BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo Law School Professor
Charles Patrick Ewing has added to his series of critically
acclaimed books on some of the most unsavory but attention-grabbing
aspects of the law, this time with a book questioning the legal
logic and effectiveness of the country's increasingly harsh sex
In "Justice Perverted," Ewing examines what he calls "radically
reshaped" laws dealing with the country's sex offenders. These laws
include ordering sex offenders to register with authorities,
punishment for people possessing child pornography that "dwarfs"
sentences for more violent crimes, including murder, and a federal
law that requires a minimum 10-year prison sentence for those using
the Internet to lure minors for sex.
All these dramatic changes in sex offender laws have come about
at least partly from input from the fields of psychology,
psychiatry and the social sciences, according to Ewing, whose
extensive writing credits include several books on forensic
psychology, which is the application of psychological principles
and methods to legal issues, and how they play out in the
courtroom. And Ewing's research and experience in many trials --
both nationally notorious as well as obscure -- conclude that
enforcement and administration of many of these significantly more
restrictive sex offense laws rely heavily the opinions of
Working from that conclusion, Ewing takes on an original and
intellectually courageous direction of answering questions about
and evaluating this established legal environment:
Are these laws supported by empirical evidence, or even by
well-reasoned psychological theories? Do these laws actually work?
Are mental health professionals capable of reliably determining an
offender's future behavior, and how best to manage it?
"All of these laws are purportedly designed to enhance public
safety by reducing the incidence of sexual offending," says Ewing,
whose work in forensic psychology has involved using psychology to
understand legal issues such as insanity, competence to stand trial
and future danger. "Not only is there no evidence that these laws
have had their intended effect, but there is some evidence that
some of them may in fact lead to an increased threat to
"The economic costs of these laws are staggering and seem
indefensible at a time when other valued government programs are
being cut to avoid fiscal disaster," says Ewing. "There can be
little doubt that sexual offenses bring great harm to individuals
and society or that we should do all that we can reasonably do to
prevent them from occurring. The question is what is reasonable. It
is neither reasonable nor responsible to spend billions of
taxpayers' dollars on laws with no proven value."
The questions Ewing takes on in "Justice Perverted" go beyond
the arcane procedures of the nation's courtrooms to issues of
justice and fair treatment of all parties. Are experts capable of
providing effective treatment for sex offenders, Ewing asks, for
example, treatment that actually reduces the likelihood that an
identified sex offender will repeat a similar offense?
Ewing is a nationally known expert on the criminal mind, a SUNY
Distinguished Service Professor who has taught at the UB Law School
for 25 years. He is an expert witness who has testified or been
closely involved on some of the most celebrated and often grisly
criminal cases in the country.
Ewing's past accomplishments have earned him a reputation for
capturing the world of courtroom drama in books both scholarly and
captivating. His "Insanity, Murder, Madness and the Law" took
readers inside the minds of some of the nation's most heinous
murderers, including David Berkowitz, John Wayne Gacy and Andrea
His previous book, "Trials of a Forensic Psychologist," was
another example of Ewing's talent to produce a work of scholarship
that is informative and still retains the ability to be darkly
"Justice Perverted" has already earned impressive kudos from law
and university professionals.
"A remarkable, eye-opener of a book. Professor Ewing brings to
this highly controversial subject his knowledge as both a law
professor and as a practicing forensic mental health expert,"
according to Alan M. Goldstein, a board certified forensic
psychologist and professor emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal
"'Justice Perverted' is informative, readable and should be
required reading for attorneys, judges and forensic psychologists
and psychiatrists working in this area. Ewing's specific
recommendations for public policy reform should make all of us
re-think our immediate 'gut reaction' as to how those who commit
these horrific crimes should be treated."
"This book is a breath of fresh air," says Michael L. Perlin,
professor of law, director of the International Mental Disability
Law Reform Project and director of the Online Mental Disability Law
Program, New York Law School.
"It debunks the media-driven frenzy of fear, hate mongering and
utterly irrational laws that do far more harm than good. Professor
Ewing writes thoughtfully, carefully and persuasively. This book
should be read by all who care about -- and think about -- this
Ewing, who has been frequently quoted regionally and nationally
on legal issues and high-profile trials, is available for
interviews on this book and other legal issues.
Since its founding in 1887, the University at Buffalo Law School
-- the State University of New York system's only law school -- has
established an excellent reputation and is widely regarded as a
leader in legal education. Its cutting-edge curriculum provides
both a strong theoretical foundation and the practical tools
graduates need to succeed in a competitive marketplace, wherever
they choose to practice. A special emphasis on interdisciplinary
studies, public service and opportunities for hands-on clinical
education makes UB Law unique among the nation's premier public law
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus.
UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests
through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional
degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a
member of the Association of American Universities.