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September 7, 2007

Federal judge finds part of Adam Walsh Act unconstitutional

While I'm on the west coast, Corey Yung's post here beat me to reporting the news that a federal district judge in North Carolina has declared unconstitutional the sex offender civil commitment provisions of the Adam Walsh Act.   The full opinion in US v. Comstock, Case No. 5:06-HC-02195-BR (E.D.N.C. Sept. 7, 2007) (available here), by Judge Britt runs over 50 pages, but this seems to be the heart of the ruling:

Having carefully considered the arguments by all parties, the court concludes ... that the civil commitment provision of the Walsh Act is not a necessary and proper exercise of Congressional authority and that the use of a clear and convincing burden of proof violates the substantive due process rights of those subject to commitment under the statute.

I cannot help but suggest that most broad applications of substantive due process are likely not to be well received by the Fourth Circuit, but I won't make predictions about the fate of this ruling on appeal until I actually have a chance to read it.

September 7, 2007 at 05:15 PM | Permalink


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Now that I've had a chance to read the AWA civil commitment decision, I figured I'd make a few educated predictions and assessments about the opinion. First, the court did a pretty good job discussing why the AWA civil commitment [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 7, 2007 10:18:23 PM

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Tracked on Jul 5, 2008 10:47:38 PM


Isn't the Fourth the Circuit that rules on the basis of feelings rather than the constitution ?

Posted by: S.cotus | Sep 7, 2007 5:53:03 PM

The opinion is mostly about the federalism Lopez/Morrison issue, and the burden of proof is addressed in a relatively brief section at the end. It is possible that the federalism holding will be accepted in the Fourth and that they won't find it necessary to reach the latter point.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Sep 7, 2007 6:43:48 PM

Interestingly, though, and I'm afraid I don't have the cite handy at the moment, but D.Mass. recently UPHELD the Adam Walsh Act against facial attack. Bit of a role reversal, n'est ce pas?

Posted by: waiting for a new boss (f/k/a anonymous) | Sep 9, 2007 12:56:23 PM

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Posted by: חלקי חילוף לרכב במרכז | Jan 3, 2011 8:19:04 AM

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