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June 7, 2013

Welcome to the blogosphere: "The Civil-Criminal Distinction Blog"

I am pleased to learn that the idea of academics starting new blogs about legal issues has not yet become passé, as evidence by this new blog titled "The Civil-Criminal Distinction Blog."  This title, obviously, reveals the planned focus for this new blog, but this about page provides these additional details about the author and his plans:

My name is Alexander Blenkinsopp.  I am a graduate student at Harvard University.  You can e-mail me at [email protected].

This blog is dedicated to documenting and analyzing the blurry distinction between civil law and criminal law.  I intend to use this space to call attention to interesting scholarship on the topic, to highlight current news involving the civil-criminal distinction, to discuss cases implicating this subject, and to share my own thoughts on the issue.  I welcome comments, both on the blog itself and via e-mail.  My introductory post provides more information.

The modern regulation of sex offenders seems likely to be a frequent topic on this new blog, as evidenced by these two recent substantive posts:

June 7, 2013 at 08:35 AM | Permalink


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I work as a reader/writer at a community college.

Another major danger about civil commitment is to the staff and guards there. If you keep an inmate beyond his or her prison sentence, that inmate no longer has any incentive to behave towards the staff and to, instead, view them as part of the, "enemy." If no civally committed inmates have taken any guards or civil commitment staff members hostage yet, it is only good luck. After all, civil commitment is tantamount to a de-facto life sentence under supermax-like conditions, so, what's the worst that would happen to a civilly committed detainee that decided to murder a correctional officer or staff there?--a REAL life sentence on top of the de-facto one they are already serving? Oh, that's a real deterent, yea, right.

We just had an incident in New Jersey where several civally committed detainees brutally assaulted a male guard. Fortunately, the guard survived, but still sustained a horrible beating. I just bet that these detainees felt they had nothing to lose anymore by doing this outrageous thing. This is my point.

Posted by: william r. delzell | Jun 7, 2013 10:13:38 AM

The distinctions between civil law and criminal law need to be thrashed about on a regular basis. The blog is a good idea. Today I was reminded of the distinction, disconnect, overlap, when I looked up a federal habeas case on Pacer. I had to go to the Civil side of the aisle to find a criminal case because a habeas petition is a civil case. Now, why is that? Is this a good blog topic for the new blog?

Posted by: Liberty1st | Jun 7, 2013 11:45:35 PM

Useful link for the blog:


Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 8, 2013 5:39:47 AM

Re: Civil Committment, when prisoners have nothing left to lose, the loss of life means nothing.
Our justice system, and I use that term "loosely" is just setting itself up for prison unrest. Time to re-tool the entire system.

Posted by: kat | Jun 8, 2013 9:01:20 AM

I was in the state of maryland and falsely arrested and charged with a 4th degree misdermenor by a woman who claimed to be my friends daughters mother . I sat in jail for months and couldnt get hold of anyone. my public defender was completely useless, I tried to fire him but he wouldnt let me. I ws so scared that he would have me convicted due to his incompitance . He finally told me that if i were to plea guilty to a misdermenor then I would be released that day and to come to his office to start the appeal process and overturn the verdict. he lied to me. I was never ordered to register as a sex offender though. the probation officers made me call them every day or face jail. I wasnt from maryland and had nowhere to live and nobody would hire me. I am from ft myers and went back there. I was assaulted and mugged at ft myers beach, and hospitalized for a month because of broken bones in my head and face.
even though it was a confidential hospital called lee county mental health. a receptionist there named regina went through my records and called a deputy named foreman to take me out of bed and to jail to register. he took me to jail and told me that if i didnt sign those papers then I would be arrested and charged with a felony. i needed to get back to bed and my medication so i did as told from fear of the medical treatment in jail.
I was told that maryland had passed an ex post facto law requiriing me to register there. from that point on I was forced to pay 35 dollars every time that i slept in a bed for more than two days. I couldnt get a job or find anyone who would rent to me. my job of more than ten years couldnt hire me back because of it. after being tired and dirty for months after being released I couldnt take it, and asked how to be removed from the list. it was for ten years. the officer in charge of my case said to move away...
I went to kentucky where friends believe in me still. and was forced to register there too but only because florida had made me. I did as told and was whispered out of church, assaulted and had my door kicked in etc..
I decided to go back to california where I have family. and all was fine for two years, until I was pulled over and asked my name. I was arrested and charged with a felony for failure to register. I posted 3000 dollars bond and the charge was dissmissed because of the ex post facto clause. however the officer contacted kentucky and had them put a warrent for my arrest. . I was chained up in the back of a van for 5 days and nights. I was charged with a felony . and forced to sleep on the floor for 6 months of an overcrowded cell in bell county ky. I was told that i would be there for up to a year longer before I went to court. the law in maryland was repealed the day before I was indigted, and the prosecuter named karen blondell didnt care and held me for months after she was aware of the repeal anyway. I was forced to plea f my own "free will" while in handcuffs and wearing stripes Or I would be there indefinately. now I have a felony on my record and if for any reason i am pulled over i will be dragged back to a kentucky prison . for a 4th degree misdermenor out of ky that they dont even care about. kentucky is keeping me on that list because of florida for life now and florida says it will not release me from its list because they just wont. even though the federal constitution says that they cant just make laws after the fact punishing people more that the original sentance. florida just does what it wants. and thats illegal. the constitution supercedes all state laws and it says that one court ruling has full credit in every other jurisdiction. maryland dosent have me on their list. what can I do about this . Ive lost everything Ive ever owned and my entier family has turned away from me. i was "sweated " into a plea or i would still be in there right now. everyone ive ever known thinks im a pedophile except for the victims family who cannot believe this is happening to me. the dropped the charges even before the first court date. can I be compensated by anyone for any of this? how can I get off one of those lists? every time a policeman askes my name they want to charge me with something. sincerely james coulton [email protected]

Posted by: james coulton | Jun 20, 2013 2:56:57 PM

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