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October 14, 2015

Prospect of civil commitment leads UK judges to refuse to extradict child sex offender back to US

A helpful reader alerted me to this notable story about a notable legal ruling from across the pond last week.  The piece is headlined "Judges refuse to extradite 'paedophile' unless his human rights are guaranteed," and here are excerpts:

UK judges are refusing to extradite an alleged American paedophile who has been on the run from the FBI since 2007 until they have received an assurance that his human rights will not be breached.

The two judges sitting at the High Court in London made it clear that if no assurance is given they will refuse to hand over Roger Giese, 40, to stand trial in California, where is charged with sexually abusing a boy under the age of 14 from 1998 until 2002. The former choir master has been living in a village in Hampshire under a different name and working for a PR company.

An extradition request from the United States was certified by the Home Office in May 2014, and Giese was arrested on June 4 last year. But Magistrates' Court District Judge Margot Coleman refused the request last April.

She ruled there was "a real risk" that Giese would be subjected to an order for civil commitment - a form of indeterminate confinement in a secure facility - if convicted of a series of sexual offences against the boy. Judge Coleman said such an order would be a "flagrant denial" of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The US government appealed against Judge Coleman's decision, but today it was upheld by the High Court, which gave the US authorities a deadline to assure the court that, if Giese was found guilty, "there will be no attempt to make him the subject of a civil commitment order".

Lord Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Holroyde stated in a joint written judgment that Judge Coleman was right to conclude that extradition would be "inconsistent" with Giese's ECHR rights. The judges said that if no assurance was given "in due time", the US government appeal for the right to extradite "must be dismissed".

Giese is wanted in Orange County, California, for allegedly committing "lewd acts" with a child. He is alleged to have befriended the boy in 1998, when he was working as a voice coach for the All-American Boys Chorus. He fled the US eight years ago just as he was about to stand trial.

According to a Mirror newspaper investigation, he set up home with a new partner in the Hampshire countryside. There was no suggestion she knew about his past. Together, the pair built a PR company with clients including travel giants Thomas Cook....

California is one of 20 states in the USA which have a system of civil commitment, the High Court heard. A commitment order can be imposed against "a person of unsound mind" deemed to be dangerous who has been convicted in the criminal courts and served a sentence for certain types of sexual offence.

The High Court judges said the fact that the US government was not prepared to state that no petition for civil commitment would be filed in the case of Giese did give rise to an inference that there was a real risk of that happening.... But the judges added that Giese's extradition was not being sought to make him subject of a civil commitment order but so that he could stand trial "in respect of 19 serious charges of sexual offences" against a young boy. They ruled the US government should be given a further opportunity to offer "a satisfactory assurance" that if found guilty "there will be no attempt to make him the subject of a civil commitment order".

The full 27-page ruling referenced in this article can be accessed at this link.

October 14, 2015 at 10:20 AM | Permalink


The "US government" can't guarantee that without CA agreeing. It's their call.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 14, 2015 3:00:59 PM


But I'm not sure how it is possible for CA to agree. After all, a civil commitment order is not rendered immediately after the guilty verdict, it's rendered after the completion of a sentence. So how can CA guarantee that? It will be a decision a psychologist might recommended 20 years down the line to the court when his custodial sentence is done (assuming he is found guilty). I think such a guarantee is simply beyond CA powers.

Just to be clear the UK is not objecting to civil confinement but civil commitment, they are very different beasts.

Posted by: Daniel | Oct 14, 2015 5:20:39 PM

Looking over the opinion, it might take the unlikely agreement to drop the sexual abuse case, only charge him (if possible) with something for which the commitment law (which is phrased in "shall" terms, so there might not be discretion) does not apply or somehow not have it applied to him (including by changing the law).

Posted by: Joe | Oct 14, 2015 7:40:10 PM

Reminds me of the case of Ira Einhorn. He was convicted of murdering his girl friend and fled to France. He was tried in absentia in Philadelphia.

When he was captured in France, the French refused to extradite him because they do not honor trials when the defendant is not present. I think the International Court of Human Rights asked for a hold on his extradition.

He was eventually extradited after Pennsylvania passed a law - just for this case - vacating the guilty verdict and granting him a new trial. This is a such a miss mash of questionable actions and decisions, beginning with his original trial.

I do know that when countries put stipulations on extraditions if the US agrees to them, when the defendant is extradited the jurisdiction issues a superseding indictment that ignores the stipulations. The defendant can do nothing about protesting the extradition treaty violation because the offended party is the country that placed the stipulations on the extradition.

Posted by: beth | Oct 14, 2015 8:33:34 PM

Britain is farther along than the US in political correctness, which means protecting the criminal. Naturally, they have been beset by higher crime rates than we have in the US. The British people deserve their victimization for voting for these left wing extremists, including members of the Conservative Party. These would be left wing Democratic Party Progressives in the US.

Rick should move on from the settled question of the correlation of lead levels and crime. He should next examine the correlation of crime rates with elections of left wing ideologues, around the nation, around the world.

Naturally, instead of having the defendant kidnapped and returned to the US, the California lawyers are totally caving in to the ridiculous demands of foreign judges and surrendering US sovereignty to these left wing extremists. These US lawyers are appeasers.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 15, 2015 12:14:47 PM

I'm glad to see that at least some other nations have legal and moral reservations about the use of post-sentencing civil commitment. Many countries that suffered under dictatorships in the past may have bitter memories of how those dictatorships not only held people without charging them, but even added years to existing sentences by transferring them to concentration camps after they completed their LEGAL sentence.

The supporters of civil commitment in the U.S. obviously have no sense of history on how civil commitment has paved the way for tyranny in our country.

Besides a threat to constitutional civil liberty, civil commitment has the potential of putting corrections officers and staff members in these civil commitment centers at risk when embittered detainees there have no incentive to behave themselves. With several state budget cuts, not only have prisons but even several civil commitment centers have had to reduce their staff levels to dangerously low levels without reducing the number of civilly detained persons.

Posted by: william r. delzell | Oct 15, 2015 12:15:46 PM

William: Brief rebuttal. Rampage killers.

Now they qualify for civil commitment, after killing 20 little kids. Often the families had tried to get voluntary help for months or years.

The Supreme Court took command of psychiatry in 1976. They knew nothing about the subject, save as potential source of lawyer jobs and income. Since that time paranoid people have killed 2000 people a year or 10% of murders everywhere in the world. The Supreme Court ended commitment procedures by two physicians that had never been abused. This is in order to generate government make jobs for 3 lawyers, a prosecutor, a defense lawyer and a magistrate in the middle. One must be a danger to self or others to get committed, not just mentally ill, instead of the prior need for treatment.

If you like rampage killing by paranoids, thank the Supreme Court.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 15, 2015 3:00:08 PM

I respect the concern of other nations of certain possible civil liberty concerns present in this country. At least, sovereignty allows countries to have broader views on the subject and use it when people are inside their borders. Nonetheless, if anything, our prison system often seems more of a concern than the possible of civil commitment after what might be a long prison term especially since he fled.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 15, 2015 6:56:47 PM

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