Kelly Pierce Didn't Kill Jessica Lunsford

I ought to be grateful that Fox News even hosted a debate. Normally, the mere mention of the topic has folks running for the doors. Acknowledging that the issues are complex is progress. When it comes to reform of sex offender legislation, there is too often too little time given to debate. So thank you to Fox News for the four minutes devoted to the topic on Monday's "Fox and Friends." It was a good first step.
The discussion pitted the father of a child abducted and killed by a sex offender against a man convicted of the possession of child pornography. On the one side, the inconsolable rage of a victim's family; on the other, a demon man who had never hurt anyone so much as himself. It was a debate pitting two forms of pain against one another. But tell me, Fox? Did you really expect meaningful public policy debate by offering a seat on the forum to a man undone by his tragic sorrow?
Mark Lunsford, Jessica's father, plead from his heart. He told viewers that no one in the history of the mankind had ever been reformed by sex offender treatment. This is, of course, categorical nonsense. Liberally translated his statement comes down to this: Nothing we do will ever bring his daughter Jessica back to us. His is the infinite sorrow of a man whose loss can never be made good. Jessica was murdered in 2005 at the age of nine by a violent sexual predator.
Of course, Mr. Lunsford was unaware of the numerous studies, including one by Human Rights Watch, that find America's amalgam of sex offender laws to be little more than an obscene mockery of justice. We've created a body of law devoted to combating stranger danger. Never again, we hope, will a stranger abduct and kill a child, we utter. But the sad fact remains that we know there will be other abductions. The human psyche is perverse, and we cannot police desire at the very same time we appeal to sex to sell everything from toothpaste to cars. The laws passed in the wake of Jessica's murder requiring ramped up sex offender registration and harsher treatment of a sex offenders of all types satisfy the need to act, but do so at the cost of social justice.
Debating against Mr. Lunsford was Kelly Pierce of Georgians for Sex Reform, an affiliate of the National Reform Sex Offenders Laws. Mr. Pierce was convicted of looking at child pornography. He is therefore a sex offender. But he is not a violent sexual predator. When Mr. Pierce referred to such things as the low recidivism rate among non-violent offenders, Mr. Lunsford looked surprised. Rarely do advocates for tougher sex offender laws let facts get in the way of their demand for more draconian laws.
Georgia has been a hotbed of reform energy, with recent successes in chipping at away at the perimeter of over-inclusive registration requirements. Central to the arguments for reform in Georgia has been the argument that too broad and aggressive a set of sex offender laws actually harms children. It does so first simply by failing to draw meaningful distinctions between violent and non-violent offenders. It simply makes no sense to require everyone who has colored outside the proscribed libidinal lines in any way whatsoever to register as an offender: this overtaxes law enforcement, which then loses track of the truly violent. Similarly, draconian residency restrictions force offenders of all sorts into tiny ghettos where the lack of meaningful residential and employment opportunities yields the very stressors than undermine efforts at rehabilitation.
Mr. Lunsford was not deaf to these arguments, but he urged litigation to correct these problems. The courts are a hollow hope when it comes to reform of sex offender legislation. Judges run scared far too often of the rage of lawmakers. Effective reform must begin in legislative assemblies. Those affected by sex offender laws need to appear before lawmakers to tell their stories. I know this is difficult and there deal of fear among those who have been victimized by these laws. But lawmakers need to see the faces of those they are stigmatizing with insufficient reason.
So a word of thanks to Kelly Pierce for a heroic performance on Fox News. As everyone with any sense, Mr. Pierce did not kill Jessica Lunsford. A criminal justice system that chooses willful blindness to this is hardly worthy of support. We need more and better debates in the national news media about the harm our sex offender laws is doing to too many Americans, Americans like Kelly Pierce.

Also listed under: Sex Offenders and Justice

Comments: (3)

  • Kelly did an amazing job considering the format. F...
    Kelly did an amazing job considering the format. Fox of course disclosed Kelly's crime, conviction etc. I was curious why they failed to point out Mr. Lunsford's history with porn, since on the morning of his daughter's abduction; police found he had been viewing, but not downloading or saving porn. Kudos to Mr. Piercy for NOT pointing this out and taking the high road!
    Next, Mr. Lunsford suggested that no one should be removed from the registry because their crime may have been pleaded down to a lower level. Again curious since Mr. Lunsford's own son at 18 yrs. old, was charged with 2 felony counts for his witnessed sexual relations with his then 14 yr. old girl friend. These charges were plead down under dubious conditions to misdemeanor charges to avoid the registry Mr. Lunsford so strongly champions! Again, Mr. Piercy took the high road and did not ask why Mr. Lunsford’s son was not required to register.
    Mr. Lunsford also suggests, as you point out, that rehabilitation was not possible. Research, facts and logic be damned, why should he do any research and educate himself when emotions can rule the day. Again Mr. Piercy took the high road and did not ask Mr. Lunsford if this meant that he was still looking at porn on his computer or if his son was still having sexual relations with 14 yr. olds.
    My point is this, just like the politicians who are pandering to the hysterical and misinformed public to pass unconstitutional and immoral laws to get elected, there are those who seek to profit and gain media attention through emotions rather than logic, facts and reason. Mr. Lunsford and Mr. Walsh have both profited greatly, and gained notoriety through the exploitation of their daughters tragic misfortunes and deaths. They have done it on the backs of thousands who have paid their debt, and the hundreds of thousands family members, children and friends of those on the registry. They have done this with complete disregard of the facts, unimpeachable research and studies, logic or reason. They have completely ignored the fact that it has been proven these laws actually create a greater risk to everyone else's children. I personally find this disgusting and disturbing, especially since people such as Mr. Piercy continue to take the high road in spite of the personal attacks and injustices played upon them. Who is the real villain here?
    While the desire and goal to save even one child from harm is most laudable, to do so by recklessly endangering the safety and lives of thousands of children, families, friends and fellow neighbors and co-workers does not seem a viable, or reasonable least not to me. VDog
    Posted on July 27, 2010 at 2:08 am by VDog
  • Kelly did do a great job. Time restraints were suc...
    Kelly did do a great job. Time restraints were such that Fox News would only 'touch' on the subject. I wrote Fox News and hear is what I sent them
    Subject: Georgia Eases Sex Offender Restrictions, Interview
    The interview was way too short. I would have loved to hear more from Kelly. He knows the research, apparently.
    The HUGE problem with these laws is that they were all based on myths and lies. There is a mountain of evidence based research out there and none of the research commends these laws. In fact, they ALL say, "More harm than good." Research also says that recidivism is very low for FIRST time sex offenders.
    We MUST get past the media hype, the myths and lies in which the laws today are based on. We are WASTING billions, nation wide for laws that actually put our children and in great society danger.
    Kelly is correct when dealing with low to no risk sex offenders.
    Example: California Sex Offender Management Board ( June 2008
    The following figures on a ten-year California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) follow-up study of the recidivism of 3,577
    individuals convicted of a sex offense who were released from CDCR prisons in 1997 and followed until the end of 2007
    The bottom line with this study is:
    3.38% were returned to custody with a new sex crime, by the end of third year.
    3.21 re-offended and it took the remaining seven years produced the remaining 0.17%
    YEAR 1 79 2.21% 2.21%
    YEAR 2 26 0.73% 2.94%
    YEAR 3 10 0.27% 3.21%
    YEAR 5 3 0.09% 3.30%
    YEAR 10 3 0.08% 3.38%
    TOTAL 121 3.38% 3.38% .
    Oklahoma's Sex Offender Registry lists, "Habitual" or REPEAT sex offenders come in at less than 1/4 of 1 percent.
    There are 6577 registered sex offenders, with 195 listed as Habitual Divide 195 by 6577 equals 0.024 percent.1/4 of one percent and Oklahoma has had a registry since November 1, 1989. 21 years!
    Oklahoma has exactly 900 sex offenders who have absconded because they have been run out of their homes, their jobs due to the mass hysteria perpetuated by politicians and the entertainment news media.
    Wouldn't you rather know where these 900 absconders are? That's 14 percent that is unaccounted for. So, just tell me where is the safety in the community?
    Enough bad law!

    The U.S. Justice Department
    www.ojp.usdoj. gov/bjs/pub/press/rsorp94pr.htm
    Highlights include the following:
    * Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%),
    burglars (74.0%),
    larcenists (74.6%),
    motor vehicle thieves (78.8%),
    those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%),
    and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).
    * Within 3 years, 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape,
    and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide.
    These are only a few stats. Please consider a better format in your next "Fair and Balanced" programing. And More time. Don't gang up on people either. I've seen that too many times on Fox Network.
    Wouldn't it be better with having only the high risk offender on a registry than this total mess? Wouldn't we be a better steward of our resources?
    Posted on July 27, 2010 at 3:44 am by Letsgetreal
  • Those affected by sex offender laws need to appear...
    Those affected by sex offender laws need to appear before lawmakers to tell their stories. I know this is difficult and there deal of fear among those who have been victimized by these laws. But lawmakers need to see the faces of those they are stigmatizing with insufficient reason.
    RE: You are an amazing writer and your words are inspiring, but, I have contacted my legislators, adult advocates, child advocates, juvenile commissions, juvenile justice, parole re entry, probation , Attorney Generals offices, government employed sex offender treatment psychologist and asked them to investigate and write reports or perhaps request our government do a task force describing on the results of labeling children, young adults and many harmless citizens with in Megan's Law and exposed registration policies. Each entity in the government has explained to me, it is 'NOT' their position to do so.
    I ask all of them to please direct me to a government agency or advocate's office that would assume the responsibility and pursue the interest of children and families who would like to share their ill experiences , expose child abuse or are suffering hardship as a result of Megan's 'MURDER' Law, Jessica's MURDER Law, and Adam Walsh's MURDER Law! NO ONE could direct me, assist me or took an interest in protecting MY children or anyone's Else's children from unintended or intended abuse!
    The registrant's are, Taxed Without Representation and/or any legal, humane, human, constitutional rights to protect themselves from Harm, torture or child Abuse, more disturbingly are 'NOT' afforded any avenue to complain or voice their opinion?
    Yes, I wish to thank Fox News, for opening the debate. But, I am equally disappointed that after 17 years of pure hell, total disrespect from my government and denied constituent services by my own legislative representatives, it's utterly disturbing when being forced to pay tax to help fund 'their' discriminating hate crimes against us. Our own representatives have shut us out and rendered us voiceless and helpless, As they disjointedly chimed in with the parent's of 'MURDERED' children and joined forces to instill all America to carry out vengeance against thousands of vulnerable citizens and millions of innocent family members, allowing no avenue for rebuttal or factual claims of injustice.
    For these reasons , I would only ask and expect Fox news for more then 4 minutes of media air time for the only person representing Me, my family and thousands upon thousands of our fellow Americans who have been captured, held prisoners and purposely harmed by these dishonest, manipulating, all encompassing 'MURDER' FLAWS, ruining 'OUR' country!
    One more thing:
    I have asked NJ Court administrator, Janis Alloway, to request that NJ stop destroying juvenile records including transcripts, defense files and psycho sexual reports, which would assist judges to accurately tier prior juvenile offenders, required to register as adults for 'life' but stated it's not the courts area. It's NOT anyone Else's area, either? But, tier hearings are for LIFE and based on a prior juvenile histories and NJ destroyed them isn't a 'PROBLEM' which should be corrected! My Representatives and others in NJ that I've contacted about this issue all mentioned how they support Megan's, Jessica and Adam's 'Murder' Laws to protect children but, will not support fair, honest factual tier hearings for the children they titled predators for LIFE ,while running for office? That's the NJ Justice System and juvenile protection for you and 'MURDER' Law hidden attribute!
    Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:08 am by Honest Opinion

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