Civil Commitment Laws Against Sex Offender Struck Down by U.S. District Court Judge W. Earl Britt

 

If one ever wonders why we continuously read about child predator and sexual assault stories like Jessica Lunsford or in the above post where a six your old girl, Hannah Mack, we need to look no further than how our courts refuse to protect the most innocent among us. Why do we let these people walk among us when we know they are dangers to society?

Federal prison officials have moved to prevent the release of five men at a facility in North Carolina, arguing that the men fit the category of “sexually dangerous.”

U.S. District Court Judge W. Earl Britt ruled that the US government cannot keep sex offenders in custody beyond the end of their prison sentences striking down a law (Civil Commitment) aimed at holding some in mental hospitals. It is appalling that the rights of the sexual predator are protected more than the rights of the innocent. Maybe judges need to be held accountable when these low lifes re-offend.

Civil commitment is unconstitutional because the federal government cannot hold a person indefinitely out of fear that the individual will commit a crime in the future, Britt said in his ruling. To do so, he wrote, the government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is “sexually dangerous” to commit them indefinitely.

Even then, Britt wrote in the order filed Sept. 7, “there is serious question as to whether the federal government could ever prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual is both suffering from a mental illness or abnormality such as pedophilia and unlikely to refrain from sexually violent conduct in the future as a result of that illness.”



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  • Comments

    26 Responses to “Civil Commitment Laws Against Sex Offender Struck Down by U.S. District Court Judge W. Earl Britt”

    1. Stephen Colben on September 13th, 2007 1:39 pm

      Allowing people that have completely served their sentence to go free!!!!! How dare they!!!!

      LOL-Morons.

    2. Mike on September 13th, 2007 2:05 pm

      Tell ya what Stephen, we’ll let them move in right next to you.

      Haven’t you figured out yet that these animals are dangerous? Would you let a rabid dog loose?

      You obviously don’t place much value on kids do you?

    3. Miss-Underestimated on September 13th, 2007 2:43 pm

      I think we should petition the courts to have these predators released in a half way house located next to where the judges or the judges grandchildren live.

      Blood on the hands of the ones who fail to protect the children

    4. Stephen Colben on September 13th, 2007 2:51 pm

      Breaking the law, is breaking the law.

      Not allowing prisoners to go free after they have served their sentence is unlawful. The same way molesting little kids is.

    5. Jerry from Ohio on September 13th, 2007 3:38 pm

      Isn’t this Steven #1 and #4 the same person that was so disrespectful and obnoxious about the 9/11 attack day celebration ?
      If so he must have just found the SM website and is just trying to start troll problems he has a right to speak (Unless R chooses not to allow him too ) but maybe if we just ignore his slanted views of the world maybe he will get tired and go play on another Blog where more people feel as he does ie: like move on .org ect
      Jerry from Ohio

    6. Mike on September 13th, 2007 3:45 pm

      How can you even equate the two?

      You honestly feel that keeping dangerous sex offenders off the streets is the same as molesting children?

      How does one get a thought process like that?

      I say civil commitments are a great idea until the law jails these animals for good.

    7. Miss-Underestimated on September 13th, 2007 3:47 pm

      So, Steve, should we let out child molesters rather than protect children?

      They are not redeemable, the best at their craft of enticing children admit so….

      Throwing the baby out with the bath water, so true

    8. Mike on September 13th, 2007 3:49 pm

      How do you even equate the two?

      Keeping dangerous sex offenders off the street isn’t the same as molesting children.

      Until stiffer sentences are enforced you have to commit these animals to protect society i.e the kids.

    9. Miss-Underestimated on September 13th, 2007 3:50 pm

      Just a little about unlawful,,,,and our systems way of dealing with it.

      It is unlawful to steal a person’s identity and work in this country illegally too and their too our country refuses to protect the true victims of this crime.

    10. Stephen Colben on September 13th, 2007 4:41 pm

      Maybe the reason your are so “miss-underestimated” is because people have a hard time understanding your sentences…

      “It is unlawful to steal a person’s identity and work in this country illegally too and their too our country refuses to protect the true victims of this crime” LOL

      Talk about a crime…where is the grammar police??????

      ——————————————————————————————————–

      All I am saying is that there are reasons a particular person has received (X) amount of days in jail…unless this suggested “hospital/jail extension” is given to the criminal at his/her sentencing.

      I am all for heavily monitoring these repeated offenders…but you can’t just tack on an extra sentence because the original prison sentence wasn’t long enough.

    11. Mike on September 13th, 2007 4:56 pm

      So even if you know that this animal will rape another child you say do nothing?

      This ruling will be overturned…their is no way the Supreme Court will allow these offenders free roam.

      Techinally they are not in prison anyway….if we can commit for mental issues why not criminal ones when we know the offender will molest again?

    12. dennisintn on September 13th, 2007 6:04 pm

      #4, if you can’t tell the difference between trying to keep pedophiles in jail under any circumstances and the act of hurting a child, you are one sick little puppy. seek some help while you can.
      dennisintn

    13. Trevor Wayne on September 13th, 2007 6:48 pm

      I am surprised by the critical content of this posting, where our justice system is being attacked. Reading the posts of the lasts 2 years, you would think this could only happen in Aruba.

    14. Mike on September 13th, 2007 7:16 pm

      Trevor,

      I attack any breakdowns in justice anywhere wrong is wrong plain and simple.

      Aruba is even worst they don’t want to do anything but cover their asses. They haven’t even attempted to bring justice to Natalee and her family.

    15. Miss-Underestimated on September 13th, 2007 9:24 pm

      Stevey

      Lot’s of books smarts, huh?

      Too bad you lack common sense.

      Speaking of police, are they still looking for you?

    16. Patti on September 14th, 2007 12:10 am

      Quote:

      Civil commitment is unconstitutional because the federal government cannot hold a person indefinitely out of fear that the individual will commit a crime in the future, Britt said in his ruling. To do so, he wrote, the government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is “sexually dangerous” to commit them indefinitely.

      Even then, Britt wrote in the order filed Sept. 7, “there is serious question as to whether the federal government could ever prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual is both suffering from a mental illness or abnormality such as pedophilia and unlikely to refrain from sexually violent conduct in the future
      __________________________________________________

      This was argued and passed by the Supreme Court resulting in what is most commonly known as the “three strikes rule”. And it was deemed constitutional.

      The Civil Commitment is the Federal Governments attempt to keep people that are deemed “predators” behind bars based on the possibility that the person will re-offend. It is a good law and one that will safeguard our nation against the most heinous of criminals. I believe that this ruling will be reversed, or over-ruled, just as Ms. U said.

      The point that many people don’t get is that the constitution is there to protect our civil liberties… the right to the persuit of happiness. Surely, the child molestor has a constitutional right to be happy, but does his happiness interfere with the rights of others, or is it likely that it will interfere with the happiness of others. To all of us, it is a no brainer and it should be to the Supreme Court, as well.

      The fact that these are child molestors, in particular, make this a case that the constituents could build upon. The law has provisions for the helpless that is called the Federal disabilities act. Where it is illegal to discriminate against, or to interfere with their civil liberties – their persuit of happiness. Where the law falls short is that it does nothing to protect the most helpless of us all… the children. I believe, that there should be Federal Legislation that addresses this problem. We are a nation that was founded on the principal that all men are created equal, and, yet, our children are being killed at an alarming rate. We are at war, as a nation; and it is disgraceful that our Federal government has done nothing to protect the civil rights of the weakest of their citizens; the ones on the front line, right here at home, our children.

    17. Patti on September 14th, 2007 12:57 am

      Addition:

      It has been and can be scientifically proven that pedophilia is a progressive disease. It is, readily, admitted by all that their fantasies expand as they are not totally sexually satisfied. And it has also been proven that their illness usually progesses toward violence.

      There are pedophiles in jail that are begging to be kept there because they know that if they are released they are going to kill someone. We are not talking about something that you, simply, take a pill for and it goes away. We haven’t got a cure, there is nothing they can do, nor that we can do to help them.

      Case and point – Wesley Dodd – one of the few that publicly declared the severity of his illness and willingly allowed the State of Washington to hang him, refusing to exercise his right to appeal the death penalty.

      May he rest in peace.

      The Supreme Court is going to have to decide. The fact that they want these men kept in a mental facility is a good indication of where they are going with their argument and I think we all can agree that it’s a good one.

    18. Mike on September 14th, 2007 8:45 am

      “May he rest in peace”

      More like may he rot in hell.

      He murdered children…IMO he deserves no peace at all.

      I do agree with the rest of you statements Patti.

    19. Stephen Colben on September 14th, 2007 9:38 am

      If by “book smarts” you mean that I paid attention in grade/high school…then yes, I have “book smarts”… You don’t need to be a college graduate in order to produce a properly structured and coherent sentence…I am pretty sure it is taught in 3rd or 4th grade.

      LOL-police looking for me??? If there are any police looking for me, it more than likely one of my co-workers looking to bum some lunch money.

      Hate to be the one to break it to you people, but even criminals have rights, they are not dogs, they are US citizens. And here in the United States we tend to follow the letter of the law. If you don’t like it, you are free to leave…I recommend a fascist regime, that way you will never get homesick.

    20. Patti on September 14th, 2007 11:39 am

      Sorry Mike…

      PBS did a documentary on Wesley Allen Dodd that would be very beneficial for anyone that is debating this issue in their mind. It was one of the best I’d ever seen done on a criminal.

      It would be a good exhibit to use before the Supreme Court.

    21. Patti on September 14th, 2007 12:19 pm

      Mr. Colben:

      I hate to break it to you, but anyone that would torture and kill a child should feel exhulted in being called a dog. Even dogs have more sense.

      This site is dedicated to helping the families of the missing and exploited. I suppose that you are educated enough to realize that we are also advocates for victims of crime… especially crimes against children. Clearly, what is being discussed here is how the letter of the law can be changed to protect the most innocent among us.

      We’re not here to argue, but rather to exchange ideas and find solutions. The depth of ones education is not what is important on this site, but, rather the depth of their compassion. Besides, this is not some essay class… this is a blog.

      Miss Underestimated is one of the most nicest people we have here and for you to attack her because of a spelling error or whatever the h it was is not only uncaring but extremely childish… something we learned not to do in kindergarten.

      What’s wrong with you, anyway? Do you think that if you come here, we can change the politics of this nation? Do you think that if you come here, we can stop the war in Iraq? I’ve read your posts and their good ones, a little on the argumentative side, but good. Were they appropiate? No. You don’t go to a memorial and start bashing the dead.

      Look… you’re a smart guy. Go argue with the people that like to argue and let us have our peace. We aren’t fascist anymore than you are, we just have a different agenda, that’s all. We believe in supporting one another and accepting eachother’s differences. Not all of us are Republican, and even if we were, we wouldn’t like being called, “YOU PEOPLE”

      With us it’s, “We, the People.”

    22. Mike on September 14th, 2007 1:24 pm

      If valueing the rights of innocent children over the rights of convicted sex offenders who still have urges to attack more children is facism then I guess I’m a facist.

      There’s only two ways to go here, your either for the criminals on this one or for their victims and future victims. I choose the innocents side.

    23. Stephen Colben on September 14th, 2007 4:49 pm

      Ok, you are right, I did get on the defensive there, and I shouldn’t have taken it out on Miss-underestimated-I apologize.

      Theoretically, we can change policy through the communication and the exchanging of ideas. I will refrain from personal attacks, and interject a more straightforward release of constructive thoughts.

      In regards to this topic, I am all for tightening the leash on repeated sexual offenders, but that should be done during the sentencing process, not AFTER they have served their sentence.

    24. Hershel Meadows on September 18th, 2007 10:39 am

      Sexual abuse of children has been going on for hundreds of years. It seems that in the last 2 decades, lawmakers began to seriously address the issue and enacted these civil commitment laws. I feel they are unconstitutional. Commitment to a mental hospital isn’t a new thing. If you’ve threatened to harm yourself or others the police will transport you to a mental hospital. Its the ‘he MIGHT do it again’ and so we better lock him up that bothers me. These sex offenders AREN’T sent to mental hospitals…they’re sent to prisons that have been renamed as a mental institution. It is portrayed to the public as a protection for the children…but the majority of sex offenders didn’t offend against children. According to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, sex offenders have the 2nd lowest rate recidivism…murderers have the lowest.

    25. anon on October 4th, 2007 11:01 pm

      I am a innocent convicted SOR we are pressured into taking pleades these laws are violating my civil rights.

      I havnt had one speeding ticket in 7 yrs since my flase convictions.

      I was guilty from day 1 under the court eyes these laws are unfair they need to be taken off.

      I cant go to school or get a job.

      Most commit suicide I struggle with it daily.

      I cant have kids thell take them away.

      You people need to stop trying to make laws to kill me

      I never did anything and i served my innocent jail time.

      leave us alone your the sickos

    26. johnnathan on January 13th, 2008 1:40 am

      The law is the law, if the courts and jailers want to civilly commit someone for sex crimes, then the courts should do so in lieu of giving them a sentence to serve. That is double jeapordy. Whats next, the jail feels a drug addict or dealer will offend so they get locked up indefinately ? then what ? the fact is that we have a legal framework called a constitution and it garuntees protection for all. (all people are created equal) not just for some or more for one than another. If the courts want to sentence someone for the comission of a crime, fine , commit them in lieu of prison so maybe they do get better rather than being criminalized in prison, fine. but both ? no way. kids have just as much a right not to be harmed as a criminal has a right to fair and due process of law. the minute we forget that, is the minute we become like the countries who arent so lucky and where civil rights are few.

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