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April 3, 2009

"Release of sex offenders delayed"

The title of this post comes from the title of this new entry at SCOTUSblog.  Here are the particulars from the start of a long and effective post by Lyle Denniston:

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., put on hold on Friday a federal appeals court ruling that the federal government contended would lead to the early release of “the great majority” of “sexually dangerous” inmates now held in federal prison.  In a brief order, the Chief Justice said there was “a presumption of constitutionality” of the 2006 federal law that the Fourth Circuit Court struck down.  He thus blocked temporarily the Circuit Court ruling, until the Justices act on a new government appeal filed Friday (U.S. v. Comstock, et al., 08-1224).

Roberts took little time to act. The Justice Department in the morning asked for a delay of the appeals court decision, but also sought an “immediate, interim” stay while its request was awaiting the Chief Justice’s reaction. Roberts, without seeking a response from the challengers to the federal law, by late afternoon issued his order fully staying the Circuit Court.

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April 3, 2009 at 06:44 PM | Permalink


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DC- Chief justice blocks release of sex offenders

Posted by: eAdvocate | Apr 3, 2009 11:23:19 PM

Sex offenders may become a suspect class, as homosexuals are rapidly becoming. Roberts wants to generate some lawyer fees before that happens.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 4, 2009 9:13:04 AM

For those of you who regularly read this blog, please don't fall for Supremacy Claus's baiting on this or any other thread. Nothing productive comes of it. Thanks.

Posted by: dont respond | Apr 4, 2009 11:37:43 AM

here's hoping the sct ends up affirming the 4th (words i never thought i would type in a million years).

Posted by: fedpubdefender | Apr 4, 2009 11:53:06 AM

One thing I find unclear about federal civil commitment is the issue of who pays. The law says the feds will try to place inmates in state facilities or, should that not be possible, in federal facilities. If the feds expect the states to pay for people in their system I expect the states will refuse to take anyone for fear that such openness could bankrupt them. If the feds pay, then there will almost certainly be disparities in the zeal to civilly commit based on what the various states charge (leading to equal protection suits) or the feds will try to price shop (which will lead to suits by everyone moved away from family.)

Sticking these folks in federal facilities isn't going to be much better. The situation in California should be looked at as a cautionary example here. Civil committees were originally placed in Atascadero State Hospital (the state's main secure mental hospital). This proved unworkable as the committees were not judged insane and could not be subjected to the same rules and restrictions as the previous population. This proved so disruptive the state eventually had to build a separate facility (Coalinga State Hospital) at a cost of nearly $400 million. CSH has been a disaster from the start - barely over half full years after completion (because it can't get staff for more), the vast majority of the prisoners refusing "treatment" (a program not recognized nor endorsed by ANY major psychological association), and with no real prospects for improvement - it has become a financial albatross around the state's neck.

Civil commitment is based on the lie of high recidivism by sex offenders. Every fed and state study confirms it's a lie. Policies based on a lie are never going to succeed. All they do is lull the public into a false sense of security and siphon resources away from programs which could actually make a difference. I realize the Supreme Court can't rule a law unconstitutional simply because it is stupid (though I sure wish they would at least denigrate the ones that are), but they could certainly try harder in such cases to find other reasons to do so.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 4, 2009 12:15:47 PM

Each of those offenders has likely committed 100's of sex crimes, with nearly total immunity from the criminal lover lawyer. In the case of exhibitionism or frotteurism, the number of sex offenses can be in the tens of thousands, each. Whatever the cost, it is an excellent investment.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 4, 2009 7:56:25 PM

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