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Thread: John Grisham says sentencing for child porn offenders is too harsh

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    Rosie O'Donnell had a few choice words for Mr. Grisham on The View yesterday. At the end of her rant, she suggested the FBI take a look at his hard drive, just like some of you suggested. I had to laugh a little.

    Over the summer I caught up on a few old Grisham books -- easy reads, entertaining, good summer reading. But I won't read another one of his books again. Now he screams "creep" to me.
    i caught that and thought it was pretty cool of rosie.

    sucks though bc now i won't be able to read his stuff either. he's marked, kind of like woody allen is forever marked. i can't stand the thought.
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  2. #62
    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHELLEE View Post
    How long until he starts backtracking?
    Bada bing bada boom...

    John Grisham is taking back statements he made about child pornography and sex offenders. In a recent interview with the UK's Telegraph, the lawyer and prolific author of books and Hollywood adaptations such as "The Firm," "The Pelican Brief" and "A Time to Kill"sparked outrage when he expressed his belief that some people who view child pornography online are receiving punishments that don't match the scale of the crime.

    "We have prisons now filled with guys my age, 60-year-old white men, in prison, who've never harmed anybody (and) would never touch a child," Grisham said during a conversation about high U.S. prison rates. "But they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons and went too far and got into child porn. ... They deserve some type of punishment, but 10 years in prison?

    "There's so many of them now, sex offenders ... that they put them in the same prison, like they're a bunch of perverts or something."
    He then used an old law school friend as an example:

    "I have no sympathy for a real pedophile. But so many of these guys don't deserve harsh prison sentences. A friend of mine, this was 10 years ago, was drinking, and his drinking was out of control. And he went to a website, and it was labeled, 16-year-old wannabe hookers or something, some stupid website. And it said 16-year-old girls. So he went there and downloaded some stuff.
    "It was 16-year-old girls that look 30. ... He shouldn't have done it. It was stupid. But it wasn't 10-year-old boys, and he didn't touch anything."

    To Grisham's recollection, the website his friend visited was actually a sting operation to capture sex offenders. He said his friend was then sent to prison for three years.

    Those comments and the nature in which Grisham discussed the very serious issue of child pornography incited a flood of hurt, disappointed and angry reactions from fans.

    "The day that you came out in an interview and said that watchers of child porn get too stiff of a penalty for it (you said 10 years was too much) makes you someone that I cannot support nor no longer want to read," a reader named Kendra Benefield Lausman shared on Grisham's Facebook page; another posted that she's taken her entire Grisham library to her "burn barrel" with the intent to set the books on fire.

    "How do you think child porn is made?" a poster named John Kelly asked on Grisham's page. "Someone is still getting hurt you imbecile. I'm sad to say that I will never purchase, nor consume, one of your books ever again. I am disgusted."

    After the uproar began, Grisham issued an apology.

    "Anyone who harms a child for profit or pleasure, or who in any way participates in child pornography -- online or otherwise -- should be punished to the fullest extent of the law," the author said in a statement. "My comments made two days ago during an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph were in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children. I can think of nothing more despicable. I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all."

    That may not be enough for some of his former followers.

    "You clearly said in the interview that people (like your drunk friend) who look at child porn don't deserve severe punishment," Facebook user Raylene Jolly Wheeler posted in response to Grisham. "Not sure how you can backtrack that statement."


    John Grisham apologizes for remarks on child porn - CNN.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    while i think child porn viewers deserve punishment, it doesn't make sense that someone who views it would get a harsher sentence than someone who actually molests a child, which is often the case. you can say something is fucked up with the system without it making you an apologist or somehow also guilty (and you can do it without defending a perv like grisham did)
    But do child porn viewers really get a harsher sentence? Grishams friend got 18 months and served 15. I would hope that a child molester gets more than that, but I dont actually know.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Passive Pedophiles

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    Are child porn viewers less dangerous than we thought?

    By Emily Bazelon





    Eric Justin Toth is escorted away after a presentation to the media in Managua, Nicaragua, on April 22, 2013.
    Photo by Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters

    When Eric Justin Toth was captured last weekend, he’d been on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for more than a year and on the run for five. The former third-grade teacher at Beauvoir, a Washington, D.C., private school, is accused of producing child pornography because he had pictures of young boys on a school camera.

    EMILY BAZELONEmily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones.




    Making child pornography is abuse. What about possessing it? As a group, these offenders—the ones who look but don’t abuse children to create new images—are serving increasingly long prison sentences. In 2004, the average sentence for possessing child pornography was about 4 years. In 2010, it was almost eight years. Child sex offenders may also be kept in prison beyond their release dates through “civil commitment” if the state deems that they’ll have “serious difficulty in refraining from sexually violent conduct or child molestation if released.”

    It’s hard to feel concern for people (mostly men) who prowl the Internet for sexually abusive images of children, some of whom are very young. Their crimes aren’t “victimless,” as defense lawyers sometimes argue. These men create the market for new images. They are the demand behind the supply. I’ve written about how hard it is for women who were abused and photographed as girls to know that men are still viewing, and taking pleasure in, the record of their suffering—and about the victims’ efforts to win restitution from these men.

    But the main reason Congress has upped the penalties for men who possess child pornography is the deep-seated belief that many of them physically abuse children and that they are highly likely to keep doing so because they can’t stop themselves. Is that true? I’ve heard it so many times it’s hard to think otherwise. Yet that premise is contested in a new 468-page report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission (the body Congress established to advise it about federal sentencing law). The commission did its own research. It says the federal sentencing scheme for child pornography offenses is out of date and argues that this leads to penalties that “are too severe for some offenders and too lenient for other offenders.” (Here’s a helpful26-page summary.)

    This isn’t an easy subject. Punishments for sex offenders move only in one direction in this country—they get harsher. But the Sentencing Commission’s critique should get a serious hearing. Prison comes with a cost for taxpayers as well as the people it incarcerates. And if there’s increasing hope for effective treatment, as the commission suggests, investing in it could save kids.

    Some of the commission’s proposals for sentencing reform have the support of the Justice Department lawyers who prosecute sex offenses. Currently, the recommended sentence for child pornography possession ratchets up if the possessor used a computer to download images and also if he possesses hundreds or thousands of images, as opposed to a smaller number. The problem is that because of the Internet, almost all possessors use computers to download images (mostly with peer-to-peer file-sharing programs), and it’s all too easy to quickly amass a large collection. Computers and volume no longer signal greater danger or sophistication. So the commission and DOJ want to eliminate the use of a computer as a reason for upping the underlying penalty, and they want to raise the numbers tied to higher penalties.

    Instead, they want judges to focus on whether offenders are members of a group that communicates about child porn online—a common and dangerous practice. The commission and DOJ also want judges to consider higher sentences for crimes that continue over time, show a pattern of activity, or involve sadistic images or pictures of very young children. The recommended sentence range for men convicted of possession who additionally distribute images would also remain higher.

    That’s all relatively uncontroversial—which doesn’t mean it will happen, only that it should. More interesting, and surprising, is the commission’s position on the likelihood that child pornography offenders usually go on to commit more such crimes. The commission credits studies showing that “psycho-sexual treatment may be effective in reducing recidivism for many sex offenders.” In a study of 610 offenders convicted of possession or receipt of child pornography (not distribution or production), the commission found that the rate of committing more crimes of any sort was 30 percent, and the rate of sexual reoffending was 7.4 percent.

    The first number is similar to the rate of recidivism for all federal prisoners. Bad, but not worse. And the second number, 7.4 percent, is lower than the rate of sexual reoffending for people convicted of contact offenses—in other words, molestation. The commission cites two other studies that back up its findings. Maybe child pornography offenders often do only look, though looking is its own harm. In afascinating New Yorker piece by Rachel Aviv, University of Toronto psychiatry professor Michael Seto says that men who collected child pornography online “did not have the antisocial traits, like lack of empathy and impulsiveness, that are common to all types of criminals.” Seto calls these men “fantasy offenders.” He tells Aviv, “In this weird, disinhibiting space, which lacks the usual social cues, they may do and say things they would never dare in real life.”

    This idea is at odds with the most influential research on pornography offenders: theButner Study Redux. Published in 2009, the study involved 155 child pornography convicts. After they received sex-offender treatment in prison, 85 percent confessed to sexually abusing children. The volume of abuse was either incredible or terrifying— an average of 13 victims for each man.

    The Butner study has been the subject of fierce debunking and debate, and its author has pointed out that this field of research is at an early stage. But the study continues to hold sway. It comes up every time a child pornography bill comes before Congress. It backs up the laws that keep sex offenders in detention after they’ve served their prison terms—a normally chilling imposition of state authority.

    Maybe men convicted of possessing child pornography probably reoffend more than the researchers can measure because they don’t tell. Surely they commit more new crimes than the number they get arrested for, as the commission is careful to say. The question is how many more. Do they really pose a different risk in this regard than other criminals do? The Justice Department “takes issue” with the commission’s conclusions about recidivism and the link between viewing pornography of children and molesting them. These questions won’t be resolved any time soon. In the meantime, Congress could fix the aspects of child pornography sentencing that both DOJ and the Sentencing Commission see as broken.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    while i think child porn viewers deserve punishment, it doesn't make sense that someone who views it would get a harsher sentence than someone who actually molests a child, which is often the case. you can say something is fucked up with the system without it making you an apologist or somehow also guilty (and you can do it without defending a perv like grisham did)
    No viewing it shouldn't be harsher than the doing it, but it needn't be that far off either. Like everyone has said, it's not victimless to watch.

    Also agree that Grisham's misstep wasn't because he was arguing the legal fairness of sentencing guidelines or whatever, he was saying hey my white old guy friend was just drunk! Which of course is bullshit.

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    Interesting that he felt the need to drag race into it at all.
    "But I am very poorly today & very stupid & I hate everybody & everything." -- Charles Darwin

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    Bronze Member 70sRock's Avatar
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    There are no rewards or motivations for sex offenders to admit the extent of their acts unless lie detector results worsen their sentences. Where is the payoff of giving them benefit of the doubt? If federal court judges are concerned that incidental child porn viewers get a bad rap, how have they proven that convicts were innocent?

    I saw a lie detector test of a seventeen year old juvenile offender that would make twitchy.2's fabled links of GR golden days puke. Nothing can surprise me after that.

    I suppose I'm irked that federal superior court judges want to show compassion for this particular subject when our jails are stuffed with more urgent mental health injustices.

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    Recognizing something's wrong with the system isn't necessarily 'showing compassion' for these criminals.

    Were they showing compassion for rapist/kidnappers when they ruled that we're all entitled to our Miranda rights?

    Sometimes the system is just wrong, and needs to be fixed regardless of our feelings about the people it's wronging.
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    Sure, but how does it rate on the agenda over warehousing developmentally and mentally ill inmates? Screw it, I'm arguing over courts doing the right thing? Whatever, let them talk about it all they want. They will never do the right things for the right people.

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    Yeah, let's not discuss possibly fixing something that's wrong because there are other things that are wrong. Stellar logic.

    And few federal judges are responsible for sentencing the mentally ill inmates that get warehoused in our prisons, that happens at the county or state level much more frequently. Loitering, assault, etc aren't usually federal crimes.
    Last edited by witchcurlgirl; October 19th, 2014 at 03:51 PM.
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    Back in the 90s I was using Kazaa a lot. Dunno if anyone remembers it. I was getting a music album, or so I thought, but what I got was much different. It was many pictures, maybe 40? 50? I didn't see all of them of course, not once I realised what they were but it was enough. The revulsion I felt was just so intense, I can't even describe it. So, really, I can't imagine how drunk you have to be to go looking for that. I can't imagine any person who wouldn't do this sober just randomly deciding that's what they wanted to watch to get their rocks off that night.

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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    Recognizing something's wrong with the system isn't necessarily 'showing compassion' for these criminals.
    I agree, but I don't think that Grisham wanted a general discussion of sentences for child porn viewers vs. child molesters. He just thought, it was unfair that his buddy (and other white, 60 year old men) should serve time for "accidently" looking at child porn while "drunk".

    I wonder why he brought it up in the first place. It's been 17 years since his friend got caught, and 12 years since he was reinstated as a lawyer. His friend could have a job, wife and kids, who didn't know about his conviction. Well, they know now, thanks to Grisham.
    Is his new book about child porn? Or did his friend surf the internet while drunk again?

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    Idgaf about grisham. Regardless of his comments there's an issue here......and its not just about watchers vs. molesters. Watching and producing carry the same penalties in many cases. Hence, the criticism from the judges and the US justice dept.

    People can focus on his idiocy if it makes them happy, this way they don't have to think about something that's complicated. That's what the internet outrage machine is for.
    sputnik likes this.



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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    Idgaf about grisham. Regardless of his comments there's an issue here......People can focus on his idiocy if it makes them happy, this way they don't have to think about something that's complicated. That's what the internet outrage machine is for.
    I think it's possible to focus on Grisham's idiocy AND think about something complicated.
    And since this is a gossip board with a thread about Grisham's opinion on the sentenceing for child porn offenders, it's hardly unreasonable for people to comment on just that. Or on something more complicated, if they so desire.
    twitchy2.0 and sluce like this.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Is it really a gossip board? And a thread on grisham? Omg thank you for telling me. So helpful.

    Of course people can comment on grisham, but there's still an issue in our system, and if an idiot hack writer's comments get it some intelligent attention that's OK by me. But it shouldn't be the ongoing main focus outside of here or the real issue disappears. There's lots wrong with federal mandatory sentences, not just related to child porn
    sputnik likes this.



    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


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