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Book Reviews: The Accusation
By Fay F. Spence
Book Reviews columns.
By Payne Edwards
Dog Ear Publishing (2009)
In his first novel, The Accusation, Payne Edwards dares to recognize the dangers of ever-increasing “tough on crime” approaches to dealing with child sex offenders. He is particularly critical of ambiguous laws passed in response to societal fears of predatory criminals, noting that some laws, as worded, actually criminalize innocent behavior — innocent touching — rather than true sexual abuse. Other targets of his criticism include severe mandatory minimum sentences that leave a judge with no sentencing discretion and procedural devices such as video testimony that threaten the constitutional right to confront one’s accusers. Regrettably, his discussion of the latter issues is probably too abbreviated to be understood by many of those unfamiliar with the legal system.
The story’s protagonist, Mike Rader, is a pleasant, naive, intellectually limited man who is falsely accused of fondling his niece’s seven-year-old daughter. The aut
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