Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lifetime Supervised Release Upheld for Child Porn Offender

United States v. William Hayes, Docket No. 05-2321-cr (2d Cir. April 18, 2006) (Winter, Calabresi, Pooler): The Circuit upholds a lifetime supervised release term imposed upon Mr. Hayes, who pled guilty to transporting child porn in interstate commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A. That Hayes must first serve 151 months in prison and will be 68 years old by the time of his release did not require a different result. In upholding the sentence, the Circuit relied inter alia on (1) the policy statement in Section 5D1.2(b)(2) (recommending the statutory maximum term of supervised release where the defendant is convicted of a sex offense); (2) the fact that Hayes was convicted in state court of molesting a 12-year-old girl more than a year after the events underlying the federal case; and (3) a Congressional finding that sex offenders are far more likely to recidivate than other offenders, and that "recidivism rates do not appreciably decline as [sex] offenders age." Op. 4. Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen.


Blogger David Lewis said...

Chung, I've looked at the literature on this sex-crime recidivism, and there's less to it than meets the eye. That is, there's a fair amount of evidence that the recidivism rates among sex offenders are not much different than the rates among other offenders.

This, by the way, corresponds with my anecdotal evidence. Over 30 years, I've represented all kinds of offenders and some were real recidivists. But the sex offenders were as likely as any others to commit atypical crimes, not likely to be repeated, because of drunkeness, sudden impulse and opportunity, or the like. I think that Congress pulled its finding out of a black hole somewhere, not out of respectable research.

April 19, 2006 at 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I don't have a huge problem with this. Isn't there at least some good research supporting the contention that sex offenders of this sort are uncureable? I think the biggest issue that still lurks beneath the surface is whether our child pornography laws are actually driving these guys underground and exacerbating their illnesses. Seems like maybe Congress should perhaps consider some sort of "amnesty" rule for those who admit that they have possessed child porn and check themselves in to a certified medical institution for a prescribed period of time. Not saying this is a good idea -- just one to consider.

April 20, 2006 at 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is research suggesting an inverse correlation between the age of a sexual offender and the likelihood of recidivism. That is, as the offender's age increases, the likelihood of recidivism decreases. This meshes well with the Sentencing Commission's own findings that there is an inverse correlation between recidivism and age.

April 20, 2006 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger David Lewis said...

Here's a source. Leonore M.J. Simon, The Myth of Sex Offender Specialization: An Empirical Analysis, in Symposium: The Treatment of Sex Offenders, 23 New Eng. J. on Crim. & Civ. Confinement 387, 392 (1997) (“no empirical evidence to suggest that sex offenders have different recidivism rates than nonsex offenders”).

April 20, 2006 at 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Opposing viewpoint:

Karl Hanson, Age and Sexual Recidivism: A Comparison of Rapists and Child Molesters (2001), available at

April 24, 2006 at 2:48 PM  
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