Monday, June 26, 2006

More Extremism From Drozda

Tucked inside of Mary Beth Schneider's wrap-up on new laws taking effect on July 1 in today's Star is more information about Sen. Jeff Drozda's extremist legislative plans for next year. You may recall that Sen. Drozda earlier announced his plan to introduce legislation to ban same-sex couples from adopting or fostering children. Now he plans to provide a different form of criminal justice for sexual offenders than other criminal offenders. Schneider writes:

This year's barrage of laws affecting sexual offenders are just the beginning, said Sen. Jeff Drozda, R-Westfield.

Next year, he said, he will seek legislation eliminating the "good time credit," for which offenders get one day off their sentences for every day of good behavior behind bars. He wants a mandatory minimum sentence of five to eight years in prison, depending on the crime, for people convicted of child solicitation or exploitation and those who possess child pornography.

Keep in mind that the legislature just enacted two new laws cracking down on sexual offenders. Violent sexual offenders will now be electronically tracked for the rest of their lives. Additionally, some sexual offenders will be barred from living within 1,000 feet of a school, park or youth center and from working or volunteering at those and other places that attract children. They can be charged with a felony if they violate this latter law.

Fundamental notions of due process and equal protection are constitutional principles extremists like Drozda are all too willing to discard in an effort to politicize the criminal justice system. Sexual offenders deserve punishment for their crimes, but no less or no more than persons convicted of comparable crimes.


Jeff Newman said...

It's just the usual tactics for the right wing extreme: take a segment that is univerally disliked (such as sex offenders or terrorists), and exploit it to no end for political and/or personal gain.

Of course, the recipe also works in reverse: take something that is universally liked (such as Christianity) and exploit it to no end for political and/or personal gain.

When are people in the middle going to recognize this pattern?

Anonymous said...

AI: "Sexual offenders deserve punishment for their crimes, but no less or no more than persons convicted of comparable crimes."

I'm trying to think of what constitutes 'comparable crimes' with regards to sexual crimes against children; will you please enlighten me?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Kay--look at the possessory crime. He says he wants a 5-year minimum sentence with no good time-off for someone convicted of possessing child porn. So your best friend e-mails you photos that constitute child porn, you open them up and quickly close them. Someone later discovers evidence of them on your computer. You're found guilty of possession of child porn and sentenced to 5 years. And don't scoff-there are cases out there just like that example. Are you going to do 5 years in prison if you're found to have a few grams of pot in your possession? No.

Anonymous said...

Possession of a few grams of pot is a victimless crime; therefore, it would seem not to be a comparable crime.

Acknowledging that child porn is not a victimless crime, ‘accidental’ possession of child porn and consequential conviction must certainly involve much more than the simplistic / serendipity type turn of events you are describing.

(FTR, I have had the same email address for the past fifteen years and neither friend nor acquaintance has ever emailed me child porn. However, having lived long enough to know all things are possible, in the event that ever were to happen, I, like many others, would have no qualms in immediately reporting the incident.)

As for the Drozda campaign aimed at the law abiding LGBT community, the man is either a dyed in the wool bigot or woefully uneducated. Either way I simply cannot understand how his position is being in the least way diminished when upstanding members of our community complain--on gay related blogs--about the harsh treatment non-law abiding citizens, those being caught with their pants down or worse, are receiving.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Fairness is all that is being requested. No one is defending people for being law-breakers. However, when men are lured into sex acts at a public park by undercover cops and charged with a felony because a minor could have seen it (but didn't), and those same cops catch a straight couple having sex in the same park and charge them with a misdemeanor, that's not being fair.