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Gingersnap
05-17-2010, 11:36 AM
Supreme Court: Sex offenders can be held indefinitely
10:20 AM ET

The Supreme Court ruled Monday the federal government has the power to indefinitely keep some sex offenders behind bars after they have served their sentences, if officials determine those inmates may prove "sexually dangerous" in the future.

"The federal government, as custodian of its prisoners, has the constitutional power to act in order to protect nearby (and other) communities from the danger such prisoners may pose," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the 7-2 majority.

:eek:

This Just In (http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/17/supreme-court-says-sex-offenders-can-be-held-indefinitely/)

FlaGator
05-17-2010, 11:41 AM
:eek:

This Just In (http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/17/supreme-court-says-sex-offenders-can-be-held-indefinitely/)

Not that I am for sex offenders, but this sure seems like a violation of due processes. If a sentence from a judge is no longer really a sentence but instead incarceration is an open ended punishment why don't they just give them life sentences with the chance of parole... maybe. If they do this with sex offenders now then what other future crimes might the SCOTUS rule have open ended punishments. Perhaps one day it will be criticizing the administration in charge?

PoliCon
05-17-2010, 11:42 AM
:eek:

This Just In (http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/17/supreme-court-says-sex-offenders-can-be-held-indefinitely/)

Who dissented? I'm sorry. IMO there are crimes that are so heinous that when committed - the perp loses all rights including the right to draw breath.

Gingersnap
05-17-2010, 12:02 PM
Who dissented? I'm sorry. IMO there are crimes that are so heinous that when committed - the perp loses all rights including the right to draw breath.

Thomas and Scalia dissented.

Look, I have no interest in keeping alive certain sexual predators. They can't be "cured" and they pose a threat until the day they die. I get that.

So, let's change the law and make certain sex crimes punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.

If sex predators can be held by U.S. government on what amounts to a whim, how long so you think it will be before other classes of criminals face the same thing? When your sentence is over, it's over. That's the societal deal we've made.

noonwitch
05-17-2010, 12:55 PM
Not that I am for sex offenders, but this sure seems like a violation of due processes. If a sentence from a judge is no longer really a sentence but instead incarceration is an open ended punishment why don't they just give them life sentences with the chance of parole... maybe. If they do this with sex offenders now then what other future crimes might the SCOTUS rule have open ended punishments. Perhaps one day it will be criticizing the administration in charge?




If they give sex offenders a life sentence, then the state is saddled with the medical bills for those offenders until the day they die. They can't let them out and let medicaid deal with it, like they do now when an inmate serving less than a life sentence gets cancer or AIDS or some other terminal condition.


I'm actually for life sentences for sex offenders, if the offender is over 17 (or if he is 15-17 and it's not a first offense). I don't just mean those who perpetrate against children, either, I mean the rapists who attack innocent people in any situation.


Just don't put them in the same prisons with the guys who are serving 2-5 for less serious and non-sexual offenses, to minimize the damage that they do. A guy might deserve a 2 year sentence for stealing a car, but he doesn't deserve to get raped in prison for his crime.

FlaGator
05-17-2010, 01:20 PM
If they give sex offenders a life sentence, then the state is saddled with the medical bills for those offenders until the day they die. They can't let them out and let medicaid deal with it, like they do now when an inmate serving less than a life sentence gets cancer or AIDS or some other terminal condition.


I'm actually for life sentences for sex offenders, if the offender is over 17 (or if he is 15-17 and it's not a first offense). I don't just mean those who perpetrate against children, either, I mean the rapists who attack innocent people in any situation.


Just don't put them in the same prisons with the guys who are serving 2-5 for less serious and non-sexual offenses, to minimize the damage that they do. A guy might deserve a 2 year sentence for stealing a car, but he doesn't deserve to get raped in prison for his crime.

So how is that different than holding them indefinitely after their sentence is completed?

Articulate_Ape
05-17-2010, 01:44 PM
Thomas and Scalia dissented.

Look, I have no interest in keeping alive certain sexual predators. They can't be "cured" and they pose a threat until the day they die. I get that.

So, let's change the law and make certain sex crimes punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.

If sex predators can be held by U.S. government on what amounts to a whim, how long so you think it will be before other classes of criminals face the same thing? When your sentence is over, it's over. That's the societal deal we've made.


Precisely. Well said.

Lager
05-17-2010, 02:16 PM
Thomas and Scalia dissented.

Look, I have no interest in keeping alive certain sexual predators. They can't be "cured" and they pose a threat until the day they die. I get that.

So, let's change the law and make certain sex crimes punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.

If sex predators can be held by U.S. government on what amounts to a whim, how long so you think it will be before other classes of criminals face the same thing? When your sentence is over, it's over. That's the societal deal we've made.

I agree with you that this is a bit scarey. I can definitely see the point that some sex offenders will be a continual threat, no matter how long they've been incarcerated, but the potential for violating civil liberties here, is enormous.

Can't wait to see how the du reacts. Do you think they might actually admit they agree with Thomas?

Gingersnap
05-17-2010, 02:29 PM
I agree with you that this is a bit scarey. I can definitely see the point that some sex offenders will be a continual threat, no matter how long they've been incarcerated, but the potential for violating civil liberties here, is enormous.

Can't wait to see how the du reacts. Do you think they might actually admit they agree with Thomas?

Agree with an Oreo? Doubtful.

noonwitch
05-17-2010, 03:07 PM
So how is that different than holding them indefinitely after their sentence is completed?




They hold them until their medical bills exceed the cost of their incarceration, then they let them loose. Maybe they don't do that so much anymore.


I get the objection-the sentence should be given from the start, not added on after the inmate has served his time. I agree with that, I just think that unless there are mitigating factors, they should get life sentences to begin with.

NJCardFan
05-17-2010, 03:08 PM
Interesting this comes up today. Last Tuesday, I got a call from another officer that a particular inmate had to void a urine later because he was "maxing" out the next day. Then, while I was on my lunch break, my housing sergeant called me and another guy to my unit to take this inmate to the holding cell. After we moved him, come to find out that the reason he was being "locked up" was because he was a sex offender(he had been incarcerated in both California and NJ for raping underaged girls) and that he was being committed to our sex crimes unit in Avondale, NJ.

For those who are against this, it's similar to civilly committing someone who is mentally ill. They do that as well. Here in NJ, if a special needs inmate serves his term but isn't deemed ready for release into society, he's sent to Ann Klein. I agree with this to a point. You can't simply sentence someone to life just like that. You have to sentence someone based on the crime but if the psychs feel this person hasn't progressed and if they believe he will commit rape again, I say send him away.

jediab
05-17-2010, 03:13 PM
Thomas and Scalia dissented.

Look, I have no interest in keeping alive certain sexual predators. They can't be "cured" and they pose a threat until the day they die. I get that.

So, let's change the law and make certain sex crimes punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.

If sex predators can be held by U.S. government on what amounts to a whim, how long so you think it will be before other classes of criminals face the same thing? When your sentence is over, it's over. That's the societal deal we've made.

I also agree. Not to mention with a lot of the zero tolerence sex offender laws out there, this type of thing could become very dangerous very quickly.

Gingersnap
05-17-2010, 03:22 PM
Interesting this comes up today. Last Tuesday, I got a call from another officer that a particular inmate had to void a urine later because he was "maxing" out the next day. Then, while I was on my lunch break, my housing sergeant called me and another guy to my unit to take this inmate to the holding cell. After we moved him, come to find out that the reason he was being "locked up" was because he was a sex offender(he had been incarcerated in both California and NJ for raping underaged girls) and that he was being committed to our sex crimes unit in Avondale, NJ.

For those who are against this, it's similar to civilly committing someone who is mentally ill. They do that as well. Here in NJ, if a special needs inmate serves his term but isn't deemed ready for release into society, he's sent to Ann Klein. I agree with this to a point. You can't simply sentence someone to life just like that. You have to sentence someone based on the crime but if the psychs feel this person hasn't progressed and if they believe he will commit rape again, I say send him away.

Then you are opening the door for psych assessments on other crimes. The mental health liberation movement of the 1970s happened because psychiatrists, doctors, and interested others had the power to lock people up for their own good (or the good of the "community").

Most of those people were simply "difficult", not insane. They were argumentative, nonconformist, sexually promiscuous, lazy, indifferent, or contrarian.

How long before other classes of crime are viewed this way? I have absolutely zero faith in a government flunky's risk assessment.

m00
05-17-2010, 03:26 PM
This is in complete violation of separation of powers. Prisons fall under the authority of the Executive, and this is that last be the branch that should determine how long a person has to serve time for a crime committed. Complete conflict of interest.

djones520
05-17-2010, 04:46 PM
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1224.pdf

PoliCon
05-17-2010, 06:44 PM
Thomas and Scalia dissented.

Look, I have no interest in keeping alive certain sexual predators. They can't be "cured" and they pose a threat until the day they die. I get that.

So, let's change the law and make certain sex crimes punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.

If sex predators can be held by U.S. government on what amounts to a whim, how long so you think it will be before other classes of criminals face the same thing? When your sentence is over, it's over. That's the societal deal we've made.

I've stated before that I support the death penalty in cases of rape and child sexual assault (pedophilia). Hopefully this will make states reconsider maximum sentences for sex crimes.

Does anyone have a link to the specifics of this case? I'm not aware of anything other than what has been posted here. . . .

PoliCon
05-17-2010, 06:47 PM
Most of those people were simply "difficult", not insane. They were argumentative, nonconformist, sexually promiscuous, lazy, indifferent, or contrarian. Instead of saying all that you know you could have said it with three short words?

Democratic party base.

PoliCon
05-17-2010, 06:49 PM
Then you are opening the door for psych assessments on other crimes. The mental health liberation movement of the 1970s happened because psychiatrists, doctors, and interested others had the power to lock people up for their own good (or the good of the "community").

Most of those people were simply "difficult", not insane. They were argumentative, nonconformist, sexually promiscuous, lazy, indifferent, or contrarian.

How long before other classes of crime are viewed this way? I have absolutely zero faith in a government flunky's risk assessment.

Do you object to returning to the classical assessment of some of these crimes?

djones520
05-17-2010, 06:51 PM
I've stated before that I support the death penalty in cases of rape and child sexual assault (pedophilia). Hopefully this will make states reconsider maximum sentences for sex crimes.

Does anyone have a link to the specifics of this case? I'm not aware of anything other than what has been posted here. . . .

Ummm... look one post above. I linked the entire Supreme Court document on the hearing.

PoliCon
05-17-2010, 06:54 PM
Ummm... look one post above. I linked the entire Supreme Court document on the hearing.

do you have anything written in plain English and not legalese and doublethink? :rolleyes: I'm way too tired to bother with something that annoying ya know? :)

Rockntractor
05-17-2010, 06:56 PM
do you have anything written in plain English and not legalese and doublethink? :rolleyes: I'm way too tired to bother with something that annoying ya know? :)

Don't forget Jones , Poli is a union school teacher.

PoliCon
05-17-2010, 06:58 PM
Don't forget Jones , Poli is a union school teacher.

Some of you have slept in the last week. I'm going on 3 straight days now without sleep. :(

djones520
05-17-2010, 07:02 PM
I'd say the thing that bugs me the most about this is the lack of hard definition on what would determine this detainment.

Here's the only need. (Take note Poli, it lacks a lot of that legalese speak you were worried about)


in the custody of the [Federal] Bureau of Prisons,” §4248, if that individual (1) has previously “engaged or attempted to engage in sexually violent conduct or childmolestation,” (2) currently “suffers from a serious mental illness, abnormality, or disorder,” and (3) “as a result of” that mental illness, abnormality, or disorder is “sexually dangerous to others,”

It doesn't specify the class of sexual misconduct. It just says child molestation, so as far as I'm aware this could mean that the government could legally detain for life an 18 year old who slept with a 17 year old with an angry father.

It really suprises me that only 2 Justices dissented from this...

NJCardFan
05-17-2010, 07:35 PM
I'd say the thing that bugs me the most about this is the lack of hard definition on what would determine this detainment.

Here's the only need. (Take note Poli, it lacks a lot of that legalese speak you were worried about)



It doesn't specify the class of sexual misconduct. It just says child molestation, so as far as I'm aware this could mean that the government could legally detain for life an 18 year old who slept with a 17 year old with an angry father.

It really suprises me that only 2 Justices dissented from this...

Wow. Can you say strawman? Something tells me it isn't going to be that easy to civilly commit someone. Chances are in that scenario you mention isn't one where someone is civilly committed. It's going to have to be habitual. A repeat offender. Someone extreme. In the story I told you, the inmate was a repeat offender.* This is most likely the criteria.

*note-The inmate I mentioned has since been released so he was committed less than a week.

djones520
05-17-2010, 07:44 PM
Wow. Can you say strawman? Something tells me it isn't going to be that easy to civilly commit someone. Chances are in that scenario you mention isn't one where someone is civilly committed. It's going to have to be habitual. A repeat offender. Someone extreme. In the story I told you, the inmate was a repeat offender.* This is most likely the criteria.

*note-The inmate I mentioned has since been released so he was committed less than a week.

Your not going to find a disagreement that there are plenty who need to be locked away for life. I myself was a victim of a pedophile. But none of us here should be fool enough to believe that the government will not abuse power, and when laws are written so loosely, there is plenty of room for abuse to be done.

Gingersnap
05-17-2010, 08:13 PM
Do you object to returning to the classical assessment of some of these crimes?

I think I do. I don't have any objection to a victim short-cutting the justice system if he or she does it during the unwanted act or while in captivity but otherwise, no. There's too much room for vindictiveness. Also, sex crimes are notoriously subjective and open to Monday Morning quarterbacking.

Both women and children routinely lie (as do men). An act that seemed okay/exciting/worth-the-effort at the moment may lead to soul-searching and finger-pointing later. That's not the case for little kids who are raped with penetration, of course. Things get murkier later.

malloc
05-17-2010, 08:27 PM
It doesn't specify the class of sexual misconduct. It just says child molestation, so as far as I'm aware this could mean that the government could legally detain for life an 18 year old who slept with a 17 year old with an angry father.

There's just no way I'm going to dig through USC today, but usually each section, and sometimes subsections have a 'Definitions' section where a lot of the language used in the following statutes is defined in detail. If you can match up with the language with the appropriate entry in the definitions section, the legislation might become more narrowed and strict.

Going through the definition and referenced sections may also answer the question as to why only 2 judges dissented. Perhaps the legislation, taken in context, is much more narrow than it is on the surface.