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JSUCamel
05-17-2010, 10:16 AM
http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/17/supreme-court-says-sex-offenders-can-be-held-indefinitely/

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.


uh... wtf? While I agree that certain sex offenders shouldn't be allowed back on the streets, this is opening Pandora's box... If their crime is really that violent and/or threatening, give them a life sentence, but don't give them a 15 year sentence and they say "Oh, you know what? Nevermind, we're gonna keep you forever"...

GonzoTheGreat
05-17-2010, 10:28 AM
Why not?
Look on the bright side: this will undoubtedly get extended to other crimes. Eventually (in a couple of centuries) even crooked politicians will get locked up for good. Or perhaps someone will write a law to prevent that specific outcome.

Basel Gill
05-17-2010, 10:28 AM
True. If it's that bad of an offense, then they need to write the statute in such a way that the sentence is clearly spelled out and not open to the whim of whoever reviews it at the time.

That being said, I'd personally be in favor of a statute that allows the victims and their familes some "alone" time with said inmate with a large metal club and a closed door...just sayin'.

Davian93
05-17-2010, 11:07 AM
Pretty sad day when I agree with Thomas and Scalia. The other 7 are fvcking morons.

Basel Gill
05-17-2010, 11:52 AM
That is a major slippery slope. Where would that stop?

As a mental health professional, we deal with some persons who are found Not Guilty by reason of insanity. These people are sent a place specifically for these types of cases. They DO get discharged and have the "potential" for danger. Maybe they should be held indefinitely?

Too many others to list...

Matoyak
05-17-2010, 12:04 PM
Well then. That's...interesting. And a slippery slope of doom, as previously mentioned.
Yeesh.

Sinistrum
05-17-2010, 12:33 PM
I agree with the majority here. They have to have another evidentiary hearing, which they have to show three separate elements (1. respondent has committed sexual violence before 2. respondent is mentally ill and 3. respondent is sexually dangerous to others) by clear and convincing evidence, which is the second highest legal standard we have. Furthermore, involuntary detentions like this have to be periodically reviewed to ensure the conditions that brought it about are still present. Its really no different than involuntarily committing someone for paranoid schitzophrenia. In fact, the mechanism is precisely the same. I'm not seeing anyone complaining about a slippery slope for that.

Furthermore, states have been able to do this for thirteen years. Don't see a slippery slope forming there either.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_v._Hendricks

This is nothing more than an extension of a previously validated policy that hasn't impacted anyone negatively aside from sexual predators.

Davian93
05-17-2010, 01:30 PM
Sexual predators are despicable creatures. However, if their crime is so severe, it should be reflected in their sentencing, not some arbitrary process where they can be locked up indefinitely.

I'm surprised that you (Sini), a strict constuctionist from most of your posts here, disagree with Thomas/Scalia's interpretation here.

Matoyak
05-17-2010, 01:41 PM
Sexual predators are despicable creatures. However, if their crime is so severe, it should be reflected in their sentencing, not some arbitrary process where they can be locked up indefinitely.This. (Sorry, don't know how to add anything else to the discussion, but I want my opinion to be clarified...and what Dav said there is spot-on, soooo...yeah.)

JSUCamel
05-17-2010, 02:18 PM
This. (Sorry, don't know how to add anything else to the discussion, but I want my opinion to be clarified...and what Dav said there is spot-on, soooo...yeah.)

I'm so glad you chimed in :p

Matoyak
05-17-2010, 02:26 PM
I'm so glad you chimed in :pYeah, I'm rather helpful like that. Must be my radical political views and my supreme love of conflict ... :rolleyes:

Sinistrum
05-17-2010, 04:19 PM
Sexual predators are despicable creatures. However, if their crime is so severe, it should be reflected in their sentencing, not some arbitrary process where they can be locked up indefinitely.

Why are you talking about criminal law? The issue is one of civil commitments, which has absolutely zero to do with criminal law. And how is the process "arbitrary?" As I've explained, there has to be an evidentiary hearing before said commitment can be done. Furthermore, the respondent has multiple rights during, including the right to counsel and question witnesses.

GonzoTheGreat
05-18-2010, 02:39 AM
Well, look at it this way: the Soviet Union also used civil commitments on insanity grounds to keep people locked up indefinitely. And they weren't all that bad either, in hindsight, now were they?

Perhaps this is a solution for the Guantanamo Bay legal black hole too: just declare all the prisoners insane, and then keep them locked up until it can be decided that solitary confinement has made them sane enough to release them.

Looked at from that angle, Sinistrum is entirely consistent. Of course, the Supremes have in the past uttered some criticism of Gitmo, but perhaps they're coming around now.

Neilbert
05-18-2010, 08:54 AM
Why are you talking about criminal law? The issue is one of civil commitments, which has absolutely zero to do with criminal law. And how is the process "arbitrary?" As I've explained, there has to be an evidentiary hearing before said commitment can be done. Furthermore, the respondent has multiple rights during, including the right to counsel and question witnesses.

You have an incredible amount of faith that the system works as claimed. I'm cool with what you are saying on paper, but I don't trust a legal system that decides homeless for life (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/06/national/main3797416.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_3797416) is an appropriate punishment. sending them to an island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McNeil_Island) might work out, though.

Well, look at it this way: the Soviet Union also used civil commitments on insanity grounds to keep people locked up indefinitely. And they weren't all that bad either, in hindsight, now were they?

Some people need minding. IIRC sexual predators don't tend to respond well to rehabilitation. However, trusting the american legal system to be making that sort of distinction... no.

GonzoTheGreat
05-18-2010, 09:42 AM
Some people need minding. IIRC sexual predators don't tend to respond well to rehabilitation. However, trusting the american legal system to be making that sort of distinction... no.That is sort of the worry that one might have with this, yes. If everything works perfectly, then there's no reason to object to this ruling.

Of course, with his inside knowledge, perhaps Sinistrum knows that no mistakes are ever made in any US courts. As an outside who isn't even a lawyer I have some doubts about that proposition.

Sinistrum
05-18-2010, 09:58 AM
Plessinger said probation officers have given the men lists of possible locations to look for housing.

From your first link Neil. Furthermore, if they didn't want these types of social stigmas and accompanying problems, they shouldn't have done what they did. Stigma like this is just as much a part of any punishment for a crime as is prison time, and rightfully so. Especially for sex based offenses. Their lives should be difficult, and they should be made to suffer even after release from prison. I guarantee you whatever pain they are going through is a drop in the ocean of pain they inflicted on their victims, most of which will never completely get over what was done to them. If their victims can never be free of the damage done to them, then their victimizers should never be free of the stigma of what they've done.

Well, look at it this way: the Soviet Union also used civil commitments on insanity grounds to keep people locked up indefinitely. And they weren't all that bad either, in hindsight, now were they?

Perhaps this is a solution for the Guantanamo Bay legal black hole too: just declare all the prisoners insane, and then keep them locked up until it can be decided that solitary confinement has made them sane enough to release them.

Good to see you've finally come around to acknowledging that people with your political ideology (communist with terrorist sympathies) are insane. The first step is acknowledging your problem.

Davian93
05-18-2010, 10:04 AM
http://blogs.wsj.com/numbersguy/how-likely-are-sex-offenders-to-repeat-their-crimes-258/

Interesting reading.

BTW, the recidivism rate for all incarerated individuals is about 52%...how does that compare with this aspect of criminals?

I mean, if there's a 1 in 2 chance that any criminal is gonna commit new crimes upon their release, how can we safely release anyone after the completion of their sentence?

Another good link: http://www.vnews.com/sexcrimes/recidivism.htm

From linked article: "Taken as a group, about 14 percent of convicted sex offenders committed new sex crimes over a five-year period and about 20 percent did so over a 10-year period, according to Canadian researcher Karl Hanson's widely cited review of studies involving more than 4,700 offenders. "

1 in 5 over a 10 year period...yeah, I guess that's good enough for unlimited incarceration beyond their sentence.

yks 6nnetu hing
05-18-2010, 10:06 AM
You have an incredible amount of faith that the system works as claimed. I'm cool with what you are saying on paper, but I don't trust a legal system that decides homeless for life (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/06/national/main3797416.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_3797416) is an appropriate punishment. sending them to an island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McNeil_Island) might work out, though.


ah yes, the good old "The differences between theory and practice are much smaller in theory than practice"

in a slightly related bit, I noticed today in the news that there's now a law that says something to the effect of: juveniles can no longer be sentenced to a life imprisonment without parole. linky (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/17/AR2010051703457.html)

GonzoTheGreat
05-18-2010, 10:07 AM
Good to see you've finally come around to acknowledging that people with your political ideology (communist with terrorist sympathies) are insane. The first step is acknowledging your problem.Actually, I'm a social democrat, not a Marxist-Leninist.

Though, admittedly, Tony Blair is also a social democrat, and he did participate in an insane terrorist attack on another country.

Now, are you willing to admit that your own Supreme Court is just as bad as the Soviet Union justice system? If not, then you might want to present proof of the infallibility of US courts.

Sinistrum
05-18-2010, 04:56 PM
1 in 5 over a 10 year period...yeah, I guess that's good enough for unlimited incarceration beyond their sentence.

Except their incarceration has nothing to do with any sentence or crime. I've already pointed this out to you and yet you persist in arguing as if that wasn't the case. This isn't about punishing them further, this is about removing a continuing danger to society based upon their mental state, and its no different than involuntary committal for schizophrenia. But hey, I guess we should let all paranoid delusion types out too, because keeping them under wraps constitutes a "punishment" for their mental disorder and the accompanying dangers they present to others, right?

Neilbert
05-18-2010, 05:35 PM
From your first link Neil.

The idea that probation officers providing a list of possible locations to live is a good enough solution to anything is precisely the reason I have severe reservations about the legal system making these judgement calls.

JSUCamel
05-18-2010, 05:38 PM
This isn't about punishing them further, this is about removing a continuing danger to society based upon their mental state, and its no different than involuntary committal for schizophrenia. But hey, I guess we should let all paranoid delusion types out too, because keeping them under wraps constitutes a "punishment" for their mental disorder and the accompanying dangers they present to others, right?

Well, now you're distorting the definition of a schizophrenic. A schizophrenic, even those institutionalized, aren't necessarily a danger to society. They are primarily institutionalized because of their inability to function in day-to-day society and their inability to distinguish fantasy from reality.

Law.com defines insanity as:

n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.


The primary difference between an institutionalized paranoid schizophrenic and a sex offender is that the sex offender can do the above items. Some cannot distinguish fantasy from reality (and hence their offenses), but there are many people out there who think Pandora is a real place (http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/11/avatar.movie.blues/index.html) or that vampires are real (http://www.vampirewebsite.net/index.html). You don't lock those people up (though I suppose you could argue that we should). Some people are subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior (Tourette's Syndrome, pathological liars), but we don't have to lock them up solely for that reason either, and most of the time, we have no solid reason to do so.

Except their incarceration has nothing to do with any sentence or crime.

Of course their incarceration has to do with a sentence or a crime. It's preposterous to say otherwise: They are in jail because they committed a crime! They were sentenced to a term based on the severity of their crime. And now you (and the Supreme Court) are saying that it's okay to say "Oh, you know what, never mind, we'll just keep you in there indefinitely".

If there's a mental illness component, it should be taken into account at sentencing, not after the offender has been incarcerated and served out his or her sentence. If this person is seriously so deranged that he or she should never be allowed in public again, then that should be taken up at sentencing and they should receive a life sentence. But you shouldn't incarcerate someone, sentence them to 15 years in prison, and then say "Oh, nevermind, we'll just keep you in here forever."

Sinistrum
05-18-2010, 06:11 PM
And now you (and the Supreme Court) are saying that it's okay to say "Oh, you know what, never mind, we'll just keep you in there indefinitely".

Uh no, because they don't end up in prison when they are involuntarily committed. They end up in a mental health facility either run by their State of origin or the Federal government. Its also only indefinite if they continue to present a danger to others with their mental state. This is a direct quote from the actual SCOTUS opinion that outlines the law (legal citations omitted).

If the Government proves its claims by “clear and con-vincing evidence,” the court will order the prisoner’s con-tinued commitment in “the custody of the Attorney General,” who must “make all reasonable efforts to cause” the State where that person was tried, or the State where he is domiciled, to “assume responsibility for his custody, care, and treatment.” If either State is willing to assume that responsibility, the Attorney General “shall release” the individual “to the appropriate official” of that
But if, “notwithstanding such efforts, neither such State will assume such responsibility,” then “the Attorney General shall place the person for treatment in a suitable [federal] facility.”

Confinement in the federal facility will last until either (1) the person’s mental condition improves to the pointwhere he is no longer dangerous (with or without appropriate ongoing treatment), in which case he will be released; or (2) a State assumes responsibility for his custody, care, and treatment, in which case he will be transferred to the custody of that State.

The statute establishes a system for ongoing psychiatricand judicial review of the individual’s case, includingjudicial hearings at the request of the confined person at six-month intervals.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1224.pdf

So, yeah, please try again.

The primary difference between an institutionalized paranoid schizophrenic and a sex offender is that the sex offender can do the above items.

Orly? The following are direct quotes of the evidence introduced during the original State civil commitment hearings that led to the SCOTUS decision that it was permissible for States to civilly commit violent or habitual sex offenders.

Hendricks subsequently requested a jury trial to determine whether he qualified as a sexually violent predator. During that trial, Hendricks' own testimony revealed a chilling history of repeated child sexual molestation and abuse, beginning in 1955 when he exposed his genitals to two young girls. At that time, he pleaded guilty to indecent exposure. Then, in 1957, he was convicted of lewdness involving a young girl and received a brief jail sentence. In 1960, he molested two young boys while he worked for a carnival. After serving two years in prison for that offense, he was paroled, only to be rearrested for molesting a 7-year old girl. Attempts were made to treat him for his sexual deviance, and in 1965 he was considered "safe to be at large," and was discharged from a state psychiatric hospital. App. 139-144.

Shortly thereafter, however, Hendricks sexually assaulted another young boy and girl--he performed oral sex on the 8-year old girl and fondled the 11-year old boy. He was again imprisoned in 1967, but refused to participate in a sex offender treatment program, and thus remained incarcerated until his parole in 1972. Diagnosed as a pedophile, Hendricks entered into, but then abandoned, a treatment program. He testified that despite having received professional help for his pedophilia, he continued to harbor sexual desires for children. Indeed, soon after his 1972 parole, Hendricks began to abuse his own stepdaughter and stepson. He forced the children to engage in sexual activity with him over a period of approximately four years. Then, as noted above, Hendricks was convicted of "taking indecent liberties" with two adolescent boys after he attempted to fondle them. As a result of that conviction, he was once again imprisoned, and was serving that sentence when he reached his conditional release date in September 1994.

Hendricks admitted that he had repeatedly abused children whenever he was not confined. He explained that when he "get[s] stressed out," he "can't control the urge" to molest children. Id., 172. Although Hendricks recognized that his behavior harms children, and he hoped he would not sexually molest children again, he stated that the only sure way he could keep from sexually abusing children in the future was "to die." Id., at 190. Hendricks readily agreed with the state physician's diagnosis that he suffers from pedophilia and that he is not cured of the condition; indeed, he told the physician that "treatment is bull----." Id., at 153, 190.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/95-1649.ZO.html

JSUCamel
05-18-2010, 09:06 PM
So, yeah, please try again.

I don't need to, because I'm not arguing whether it's legal or not -- the Supreme Court just made that decision for me. I'm saying that it's not right to sentence someone to jail for 25 years, then decide that you're not going to release them after all. It's legal, but it's not right.

So, yeah, please try again.

Neilbert
05-18-2010, 09:18 PM
Would you agree though that if these people are likely to re-offend something should be done to prevent it?

Sinistrum
05-18-2010, 09:35 PM
I'm saying that it's not right to sentence someone to jail for 25 years, then decide that you're not going to release them after all.

A. Please get it through your head that they are not being incarcerated in a prison but rather a mental health facility. The two are apples and oranges. They don't just stay in the prison they were in before the scheduled date of their released and for you to pretend otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

B. Please explain to me how, precisely, its not "right" to commit a gentleman like Leroy Hendricks to a mental health facility for however long it takes to convince him that fucking children is not a good idea.

JSUCamel
05-18-2010, 10:01 PM
Would you agree though that if these people are likely to re-offend something should be done to prevent it?

I would, and I would prefer that such preventive measures take place during the sentencing of the criminal.

Please get it through your head that they are not being incarcerated in a prison but rather a mental health facility. The two are apples and oranges. They don't just stay in the prison they were in before the scheduled date of their released and for you to pretend otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

I'm not pretending otherwise. If they're mentally ill, they should be confined to a mental institution in the first place. For someone to serve 25 (or whatever) years in prison, and THEN have someone decide they're mentally incompetent is ridiculous and patently absurd. As I said above, such determinations should be made clear during the trial and sentencing, not after the sentence has been served.

Sinistrum
05-18-2010, 11:39 PM
I'm not pretending otherwise. If they're mentally ill, they should be confined to a mental institution in the first place. For someone to serve 25 (or whatever) years in prison, and THEN have someone decide they're mentally incompetent is ridiculous and patently absurd. As I said above, such determinations should be made clear during the trial and sentencing, not after the sentence has been served.

Except this has never been about mental competence. Someone who gets civilly committed isn't having it done because they are incompetent. They are having it done because they possess a psychological condition that makes them a danger to themselves or others. That condition may or may not render them incompetent, but it doesn't have to. In a lot of cases, it doesn't. Therefore a person could be perfectly competent to stand trial, be found guilty, serve time, and still warrant civil commitment for a psychological disorder they have.

It is clear from the facts that Leroy Hendricks admitted to during his commitment hearing that he understood the nature of what he was doing. He knew it was wrong and knew there were consequences to it for both himself and others, despite his diagnosed psychological disorder. The ability to understand the nature of the wrongs you've done is the very essence of what competence is. Therefore he was not incompetent to stand trial, be found guilty, or serve time for what he did. But none of that changes the fact that he was still a danger to others because of his mental disorder/s, even after serving his time and being released.

GonzoTheGreat
05-19-2010, 04:06 AM
Man, that Hendricks should have become a Roman Catholic priest. If he had, then there wouldn't have been any problem with what he did.

Jokeslayer
05-19-2010, 06:39 AM
Man, that Hendricks should have become a Roman Catholic priest. If he had, then there wouldn't have been any problem with what he did.

Wait, that doesn't sound right.

GonzoTheGreat
05-19-2010, 06:46 AM
Wait, that doesn't sound right.There you go again with your Christian-bashing.

Davian93
05-19-2010, 07:01 AM
Would you agree though that if these people are likely to re-offend something should be done to prevent it?

Statistics show that the rate of recidivism is no different than any other crime (see my previous links). In fact, with treatment, it tends to be lower than the avg non-sexual criminal.

Jokeslayer
05-19-2010, 08:26 AM
There you go again with your Christian-bashing.

Yeah, it's sort of annoying how I never miss an opportunity to do that, don't you think?

Sinistrum
05-19-2010, 09:48 AM
Statistics show that the rate of recidivism is no different than any other crime (see my previous links). In fact, with treatment, it tends to be lower than the avg non-sexual criminal.

SIGH, am I the only one who's bothered to read the actual court opinions at issue here instead of the biased, filtered, and sensationalized media reports on them? Also from Kansas v. Hendricks, the case from which the Federal law at issue here was modeled on.

The Kansas Legislature enacted the Sexually Violent Predator Act (Act) in 1994 to grapple with the problem of managing repeat sexual offenders. [n.1] Although Kansas already had a statute addressing the involuntary commitment of those defined as "mentally ill," the legislature determined that existing civil commitment procedures were inadequate to confront the risks presented by "sexually violent predators." In the Act's preamble, the legislature explained:

"[A] small but extremely dangerous group of sexually violent predators exist who do not have a mental disease or defect that renders them appropriate for involuntary treatment pursuant to the [general involuntary civil commitment statute] . . . . In contrast to persons appropriate for civil commitment under the [general involuntary civil commitment statute], sexually violent predators generally have anti social personality features which are unamenable to existing mental illness treatment modalities and those features render them likely to engage in sexually violent behavior. The legislature further finds that sexually violent predators' likelihood of engaging in repeat acts of predatory sexual violence is high. The existing involuntary commitment procedure . . . is inadequate to address the risk these sexually violent predators pose to society. The legislature further finds that the prognosis for rehabilitating sexually violent predators in a prison setting is poor, the treatment needs of this population are very long term and the treatment modalities for this population are very different than the traditional treatment modalities for people appropriate for commitment under the [general involuntary civil commitment statute]." Kan. Stat. Ann. §59-29a01 (1994).

We are not talking about just locking up anyone who has ever committed a sex offense forever. That is, once again, an intellectually dishonest distortion of the laws on the books and their court interpretations. In essence, laws like this are designed to target that "mere 20%" (if even that much) you keep harping on, and no one else. Furthermore, the law is specifically designed to give these people the treatment you keep harping on.

Davian93
05-19-2010, 10:39 AM
Sini, my concern is that it should be part of the initial sentencing. The offender should be sentenced to something like "15 years confinement and release dependent on completion of a successful mental health evaluation". It shouldn't be an arbitrary process that is suddenly added years later and was not part of the initial sentencing. It seems like it could be easily abused by overzealous DAs and politicians to show they are tough on crime.

L & O actually had a really good episode on this subject a few years back.

Sinistrum
05-19-2010, 11:11 AM
Sini, my concern is that it should be part of the initial sentencing. The offender should be sentenced to something like "15 years confinement and release dependent on completion of a successful mental health evaluation".

The problem with that approach is that it assumes you can determine whether a prisoner is likely to be reformed or has much larger psychological issues before you incarcerate them. I simply don't think that is realistic in a lot of instances. Just look at Mr. Hendricks history. It took multiple incarcerations before it was even thought of to civilly commit him, with the result of one of those being that he was declared reformed. That obviously wasn't the case, and that wasn't discovered until after multiple releases. I think you need time in prison reform programs and counseling for sex offenses before you can make a determination as to someone's continuing danger upon release. It wasn't until Mr. Hendricks went through those things that he formed his opinion that they were "bullshit" and thus his deeper psychological sociopathy was discovered.

It shouldn't be an arbitrary process that is suddenly added years later and was not part of the initial sentencing.

Once again, please explain to me how the process as I've explained it is arbitrary. The sex offenders in these proceedings have a lot of the same rights they do in criminal trials, including the right to counsel, present witnesses, and cross examine state's witnesses. The state has the burden of proof and has to prove three elements by clear and convincing evidence. Furthermore they have an absolute right to judicial and psychiatric review of their cases every six months while they are committed. Hell, Mr. Hendricks was committed by a JURY, not a judge or prosecutor. So yeah, why is this arbitrary again, aside from you simply labeling it so?

Davian93
05-19-2010, 11:30 AM
The problem with that approach is that it assumes you can determine whether a prisoner is likely to be reformed or has much larger psychological issues before you incarcerate them. I simply don't think that is realistic in a lot of instances. Just look at Mr. Hendricks history. It took multiple incarcerations before it was even thought of to civilly commit him, with the result of one of those being that he was declared reformed. That obviously wasn't the case, and that wasn't discovered until after multiple releases.

Solution: Add that caveat to every single sexual crime of that nature (I'm talking pedastry and rape type cases, not urinating in public). Simple enough solution that avoids an after the fact determination.

On Mr. Hendricks and a Jury: A jury of 12 people is not qualified to make a medically based decision like that. 12 of my dumbest, most easily convinced peers is hardly an ideal panel to determine something like this. I'd rather see 3-4 doctors make the decision after an extensive evaluation than see it go back into a jury system. Either way, it should be part of the initial sentencing requirements, not after the fact. "Um, yeah, remember when you took that 5 year plea bargain on the understanding you'd be free in 5 years? Yeah, we changed our mind and you get to go in front of a jury as a convicted sex offender and try and convince them you're healthy." The same general populace that has been so riled up by idiots like Nancy Grace and Foxnews should not be making highly technical medical decisions. A general poll will show that most people think that anywhere from 75-90% of sex offenders will strike again whereas we know its far far lower than that. I wonder how they will rule when given the chance to do so.

Sinistrum
05-19-2010, 03:13 PM
Solution: Add that caveat to every single sexual crime of that nature (I'm talking pedastry and rape type cases, not urinating in public). Simple enough solution that avoids an after the fact determination.

Um except your proposed psych eval is still drawing its conclusions after the fact of their completed jail term. ;) Mandating psych evals for sex predators after their release still means those evals are done after their release date. It is essentially no different than what is being done now, except that you would want to waste a bunch of tax payer resources and doctor/prosecutor time mandating evals for people who may not deserve them instead of just those who have been tipped off as being in that small catagory of dangerous repeat offenders.

On Mr. Hendricks and a Jury: A jury of 12 people is not qualified to make a medically based decision like that. 12 of my dumbest, most easily convinced peers is hardly an ideal panel to determine something like this. I'd rather see 3-4 doctors make the decision after an extensive evaluation than see it go back into a jury system. Either way, it should be part of the initial sentencing requirements, not after the fact. "Um, yeah, remember when you took that 5 year plea bargain on the understanding you'd be free in 5 years? Yeah, we changed our mind and you get to go in front of a jury as a convicted sex offender and try and convince them you're healthy." The same general populace that has been so riled up by idiots like Nancy Grace and Foxnews should not be making highly technical medical decisions. A general poll will show that most people think that anywhere from 75-90% of sex offenders will strike again whereas we know its far far lower than that. I wonder how they will rule when given the chance to do so.

So basically you'd like to see trial by "expert?" I mean after all, if you don't trust juries to make decisions like this, despite the fact that there were hours of expert testimony given to them during Mr. Hendricks committment trial as well as his own self incriminating testimony, I guess they really aren't trustworthy for anything else either. Now that I think of it, I kind of like this idea of trial by expert. After all, who better to be considered experts in criminal law and law enforcement than cops and prosecutors. ;)

Furthermore, I have yet to have it explained to me how this is supposed to be an additional punishment. Its not a criminal proceeding, they aren't incarcerated in a jail, they have an unlimited right to appeal that comes around every six months they are in custody, and they get out as soon as they can demonstrate they are no longer a danger to others, which you certainly can't do in prison. So until you explain why this somehow constitutes additional punishment and thus "busts" plea bargains like the one you used as an example, please stop arguing as if it were one.

Basel Gill
05-19-2010, 03:22 PM
Except their incarceration has nothing to do with any sentence or crime. I've already pointed this out to you and yet you persist in arguing as if that wasn't the case. This isn't about punishing them further, this is about removing a continuing danger to society based upon their mental state, and its no different than involuntary committal for schizophrenia. But hey, I guess we should let all paranoid delusion types out too, because keeping them under wraps constitutes a "punishment" for their mental disorder and the accompanying dangers they present to others, right?



I'm no lawyer, but I have worked mental health for 11 years and participated in numerous civil commitment hearings. No one gets committed for an indefinite period of time anymore. In Alabama, it is 150 days and then there is a new hearing after 150 days is up (if you're even in the hospital that long).

I'd love to see sexual predators beaten to the brink of death and made to live through it to be beaten again, but if we, as a society, are going to impose sentence upon a person that is clearly stated in a statute, then it seems we should stick to that or re-write the statute.

Basel Gill
05-19-2010, 03:26 PM
Of course...I replied without finishing the thread...seems like this was covered, at least in part after...oops

Sinistrum
05-19-2010, 06:22 PM
No one gets committed for an indefinite period of time anymore.

Yup, and no one gets committed for an indefinite period of time under this law without a 180 day review of their case. And that happens every 180 days for as long as they are committed.

I'd love to see sexual predators beaten to the brink of death and made to live through it to be beaten again, but if we, as a society, are going to impose sentence upon a person that is clearly stated in a statute, then it seems we should stick to that or re-write the statute.

Once again, this isn't a criminal statute nor is what is being done a criminal punishment.

Basel Gill
05-19-2010, 07:26 PM
I know Sini...I should have clarified. However, I think part of the difficulty making that distinction is that, as I understand it, this would take effect as soon as a sentence is over. Therefore whether or not we are discussimg civil committment or not, it seems like part of a criminal sentence.

Terez
05-19-2010, 08:10 PM
I agree with Sini. Which is not surprising, looking at how the Justices divided on this.

Davian93
05-20-2010, 06:59 AM
I know Sini...I should have clarified. However, I think part of the difficulty making that distinction is that, as I understand it, this would take effect as soon as a sentence is over. Therefore whether or not we are discussimg civil committment or not, it seems like part of a criminal sentence.

Would they undergo this evaluation/"Civil" committment if they weren't criminally prosecuted for that crime? No, they would not. Saying it is a civil statute is splitting hairs. Making it a part of the initial sentencing if fine...tacking it on after the fact is wrong.

Sinistrum
05-20-2010, 12:11 PM
Would they undergo this evaluation/"Civil" committment if they weren't criminally prosecuted for that crime? No, they would not. Saying it is a civil statute is splitting hairs. Making it a part of the initial sentencing if fine...tacking it on after the fact is wrong.

No they probably wouldn't, but the ONLY reason for that is that it is unlikely we would know these people had problems like this requiring civil commitment if not for the fact that they got caught by the criminal justice system for it. Its not like most sex offenders just announce on a street corner "hey everyone! I like to fuck kids!" Just because the justice system has been helpful in identifying people who fall under this law doesn't mean it is an extension of the criminal justice system.

Furthermore, I will make the same challenge of you that I asked Camel, and have yet to get a response on. Please explain to me why it was wrong for Leroy Hendricks to be civilly committed.

Ivhon
05-20-2010, 01:00 PM
Except this has never been about mental competence. Someone who gets civilly committed isn't having it done because they are incompetent. They are having it done because they possess a psychological condition that makes them a danger to themselves or others. That condition may or may not render them incompetent, but it doesn't have to. In a lot of cases, it doesn't. Therefore a person could be perfectly competent to stand trial, be found guilty, serve time, and still warrant civil commitment for a psychological disorder they have.

It is clear from the facts that Leroy Hendricks admitted to during his commitment hearing that he understood the nature of what he was doing. He knew it was wrong and knew there were consequences to it for both himself and others, despite his diagnosed psychological disorder. The ability to understand the nature of the wrongs you've done is the very essence of what competence is. Therefore he was not incompetent to stand trial, be found guilty, or serve time for what he did. But none of that changes the fact that he was still a danger to others because of his mental disorder/s, even after serving his time and being released.

I'll bite. At the time of sentencing, why not either mandate that commitment for psychological treatment be served either concurrently or consecutively?

I think the issue that most are having with this is that the sentence is served AND THEN we go and tack on more.

If it is assumed that the people we are talking about are mentally ill, then they need help to prevent them from injuring themselves or others. Once they have injured others, they lose the right to refuse help (generally speaking, IMO).

However, it seems a patent waste of time, resources and life to sentence someone to 15 years (or whatever) and not do a THING for them in that time and then "sentence" them again to get the treatment they might have gotten while otherwise lolligagging in prison.

pops taer
05-20-2010, 01:06 PM
Hmmm. I notice way back that you were coming down on the U.S. Justice System as being imperfect!! Yep, beyond the shadow of a doubt, you are correct. No argument from me at all on that point. I am no attorney and haven't studied law in any manner. How-some-ever!!!! I challenge you in this way!!! Prove to me that your country has the perfect justice system. Can ye do that for this ole rednecked country boy that still believes in the "HANG-EM HIGH" rule???? I mean seriously you rascal you can you admit to "Imperfection?"

Oh and by the way Sini, I understand where you are coming from on the crime/no crime thing concerning the after the fact evaluations. Don't those evaluations normally go on during incarceration? I don't know but it seems they should be.

Sinistrum
05-20-2010, 01:37 PM
At the time of sentencing, why not either mandate that commitment for psychological treatment be served either concurrently or consecutively?

If it is assumed that the people we are talking about are mentally ill, then they need help to prevent them from injuring themselves or others.

I'll ask the same question I asked Davian. How do we know they need treatment outside of rehabilitative efforts in prision (for an example see Leroy Hendricks incarceration history) until after they've served their sentence?

However, it seems a patent waste of time, resources and life to sentence someone to 15 years (or whatever) and not do a THING for them in that time and then "sentence" them again to get the treatment they might have gotten while otherwise lolligagging in prison.

But these types of things are being done (once again, refer to Leroy Hendricks). They didn't work in his case. How will we know if they don't work or not in others, thereby requiring further treatment/commitment unless we wait and see if they have an affect? The only way to do that is to let a person's sentence be carried out first.

Oh and by the way Sini, I understand where you are coming from on the crime/no crime thing concerning the after the fact evaluations. Don't those evaluations normally go on during incarceration? I don't know but it seems they should be.

Yes they are. That is how most of the evidence in subsequent civil commitment hearings is gathered. My point is that those evaluations don't become conclusive about a persons reformation or continued threat to others until the date of release so there is no practical or logical way to use them until after a sex offender's sentence is complete.

Basel Gill
05-20-2010, 02:00 PM
I'm really NOT trying to be argumentative here, but it also SEEMS that treating sex crimes in this way would set precedent for future offenders in that they could now call it a disease instead of a crime.

In civil committments, you have to have an Axis I mental illness diagnosis AND be shown to be an immenent danger to self or others AND not able to make a rational and informed decision about whether treatment would be helpful, etc. Sexual issues are present in the DSM IV T.R., but are not classified as Axis I disorders.

In other words, I would hate for some schmuck to be able to offer a defense about screwing 3 year olds as "I have a disease." Maybe I'm stretching here, but without a thorough knowledge of the law and a propensity to spout off about anything and everything, I just can't help myself...

Sinistrum
05-20-2010, 02:43 PM
In other words, I would hate for some schmuck to be able to offer a defense about screwing 3 year olds as "I have a disease." Maybe I'm stretching here, but without a thorough knowledge of the law and a propensity to spout off about anything and everything, I just can't help myself...

Here's the thing about the insanity defense. In order to successfully plead it, a person must not have any knowledge of the nature of his actions (ie that they are wrong and the accompanying consequences too them). This is an extremely high legal standard to meet. So the "I have a disease" argument wouldn't work for most sex offenders because most of them, like Mr. Hendricks, know that their conduct is wrong.

StrangePackage
05-21-2010, 02:37 PM
Wow. A whole thread of people have missed this boat. To be fair, I missed the boat as well on this until I looked at the Majority/Minority in both Hendricks and Comstock, and figured out what was actually going on.

The Court didn't say it was right to detain someone indefinitely. They didn't say whether the safeguards in this case were sufficient to satisfy due process. They didn't touch on any of the issues everyone here is so worked up over.

The Court simply says that Congress has the authority to create laws to govern such scenarios under the "Necessary and Proper" clause of Article I, Section viii. The court found it to be rationally related to an existing, enumerated power of the Congress, sufficiently narrowly tailored and touching upon a compelling government interest that the federal government has already been involved in.

Go back and check the Majority/Minority in this case versus Hendricks. You'll see that Scalia and Thomas were perfectly alright with this same type of law when applied by Kansas (and, all due credit to Kansas, but they're a bunch of fucking morons who wanted to teach Intelligent Design as a scientific theory, so you can see how much faith we should all have in their ability to execute law), but it was only when such a power was exercised by the FEDERAL government that they found a reason to object to it.

Likewise, Breyer, Stevens, Souter and Ginsberg all would have ruled the Kansas law in Hendricks unconstitutional. However, when the question was not "should we do it?" but merely "can we do it?" as applied to the Federal Government; the answer was "Yes, we can."

Sinistrum
05-21-2010, 02:52 PM
Yeah but nobody besides perhaps you and me wants to talk about the technical constitutional aspects to Comstock. ;)

StrangePackage
05-21-2010, 03:02 PM
Well, yeah, I guess. Still, it seems like people should worry about what the Court is actually doing, instead of what the Court could be perceived to be doing.

Given how skewed to the conservative side of the spectrum the Court is, it seems unlikely the precepts of Hendricks would be overturned.

nameless
05-24-2010, 05:14 AM
I'm really NOT trying to be argumentative here, but it also SEEMS that treating sex crimes in this way would set precedent for future offenders in that they could now call it a disease instead of a crime.

In civil committments, you have to have an Axis I mental illness diagnosis AND be shown to be an immenent danger to self or others AND not able to make a rational and informed decision about whether treatment would be helpful, etc. Sexual issues are present in the DSM IV T.R., but are not classified as Axis I disorders.

In other words, I would hate for some schmuck to be able to offer a defense about screwing 3 year olds as "I have a disease." Maybe I'm stretching here, but without a thorough knowledge of the law and a propensity to spout off about anything and everything, I just can't help myself...

None of this is really relevant, thought, because the legal test of insanity, ie "unable to determine right from wrong," is centuries behind the definitions used in medical science. Most states that had more up-to-date insanity plea laws scrapped them during the uproar after Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity for trying to kill Reagan. Maybe your hypothetical shmuck is right and he really does have a disease and really can't control himself, but that's not enough to get him off the hook. It would, however, be enough to get him put into a padded cell after he's served his sentence, which seems to be the crux of the whole debate here.

JSUCamel
05-24-2010, 06:53 AM
In other words, I would hate for some schmuck to be able to offer a defense about screwing 3 year olds as "I have a disease." Maybe I'm stretching here, but without a thorough knowledge of the law and a propensity to spout off about anything and everything, I just can't help myself...

Agreed. That would be horrible -- though don't they already make that argument?

In other news, I've changed my mind about this ruling. Strange Package managed to explain what the ruling meant and what it was that I was misunderstanding about the whole thing (you know, as opposed to being a condescending elitist f*ck quoting a legal case and then acting like I'm a moron for not knowing what the legal case is and why it's relevant). So kudos for SP for knowing how to take a legal case and put it in layman's terms without coming off like an asshole.

Davian93
05-24-2010, 07:22 AM
Sini keeps bringing up Kansas v. Hendricks to support his argument. So, being bored, I looked that case up finally. Kansas v. Hendricks was such an absolute precedent that it had a solid 5-4 backing and, ironically, the opinion was written by Thomas to support Hendricks continued confinement on the civil statute. The Kansas Supreme Court had declared the civil statue unconstitutional and that's why it had been appealed by the STate of Kansas to SCOTUS. Hardly the best example of a settled law.

Using a civil statute to prolong a criminal confinement is a gray area at best...even if it feels like the right thing to do for "safety of our children".

Sinistrum
05-24-2010, 09:27 AM
you know, as opposed to being a condescending elitist f*ck quoting a legal case and then acting like I'm a moron for not knowing what the legal case is and why it's relevant

No, being initially ignorant of Hendricks isn't why you're a moron. You're a moron for continuing to argue as if the case didn't exist, even after I explained it to you in as simple of terms as possible. You're also a moron because you utterly failing to answer an extremely simply question I posed to you about this issue based upon the case.

Sini keeps bringing up Kansas v. Hendricks to support his argument. So, being bored, I looked that case up finally. Kansas v. Hendricks was such an absolute precedent that it had a solid 5-4 backing and, ironically, the opinion was written by Thomas to support Hendricks continued confinement on the civil statute. The Kansas Supreme Court had declared the civil statue unconstitutional and that's why it had been appealed by the STate of Kansas to SCOTUS. Hardly the best example of a settled law.

Except the decision in Comstock was 7-2, with all the justices remaining on the Court who opposed Hendricks back when it was decided voting in favor of the federal law.