Justices Rule That Sex Offenders May Be Held After Their Sentences End

Discussion in 'Politics' started by xmaspoo, May 18, 2010.

  1. Supreme Court upholds federal sex offender law - CSMonitor.com

    Justices Rule That Sex Offenders May Be Held After Their Sentences End - NYTimes.com

    From NYT:

    "WASHINGTON - In a broad endorsement of federal power, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Congress has the authority under the Constitution to allow the continued confinement of some sex offenders after they have completed their criminal sentences."

    "The law allows the federal government to continue to detain prisoners who had engaged in sexually violent conduct, suffered from mental illness and would have difficulty controlling themselves. If the government is able to prove all of this to a judge by “clear and convincing” evidence - a heightened standard, but short of “beyond a reasonable doubt” - it may hold such prisoners until they are no longer dangerous or until a state government assumes responsibility for them. "

    "Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, dissented in the case, United States v. Comstock.
    “The fact that the federal government has the authority to imprison a person for the purpose of punishing him for a federal crime - sex-related or otherwise - does not provide the Government with the additional power to exercise indefinite civil control over that person,” Justice Thomas wrote."

    From CSM:

    "The law requires federal officials to notify home-state authorities of a prisoner's possible release from federal detention and to turn the prisoner over to state officials if they agree to hold him. But in the absence of any transfer, federal officials are authorized to continuing holding the individual under the federal civil commitment statute."

    "Writing for the seven-member majority, Justice Stephen Breyer said Congress's authority to enact the measure stemmed from the Constitution's necessary and proper clause.
    “The statute is a ‘necessary and proper' means of exercising the federal authority that permits Congress to create federal criminal laws, to punish their violation, to imprison violators, to provide appropriately for those imprisoned, and to maintain the security of those who are not imprisoned but who may be affected by the federal imprisonment of others,” Justice Breyer wrote.
    Breyer cautioned that his decision should not be read as granting to Congress a general police power, “which the Founders denied the National Government and reposed in the States.”
    Instead, Breyer compared the statute to federal efforts to prevent the spread of disease from released prisoners to the general population."

    So blades, what do we think of the high court's decision? Are we protecting society from those dangerous to others and most importantly the children, or are we expanding upon the power of the federal government and laying the framework for a future police state?

    Let's have at it! :smoking:
  2. Soon they will do that for all crimes.

    Oh your a robber? We better keep you behind bars cause you might rob someone again.

    OH your a pot smoker? we better lock you up forever since you might smoke pot again.
  3. Just to add some context to this (I am undecided on the issue) this ruling applies to federal cases (courts have already upheld similar rules for state cases), and even then narrowly applies only to the 100 or so individuals that are deemed sexually dangerous by psychologists/psychatrists out of 13,000 held in federal prison for sex crimes.

    Then, after that determination is made a judge is petitioned to order the person to be hospitalized in a secured mental ward even after their release until such time as they are determined not to be a threat to others.

    Like I said, I don't yet have an opinion on this matter, just adding some context. This basicly is the same standard states use for forcibly placing persons into mental institutions, but applying it to currently incarcerated sex offenders.

  4. There is a big difference between a child raping bastard and a pot smoker..
  5. Yeah no shit I didn't know that.

    I'm saying the government won't recognize that because they will begin to see all people who commit crimes as having something mentally wrong with them because why would a sane person commit a crime right?

  6. As retarded as the US justice system is i dont think they will see child raping scumbag bastards in the same light as pot smokers.
    But the again this is the US we are talking about so anything is possible.

    Now if the pot smoker happened to be black...
  7. Interesting article. Personally, I have nothing against holding sex offenders in jail after their term ends if they are likely to commit the crime again. However, this sets a very dangerous precedent.
  8. We have similar laws here in Norway. One can get sentenced to a given time of incarceration, and in addition indefinite preventive custody. Basic premise is that people who have been found guilty of violent and/or predatory crimes (rape, pedophilia, planned murder, serious and repeated spousal abuse and so on) where there is a risk of repeat-offenses, are required to show significant personal improvement whilst serving the mandatory sentence. Release after mandatory jail time, will only happen after an expert panel deems the convict is on a new and better track, and preventive custody is no longer needed.

    But ofcourse, when released, they are carefully followed up by the authorities, and any transgression will soon land them back behind bars.

Share This Page