 2012 memo to defense lawyers, Abbott noted that under state standards the Padilla study was considered peer reviewed and therefore credible in court. At least two defense lawyers later called on Padilla to testify about his research while challenging their clients' civil commitments. Gaston says Padilla's testimony was part of the evidence that led a judge to find that one of her clients no longer met the SVP criteria.

Excavating Padilla's Work

In 2011, when Lave and Zimring started what became a seven-year effort to discover what had happened to Padilla's study, they found out what he had been up against. Lave is a University of Miami law professor, and one of her research interests is sex offense civil commitment law. Zimring, author of many books on criminal justice, directs the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law's criminal justice studies program.

Lave and Zimring heard about Padilla and interviewed him by phone. Then they sent a freedom of information request to the DSH asking about Padilla's data. They got back a letter from a staff lawyer saying the department was "unable to verify any study conducted by Jesus Padilla, PhD." The DSH agreed to consider their request only after they sent the department a copy of Padilla's original research proposal, which showed that the hospital's top administrators had signed off on the study.

After months of wrangling, the agency turned over the data in mid-2012. But when Lave showed it to Padilla, he said the agency had tampered with the files, making the numbers unusable. Against de Morales' orders, he said, he had kept his original data file. But he would not turn it over to Lave and Zimring, because the agency had ordered him not to, an instruction he abided by to the end.

Padilla did promise to use his original file to help Lave and Zimring restore the damaged data. But by then it was too late—he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. When Lave met him in Atascadero in summer 2013, he was too weak to work with her. He died later that year. Lave and Zimring went to Russell for help, but he told them he did not remember the files well enough and would not look at them. All that's left today of the study is Padilla's October 2006 memorandum describing the results.

Even today, the DSH seems reluctant to acknowledge that Padilla's study took place. Asked to respond to Lave and Zimring's contention that the agency quashed it, Montano, the spokesman, said that "the study was allegedly conducted between 2004 and 2006" but that "the DSH was unable to validate the accuracy of the data that was recovered." Asked whether the agency was denying the study's existence (and, if so, to explain the data it provided to Lave and Zimring), Montano responded that the "DSH does not have records that indicate the Padilla study was completed."

That, of course, is the point.

The Threat to Civil Commitment

Why deny the data? California's program spends about $200,000 per inmate annually, according to 2016 data from the state's sex offender management board—up almost 8 percent, adjusting for inflation, since 2005–06. The budget of the Coalinga State Hospital, which took over responsibility for SVPs from Atascadero in 2005, is $303 million for fiscal year 2019–20, up from $254 million four years earlier. Almost three-quarters of Coalinga's patients are SVPs.

Low reoffense rates that undermine the program's justification also might threaten a good chunk of the local economy. The hospital's website notes that in the 2013–14 fiscal year, Coalinga bought some $15 million in goods and services from about 200 companies in the area.

Subsequent assessments of SVP civil commitment in other states comport with what Padilla found. A 2014 Minnesota study of 161 offenders referred for civil commitment but not actually committed found that just 6.5 percent were convicted of a new sex crime within four years of their release. In New Jersey, a 2013 study of 102 ex-offenders referred for SVP evaluation but ultimately not committed found that 10.5 percent were convicted of a new sex offense during an average follow-up period of six and a half years. A 2009 Texas study of 1,928 offenders screened for possible civil commitment as SVPs found that 3.2 percent were arrested for a new sex crime—a looser standard than reconviction—during follow-up periods that averaged nearly five years. A 2013 review of Florida's civil commitment program cited state research involving 710 offenders who were recommended for civil commitment but released for various reasons between 1999 and 2013; 10 percent were subsequently charged with "a sexually motivated offense involving a victim" during followup periods of up to 14 years, depending on when offenders were released.

These data call into question the assumption at the heart of Hendricks v. Kansas. If SVP recidivism is not highly likely, as the Supreme Court assumed, the whole civil commitment scheme for getting around the Constitution's ban on double jeopardy falls.

When California's proposed SVP law was debated in 1995, the California Psychological Association, the Forensic Mental Health Association, and the California Psychiatric Association all came out against it, partly because of due process concerns. That last group argued in its legislative testimony that "mental health treatment facilities cannot be used as a gulag."

One expert who has observed the growth of the state's civil commitment program from the inside regrets what it has become. Janice Marques, a former DMH researcher whose work on recidivism is widely cited, is a founding member and former president of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Marques also was involved in the first legislative hearings on California's 1995 SVP law. The civil commitment program "was never expected to be as large and as encompassing as it is," she tells me. "The high recidivism rate just hasn't panned out….It's just so difficult once you set something like this up to get rid of it."

California Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes, a Democrat, introduced legislation signed by the governor last fall that reforms the SVP program by limiting continuances in civil commitment trials. But that response falls far short of eliminating the program altogether.

For their part, Lave and Zimring are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to resurrect the Padilla study, which by now would have a long follow-up period. They would like to find out how many detainees released from the state's civil commitment program without treatment have committed new crimes.

Without such a follow-up, California's program will never be held to account. Even the rare legislators like Cervantes who pay attention to the program don't seem inclined to touch the heart of the issue. In the absence of new data, inertia will compel the state to continue spending money on a program for which there appears to be little need.

One prisoner-cum-patient who has not been arrested for a new sex crime is Rex McCurdy. Padilla's memo may have helped him: Following more legal wrangling, McCurdy says, he was released from Coalinga in 2009 after a judge ruled that he was no longer a danger. He moved to Spokane and opened an art studio, then returned home to Napa in 2019. Now 64, he lives on family property he co-owns.

The California sex offender registry still lists McCurdy as a "sexually violent predator." That label, which the state applied to him a decade and a half after his sex crime, nearly condemned him to a lifetime of imprisonment.

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  1. Ouch…The problem here is that getting it wrong once has a catastrophic consequence. Try this thought experiment:

    CA does away with civil commitment. There is only a 0.1% recividism rate. You are guaranteeing that at least 10-20 people – some of whom will be small children – will be sexually assaulted, and quite possibly murdered by these assholes who were just released because the civil commitment program was done away with. Now, try selling that to the American public: by abolishing this program, you guarantee at least some children will be sexually victimized.

    I don’t pretend to have the answer – I don’t – but the downside risk to society here is huge. That magnitude of consequence alone gives me pause on whether we should do away with civil commitment. And get more data on the question before doing away with it.

    1. If it saves one child…….

      1. Not one child, 10-20 of them. And consider that not locking up every adult American with a penis guarantees that there will be a thousand or more molested children. I’d suggest a much better better-safe-than-sorry program of universal castration – the babies are right there in the delivery room getting the umbilical cord cut, what’s an extra snip going to cost? We can end the scourge of sexual violins in our lifetime!

        1. Those sexual violins sound awful when played.

          1. Did any of the sex offenders engage in “parody” too? If so, it should be made clear that the “truth” is not a defense. This fundamental principle was established in our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case. Here at NYU, we are proud of our faculty members and administrators who were instrumental in helping Manhattan prosecutors obtain this important ruling from the criminal court. See the documentation at:

            https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    2. How about a different thought experiment with more numbers.

      There are about 16,000 murders per year in the US. About 10,000 murderers use guns. About half of those are young black males.

      So young black males comprise about 2% of the total population and account for half of gun-related murders. Don’t you think that letting young black males run around free has a huge downside?

      1. Actually, because of the low clearance rate of murders in the high-crime neighborhoods, the proportion of murders is committed by young Black males is undoubtedly much higher than those stats show. The race of the perpetrator does not go into the stats unless the crime is solved.

    3. Freedom is unsafe. There is a price to be paid for justice and liberty. Part of that price is exposing ourselves to crimes that could have been prevented by a draconian state.

      History shows us that when a state is powerful and intrusive enough to hold a virtual monopoly on access to criminal activities, they offer the benefits of crime for sale or as rewards. Giving a despotic state the power to prevent crime by committing injustices does not eliminate crime; it just nationalizes it.

      1. That’s actually pretty well put! Good job!

    4. Why are sexual crimes so much worse than plain old murder and assault and robbery? I’ve been burgled; it felt intensely personal. I’ve never been raped or molested; maybe that would feel worse, I don’t know.

      If this was applied to all criminals and all crimes, it wouldn’t bother me nearly as much. Society has some awfully prudish compartmentalization of sex: laws against prostitution, adultery, fornication, public nudity, paid nudity in conjunction with alcohol.

      I think the real reason the Supreme Court made such a decision is because the proper legal response would be a “one sexual strike” law, and judges think that would be overturned as cruel or unusual by some bright young lawyer out to make a name for himself. They don’t want to take the wind out of three-strikes laws by mixing in one-sexual-strike laws, so they take this reprehensible back-door route.

      I will not be surprised if some bright young legislators come up with ways to extend this to pre-crime in general. As always, workarounds always have unwanted consequences.

      1. “A little rape never hurt anybody” – Libertarianisn 2020!

        1. “A little self-righteous authoritarianism never hurt anybody” – Fascism 2020

        2. Leave politics aside and try to visit Sex Zuid Holland place where nice ladies waiting for you.

    5. Commenter-xy, you are making an argument for locking up _everyone_. If the recidivism rate was 0.1%, the prisoners would be less dangerous than the people on the outside – including the police.

    6. you guarantee at least some children will be sexually victimized.

      As opposed to guaranteeing that huge numbers of people will be effectively imprisoned for crimes they never would have committed? Being raped by the state isn’t so pleasant, either.

  2. Reason’s solution to prison overcrowding: release the rapists and murderers as long as they have behaved themselves for the past few years.

    1. See, this is why we need an edit function for the comments. You SF’ed the link to whatever story it was you were commenting on and without the link it just makes it look like you’re making a totally irrelevant comment on a story you didn’t even bother skimming to get the gist of.

      I can understand Commenter_XY up above concluding their comment with a “And get more data on the question before doing away with it” without realizing that this is the exact point of the article, it is after all a very long article – practically Moby Dick – and who has time to read literally hundreds of words in this day and age when modern humans have 8 second attention spans? But at least they did skim the article enough to catch the drift so their comment seemed to be on topic. Your comment without the link just looks like you barely skimmed the headline and I know you wouldn’t want to look so foolish as to be opining on something you know nothing about.

      1. Yeah. The story is about people who have already been released from prison.

      2. I can understand Commenter_XY up above concluding their comment with a “And get more data on the question before doing away with it” without realizing that this is the exact point of the article

        Actually it wasn’t. At all. Like, even in a tangential way.

        1. How would you know? Your comment shows you didn’t read it.

  3. Amendment XIII, Section 1.
    Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    Civil commitments are unconstitutional.

    The only way that a person can be placed under state care is by being duly convicted of a crime.

    1. Did you even read the story?

      They were duly convicted (by a jury!!!) of the crime of being likely to commit a crime.

      1. Nicely put. Though, based on the recidivism rates in the article, it would be more accurate to say “They were duly convicted (by a jury!!!) of the crime of being UNLIKELY to commit a crime.”.

  4. Sexual registries are unconstitutional. There are no enumerated federal or state powers to force people to register.

    Repeal all sexual registries and sentence defendants to long prison times if you feel that the sex crime was serious enough.

    1. I don’t always agree with you LC1789, but this time you are right on the money! None of this “civil commitment” squares with the written Constitution; never did, never will.

    2. It’s a condition of release exactly like parole you stupid fuck.

      1. This is not accurate. These people were not given early release…these registries go beyond the conditions of parole. Parole eventually is served, and the formerly incarcerated person is free to live in society. These registries are lifetime appointments…the time is never considered served.

      2. Nope, you stupid fuck. Your citation fell off.

        If you had passed 6th grade reading comprehension, you would have read how this guys was convicted of rape then did his time. Then convicted of a burglary and did his time in prison. While on parole, he was brought in for a parole violation but instead of betting time in prison as punishment, the state unconstitutionally changed his criminal sentence to a civil commitment.

        You unreason staff sure are pissed and sad.

    3. LC1789 you are absolutely correct in the fact that registries are unconstitutional and so are the civil commitment laws- it’s all hogwash and the public is too emotionally charged and scared to realize that all these laws just keep chipping away on everyone’s FREEDOM

    4. Let’s rid of no-fly lists, too.

      1. No fly lists are bullshit violations of due process too.

        Normally an airline would be free to exclude anyone they want from a plane but the no fly lists are government lists pushed on regulated airlines. Besides airlines are on the hook if something happens on their planes, so why take the risk when you can use a government mandate as a reason.

    5. Federally, you are right. At the state level, you are still wrong in your blind assertion that states are restricted to enumerated powers. As has been explained to you at length many times, states retain general police powers and under our constitutional structure can do many things that the feds cannot.

      Federal sex offender registries are unconstitutional. State sex offender registries are stupid, self-destructive, ineffective and really bad social policy. But they are not unconstitutional unless they violate some specific wording in that state’s constitution.

  5. 50 years or so ago, studies found that institutionalized mentally ill people would be better off living “in the community”. Most mental health institutions were then closed. Now thousands of the mentally now live in the community. In hobo jungles, right in the community.

    1. This is true – so are they better off than they were?

      This is the dilemma – what can you do with a group of people who seem incapable or unwilling to take care of themselves, who engage in what seems to be chronic self-destructive behavior and whose condition is exacerbated by the fact that they are incapable or unwilling to recognize that their behavior is in fact self-destructive? We don’t have magic wands or unlimited resources and we can’t just offer “as much free shit as you want!” to everybody, despite what some people seem to think, that includes the sort of care these people would need. Which is why the mental institutions were closed down and the inmates set free – conditions were so bad that it was thought they couldn’t possibly be worse off getting no treatment at all than being subjected to the sort of treatment they were getting in these hell-holes.

      Which is sort of the heart of libertarianism – you can’t fix all the problems in the world and sometimes leaving bad enough alone is the best you can do. The “we must do something, this is something, therefore we must do this” principle is at the root of the most expensive and disastrous of government interventions.

      1. Agreed, Jerryskids!

        Meanwhile, what often gets “lost in the sauce” is that Government Almighty misguided over-nannying policies are at least SOMEWHAT to be blamed for the homeless, mentally ill problem. Over-regulated housing, for one thing, but set that aside for a moment.

        Shrinks can charge you like $200 for a 15-minute visit, so that you can get your mental-meds. Only THREE out of 50 states allow non-MD psychologists to prescribe these meds! (At least it’s what I have heard). If you have bipolar and need to have your blood levels of lithium checked, you need a PRESCRIPTION just to get the blood test!

        In my libertarian world, these meds (among many others) would go OTC. At the VERY least, churches and social workers and volunteers (who minister to the homeless) should be able to take a few-hours-at-most training course, and be able to prescribe these meds.

        But NOOOO… We have over-educated shrinks milking the system here to make a killing off of “access” to these meds!

        1. Actually Mikey, you mindless chunk of shit, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and all varieties of licensed medical doctors can prescribe medicine, and the visits are covered by Medicaid just like the inpatient treatment you receive at the old age facility where you are mercifully dying of your senile dementia.

          1. “…nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and all varieties of licensed medical doctors can prescribe medicine…”

            And how are the homeless going to pay for this?

            And that is NOT enough! If we had a TINY modicum of freedom around here, a graduate of the 3d grade should be entitled to give me a prescription to blow on a cheap plastic flute! A cheap plastic flute is less intrusive into my body than a toothbrush! Yet in the USA, and in the USA alone of ALL nations on the planet, I need permission from an MD to buy me a cheap plastic flute! What is YOUR excuse for this, you authoritarian apologist you?

            Are you yet another, the 15,673,992nd poster-handle for Tulpa? Am I wasting my time?

            To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

            1. Go back to your glory hole and leave the comments to the adults.

              Or better yet, commit suicide. It’s the most libertarian thing you will ever do.

              1. Did any of you evil assholes ever ask a parent (of any age) THIS question:
                Would you rather have your child sexually molested, or egged on into suicide? If you get an honest answer, they will answer, “suicide is the worst option of all”!
                Hey Shitsy Shitler… YOU EVIL SATAN-PENIS-SUCKING DARK-SOULED ASSHOLE!!! ARE YOU PROUD OF YOUR PRO-SUICIDE SATAN BUTT-SUCKING WAYS?!?!?
                How many kids you gotten to kill themselves lately, asshole? ANY of them made you happy yet?

                Shitsy Shitler, drinking Shitsy Kool-Aid in a spiraling vortex of darkness, cannot or will not see the Light… It’s a VERY sad song! Kinda like this…

                He’s a real Kool-Aid Man,
                Sitting in his Kool-Aid Land,
                Playing with his Kool-Aid Gland,
                Has no thoughts that help the people,
                He wants to turn them all to sheeple!
                On the sheeple, his Master would feast,
                Master? A disaster! Just the nastiest Beast!
                Kool-Aid man, please listen,
                You don’t know, what you’re missin’,
                Kool-Aid man, better thoughts are at hand,
                The Beast, to LEAVE, you must COMMAND!

                A helpful book is to be found here: M. Scott Peck, Glimpses of the Devil
                https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1439167265/reasonmagazinea-20/

      2. Crazy people used to be taken care by families who had a natural right over those family members that could not take care of themselves.

        Lefties pushed to have the state take over that role. Then crazy folks were abandoned on the street.

    2. 50 years ago, that was true because the mental health “institutions” of the day were truly horrific places. Deinstitutionalization was seen as the lesser of the two evils.

      Maybe that was true and maybe it wasn’t. I argued for reform rather than deinstitutionalization but even I had to acknowledge that calls for reform had been going for decades with little to no result. As you re-evaluate the balance of mental health policies, please do not forget or ignore the injustices of the old institutionalization process.

  6. That last group argued in its legislative testimony that “mental health treatment facilities cannot be used as a gulag.”

    What a stupid comment. Of course commitment to a psychiatric prison and exile to a forced labor camp are two completely different things. Along with a stint at the re-education camps, these are three separate prongs of the program to deal with the wrongthinkers, the kulaks and the wreckers, the counter-revolutionaries and the decadent bourgeoisie, the apostates and the heretics. If you don’t understand the difference, rest assured that Comrade Bernie’s intellectual heirs will some day be teaching you the difference.

    1. Plus I hear they had conjugal visits in the gulags.

  7. We need more transparency.

    Offenders have reasons. These reasons conflict with our social narrative. They also open the only door to understanding and solutions.

    Our government, police and media censor their reasons that offenders are only too happy to share.

    Why?

    Can’t we handle the truth? Or maybe those who manipulate us can’t.

    Solution. Make the reasons public. Let everyone including experts analyze them. Only then logic and science will expose the truth and it’s commensurate conclusions.

    1. “Can’t we handle the truth?”

      Holocaust deniers like Rob Misek surely cannot!

      1. You brought up That false narrative on this thread where it has no relevance simply to elicit a reaction as per the definition of “troll”.

        “ In Internet slang, a troll is a person who starts quarrels or upsets people on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses[2] and normalizing tangential discussion,[3] whether for the troll’s amusement or a specific gain.”

        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

      2. I have provided evidence of science and logic, truth.

        You have demonstrated bigotry. The ignorant refusal to consider counter arguments.

        Examples of bigotry in a Sentence
        “ a deeply ingrained bigotry prevented her from even considering the counterarguments”

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigotry

        Reply

        1. The Holocaust has been litigated to death elsewhere. It’s real, and it’s validity is not in question. Plus you’re a known anti Semite.

          1. His comment shows its validity is in question.

            His comment also shows he is phenomenally resistant to simple facts, and has to conceive of the most convoluted mental detours possible to get around the truth.

      3. Sane people with a grip on reality don’t deny history, as history is defined by a vast, vast majority of historians, with (in cases like this) boat-loads of evidence. No, historians and history aren’t perfect… Nothing (or hardly anything) is. But your denial of overwhelming consensus history shows some pretty severe paranoia… Everyone is out to “get you” and to trick you, right?

        I am doing a service to readers who aren’t familiar with your paranoia… Let all new (or newer) readers beware, much of what Rob Misek has to say, needs to be examined carefully!

        1. There is zero physical evidence of that false narrative while there should be a preponderance if it.

          Meanwhile it’s a crime to objectively review the evidence in every nation where the alleged crimes we’re committed.

          The “testimony”, as the only source for the false narrative is all coerced, either through payments or threats.

          Knowing this, you choose to believe it and refuse to consider the facts presented in all counter arguments. You are a bigot.

          You also use your bigotry as an unworthy badge of “honour” as you troll here.

          Fill your boots.

          1. You’re an anti Semite. YOU are the bigot.

          2. The funny thing is that you can’t even bring yourself to say what you are referring to; you just call it “the false narrative”. Reminds me of any number of euphemisms for any number of subjects which the speakers are embarrassed to even think about. Obviously you know how wrong you are.

        2. The Earth is actually flat, and the center of the Universe.

          A secret cabal of Jewish bankers is diabolically manipulating the world towards world-wide communism.

          Space aliens secretly comprise 10% of Earthings, and are twisting us and them towards the day when they will enslave and eat us all!

          The Earth is hollow, with a vast array of large, powerful beings living underneath us.

          Being part of a TINY-TINY elite of humans who know the “secret truth” is the other element of your serious whack… Paranoia, and “special elite knowledge”… The later is evidence of mania, of egomania… Some serious self-examination on your part, would be in order!

  8. Since the data shows that a person, over their adult lifetime, have a 5 in 1800 probability of murdering someone, I recommend that all people be locked up at the age of eighteen, and not be released until they reach the age of sixty-five. Or maybe never.

    1. At least young black males (see my response above).

      1. (SARCASM FONT ON) Yeah, but young black males kill other young black males ninety-percent of the time, so who cares (SARCASM FONT OFF)

  9. Good God! The whole state of California seems to be run like some prison farm system. There’s never enough bad to be said about them.

  10. This is a political third rail. Those most affected by these policies are among the least sympathetic in all of society: those convicted of sexual crimes. Regardless of the blatant unconstitutional nature of these registries (IANAL), there is no politician who would EVER touch repealing these registries or even decreasing them in any meaningful way. To do so would be political suicide.

    This is a tragedy with a very unsympathetic protagonist. Constitutional protections are denied them, not because of the constitution itself, but because of the political implications.

  11. Prosecutors used that violation and the two prior convictions to get McCurdy classified as a “sexually violent predator” (SVP), he says.

  12. What? You mean the thousands of UN-Constitutional “Federal Research/Control” agencies indoctrinate like communist nations do?

    “Shortly after his testimony, Padilla’s study was abruptly terminated. His records were confiscated, his hard copies were shredded, and he was forbidden to talk about his work. At first he pushed back and even tried to continue on his own. But as he explained in 2009, “It’s too hard to fight the system, you know.”

    Surprising they don’t confiscate the TV weatherman’s temperature predictions for NOT reporting tomorrows temperature being wildly higher and a climate-change “crisis”…./s

    The Communistic instruments are already in existence in Washington. Today the Presidency is of top concern BECAUSE of who will have control of those instruments. That is what is dividing this nation. Those !-Evil-! instruments need to be shut-down permanently as Anti-American (i.e. UN-Constitutional) least we will eventually perish exactly the same as the other hundred examples of communistic nations.

    1. The instruments of evil won’t be “shut down” until they are clearly identified, recognized and rendered useless by law.

      All corruption, evil, is based on and requires lying.

      We have already criminalized lying in court and contracts as is required for a justice system, trade and civilization in general.

      By criminalizing all lying and enabling the freedom to use technology that supports and enforces the law, lying will be rendered useless.

      Useless, lying and evil will be as shut down as it can be in a free society.

      What good reason does anyone need to lie?

      1. Interesting thought – If the judiciary wasn’t seen as being in the politicians pockets; an amendment to the Constitution allowing the judiciary branch to boot politicians might be a really good approach.

        Amendment 28 – Any legislative bill found to be in contempt of the Constitution (Supreme Law) will go through ‘due process’ and depending on the severity and intent substantiated the bills author and cosponsors will be removed from office.

        Bye, bye – 80%+ of the [D]Politicians. Bernie might be looking at treason…

        1. Or we’ll just elect the politicians that are still talking.

  13. Ok, if someone has committed a violent sexual assault, why are they still breathing? Short rope, long drop and problem is solved.

    The poster boy for this article, Rex McCurdy, has committed both a rape and a burglary. There is no reason on this earth why he should still be alive.

    1. rape and burglary are not capital crimes. Now child rape SHOULD be. But not all these cases involve children. Except the “children” in large bodies that have made way too many trips round the sun to yet be children.

  14. California is a totalitarian communist state in many ways. Their lawmakers are largely corrupt, and enact all manner of stupid laws that trat people as if thjey were slaves. Then the bureaucrats that run the state’s departments and institutions get hold of the law as written and make it do what THEY want it to. Others in those departments and agencies make it their life’s mission to preserve and maintain the fabricated situations that preserve, “justify” the need for “the way things are done” to protect job security and ever-expanding budgets for their little fiefdoms.

    Then they wonder why the state is going broke, and has among the highest out-migration rates of both people and capital.
    WHEN will the REAL people of California wake up and throw of fthe yoke of their slavery?

    1. Politicians pass sex crime laws they claim are aimed at the worst of the worst. Prosecutors and police use those same laws to capture harmless offenders that meet some technical definition of the law. We have essentially reached the point where the State has the power to incarcerate someone for life based entirely on their unverified claim they are a sexual predator.

      Any adults who are developmentally above 18 know people and life are complicated, but prosecutors, police and the media sell a one dimensional view of crime to the fearful and weak minded. Minors are conflated with pedophile, pictures are conflated with child rape. There are dozens of shell games like this they play to increase incarceration to the enjoyment of the fascists among us who simply enjoy seeing others suffer, but don’t have the guts to carry out the harm themselves.

      What could possibly go wrong?

  15. Why would reason change the title of this article 3 days and 67 comments after they posted it?

  16. It seems to me only logical that the recidivism rate for sex offenders would be relatively low. The sex drive is powered by testosterone, testosterone levels drop with age, and offenders are older on release, often much older.

  17. Nice article! great website. Reason is doing great always.

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  18. Nice Article ! Great Topic and i think here are Great writer in this website.
    Apna Khata

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