In international law, there is little doubt that torture is a war crime. The United States, along with 149 other nations, has adopted the protocols of the Geneva Conventions. Despite an attempt by the Bush administration to define torture differently than the rest of the world, in 1993 the UN agreed that the protocols defined in the Geneva Conventions had passed into customary international law, and is thus binding on non-member states. This would make any attempts to re-define torture by any state, member or non-member, irrelevant within any international accepted legal framework.

In 1975, the World Medical Association issued the Declaration of Tokyo, which specifically prohibits physicians and psychologists from participating in torture. Closer to home, the State of Ohio has specific rules about patient rights, including laws regarding standards of care and patient confidentiality.

Further, federal courts ruled specifically in 1980 that "The torturer has become – like the pirate and slave trader before him – hostis humani generis, an enemy of all mankind," thus subject to the jurisdiction of any state, regardless of where the crime is commitment and against whom.

Into this ironclad framework of international, national, and state law steps the figure of Larry C. James (Col. USA retired), Dean of the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University and former lead psychologist at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. James was head of the behavior sciences consultation team (BSCT or Biscut) there in 2003 and 2004, and later served his country in the same capacity at the infamous torture center of Abu-Ghraib in Iraq.

James, in his own book, Fixing Hell, makes numerous admissions which appear to constitute his use of his medical training to facilitate and direct torture. In his command capacity he supervised "behavioral management plans" tailored individually to each detainee. These plans were designed to individually undermine the resistance and psychological well-being of each person. This included such measures as repeated beatings by riot squads, sexual assault, threats of summary execution, repeated dropping of detainees from various heights, religious humiliation, forced nudity, long term exposure to extreme temperature, painful stress positions, sensory deprivation, long term isolation, starvation, water boarding, and attack by military dogs. James, in his capacity as a psychologist, was in charge of treatments for patients we were tortured. Psychologists have an ethical obligation not to cooperate with torturers.

Despite the more than 60 years since the Nuremberg trials, and despite the growing body of international jurisprudence, no court, foreign or domestic, has chosen to try James for his alleged crimes. Private citizens, with the help of the Harvard Human Rights Project and Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, filed a complaint with the Ohio Board of Professional Psychology in July of 2010. This complaint cited James' self-admitted conduct as grounds for an investigation and forfeiture of his license to practice. The complaint relies on established rules for professional conduct and the Ohio Revised Code.

The Ohio Board of Professional Psychology refused to investigate in a terse one page letter. Lodge noted that the board is granted legal powers and is a quasi-government body. The Ohio Revised Code states that the board does not have the option of not investigating a complaint. The plaintiffs then filed a writ of mandamus in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on April 11, 2011. A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary motion and takes priority over other business before the court. It seeks a judge’s order for a government body or official to carry out their legally defined duty or be held in contempt. According to the records of the court, the case was assigned to Judge Laurel Beatty and scheduled for a hearing on April 12, 2012, fully one year later.

April 12, 2012 came and went without a hearing in Judge Beatty's courtroom. Indeed by the time of this writing, some 22 months after filing, the plaintiffs in this case have yet to get their day in court. No reason has been given on or off the record for this extraordinary failure to have a hearing on an extraordinary motion.

Judge Beatty is a member of a powerful Democratic Party political dynasty. Her father, Otto Beatty Jr., served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1979 to 1999, when he was succeeded via appointment by his wife Joyce Beatty. Joyce Beatty won re-election and served until 2008 when term limits forced her to step down. During her final term she was House Minority Leader. She subsequently became a highly compensated vice president at Ohio State University (OSU). This past November, Joyce Beatty, with strong support from Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, became a United States Congresswoman, representing the 3rd District of Ohio, which encompasses Franklin County.

Judge Beatty and her stepmother both earned their baccalaureate degrees in psychology, Laurel Beatty from Spellman College and Joyce Beatty from Central State. Joyce Beatty also earned her Master’s in counseling psychology from the Wright State School of Professional Psychology, the same school that Larry James is now the head.

In her capacity as a vice-president in the OSU system and Wright State alumnae, Joyce Beatty co-chaired a $100 a plate black-tie fundraiser for the School of Professional Psychology with Larry James. Joyce Beatty was apparently untroubled by co-chairing this function with James, which was a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the school. At this fundraising gala, James announced a partnership between his school, the city of Dayton and Wright-Dunbar Inc., a non-profit development corporation of which he is a trustee, to carry out extensive development in the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood.

On January 13, 2013, the Dayton Business Journal carried a story that this three-way partnership had born fruit. Wright-State and the City of Dayton had each contributed $500,000 to the project that will be matched by $3 million in federal funds to renovate properties in order to provide three new mental health clinics operated by Wright State. These clinics are to serve as an anchor for further economic development in the neighborhood. The Wright State School of Professional Psychology's major location is in the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood.

Wright State and Wright-Dunbar are not the only entities interested in development in that Dayton neighborhood. Joyce Beatty, along with her lawyer-lobbyist husband Otto Beatty, founded a for-profit entity called the 404 West First Street Community Urban Redevelopment Company in Dayton. 404 West First Street is the location of a park right across the river from the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood.

Did Representative Beatty exert influence on her stepdaughter Judge Beatty to leave proceedings against her friend James in seemingly permanent legal limbo? According to the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct, influence is not required. A judge must recuse themselves is their impartiality may be reasonably questioned. No one need actually question the judge's impartiality, the rule states that a judge must recuse if a question may arise. Despite the obvious questionable relationship, and obvious questionable conduct, Judge Beatty has neither recused herself nor scheduled this motion for a hearing.

It is doubtful that any of the crimes committed at Guantanamo Bay, Abu-Ghraib, or any of the other islands in America's sprawling gulag archipelago will ever see an international tribunal. The plaintiffs in this case, four ordinary mental health practitioners from Ohio who wish to safeguard public trust in their profession have yet to have their accusations heard by any legally empowered body, despite the assistance of the Harvard Law School and two and a half years of diligent effort.

The Beatty family seems to be standing in the way of any attempt to bring a small measure of justice for those tortured, raped and murdered in America's gulag with the technical assistance of Larry C. James, America's Mengele of the mind.