Monday, November 18, 2013

Elizabeth Coast Says She’s Sorry for the False Sexual Accusation that Sent Jonathan Montgomery to a Virginia Prison Where He Spent 4 Years Before She Recanted and He Served the Full 7.5 Year Sentence

I recently posted about the one year anniversary of the false accusation being made pubic, the wrongful conviction and "conditional pardon" with release from prison of Jonathan Montgomery. 

This evening Elizabeth Coast who told the lie that sent this innocent man to prison, that took away any prospect of a bright future that includes (as of today) being forced to register as a sex offender tells WVEC she’s sorry and would like to apologize to Jonathan Montgomery in person. 

Coast wants to apologize in person to man she wrongly sent to prison, November 18, 2013
VIDEO EXTRA: Elizabeth Coast Interview Part 1
VIDEO EXTRA: Elizabeth Coast Interview Part 2

Woman who falsely accused man of sex crimes says she's sorry, November 18, 2013

Tomorrow Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will argue for Jonathan Montgomery’s innocence in his actual innocence case before the Court of Appeals of Virginia.  Virginia law does not allow courts to free convicted felons on the basis of alleged perjured testimony unless a court first evaluates whether the testimony was actually false a.k.a. Virginia’s 21-Day Rule. 

Hopefully Jonathan’s name will be cleared very soon and his requirement to register thrown out so he can finally have a life without the shame and fear that comes along with being an RSO.

Past Articles on the Recant of Coast and the Release of Montgomery for Anyone Who Isn't Familiar with the Case:

Proposed Bills for the 2014 Virginia General Assembly Session Begin Posting Today and Continue on for the Next 9 Weeks

Recently I posted 
Which directs readers towards the options available to track bills during session, how to learn who your  State Delegate and State Senator are and their contact information. Also, that I will start a 2014 General Assembly Session page on this blog in the next few weeks and the options for receiving post notices from this blog.

Today, November 18, 2013 is the first day of prefiling for bills of the 2014 General Assembly session, I received the first of many LIS email’s this morning. 

Per the University of Virginia Office of State Governmental Relations page here are some other key dates for the Virginia 2014 General Assembly session. 

Monday, December 16 2013–          Governor presents Budget Bill
Wednesday, January 8 2014-          Prefiling ends at 10AM, Session convenes at 12PM
Friday, January 17 2014-                   Bill Cut-off (Last day to introduce / submit a bill to LIS)
Tuesday, February 11 2014-             Cross-Over Day, the half-way point of the yearly session. For a Bill  to continue through the session it has to have made it completely through the first Chamber by Cross-Over Day so that it can move on to the second chamber to start the process over again. Any bill that is still sitting in committee by Cross-Over Day has “died-on-the-vine” and is no more.
Saturday, March 8 2014-                  2014 Session Adjourns
Wednesday April 16 2014-               Reconvened Session is Held, (AKA “Veto” session) is held on the 6th Wednesday after session adjournment for bills the Governor amended or rejected. A Governors veto can be overridden with a 2/3 vote in both House and the Senate in a special session. 

From today until late on Friday January 17, 2014 proposed bills that could become law on July 1st will be posted on LIS and emailed out hourly to those who sign up for notifications.  

When new Co-Sponsor/Co-Patrons are added onto a bill there is no notification (you just have to remember to check the main page for that bill). Also additional Co-Sponsors don’t usually occur until after a bill has made it through the first committee hearing or even a vote in the first chamber. 

I will do my best to keep you up-to-date with alerts, updates, bullet points on opposing a bill and who to contact over the next 3.5 months. 

Mary Devoy

Dr. Karen Franklin: Static-99 “norms du jour” get yet another makeover

As most of you know, I am a follower of Dr. Karen Franklin’s Blog. 

Just 2 weeks ago she had a Static-99 post that I re-posted here . Because in Virginia the Static-99 is the tool used to indefinitely commit men as Sexually Violent Predators (SVP’s) after they have completed their court ordered prison sentences.  

Today Dr. Franklin shares with her readers the newest changes the Static-99 developers have made and revealed at the recent ATSA Conference. 

You can click on this link to read her post or read it below. 


It would be humorous if the real-world consequences were not so grave. 

Every year, at a jam-packed session of the annual conference of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), the developers of the Static-99 family of actuarial risk assessment tools roll out yet a new methodology to replace the old.  

This year, they announced that they are scrapping two of three sets of "non-routine" comparison norms that they introduced at an ATSA conference just four years ago. Stay tuned, they told their rapt audience, for further instructions on how to choose between the two remaining sets of norms.  

To many, this might sound dry and technical. But in the courtroom trenches, sexually violent predator cases often hinge on an evaluator's choice of a comparison group. Should the offender be compared with the full population of convicted sex offenders? Or a subset labeled "high risk/needs" that offended at a rate more than 3.5 times higher than the more representative group (21 percent versus 6 percent after five years)?  

To illustrate, whereas only about 3 percent (4 out of 139) of the men over 70 in the combined Static-99R samples reoffended, invoking the high-risk norms would cause a septuagenarian's risk to skyrocket by 400 percent. It's not hard to see why such an inflated estimate might increase the odds of a judge or jury finding a former offender to be dangerous, and recommending indefinite detention.  

The first problem with this method is that the basis for choosing a comparison group is very vague, inviting bias on the part of forensic evaluators. Even more essentially, there is not a shred of empirical evidence that choosing the high-risk norms improves decision-making accuracy in sexually violent predator (SVP) cases.  

That should come as no surprise. Not one of the six samples that were cobbled together post-hoc to create the high-risk norms included anyone who was civilly committed -- or considered for commitment -- under modern-day SVP laws, which now exist in 20 U.S. states. (Four samples are Canadian, one is Danish, and the only American one is an exceptionally high-risk, archaic and idiosyncratic sample from an infamous psychiatric facility in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.)  

A typical psychological test has a published manual that gives instructions on proper use and clearly describes its norms. In contrast, the Static-99, despite its high-stakes deployment, has no published manual. Its users must rely on a website, periodic conferences and training sessions, and word-of-mouth information.  

High-risk norms based on guesswork, say forensic psychologists 

Now, two forensic psychologists have joined a growing chorus of mainstream practitioners cautioning against the use of the high-risk norms, unless and until research proves that they improve evaluators' accuracy in forecasting risk of sexual re-offense.

"There is zero empirical research showing increased accuracy by switching to a non- representative group," note Gregory DeClue and Denis Zavodny in an article just published in the Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology. "Unless and until such choices are found to increase the accuracy of risk assessments, forensic evaluators should use local norms (if available) or the FULLPOP* comparison group (considered roughly representative of all adjudicated sex offenders)."