Skip to comments.[Mentally Ill] Sexually dangerous can be kept in prison, Supreme Court rules
Posted on 05/17/2010 12:33:30 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW
WASHINGTON The Supreme Court ruled Monday that federal officials can indefinitely hold inmates considered sexually dangerous after their prison terms are complete.
The high court reversed a lower court decision that said Congress overstepped its authority in allowing indefinite detentions of considered sexually dangerous.
The statute is a necessary and proper means of exercising the federal authority that permits Congress to create federal criminal laws, to punish their violation, to imprison violators, to provide appropriately for those imprisoned and to maintain the security of those who are not imprisoned by who may be affected by the federal imprisonment of others, said Justice Stephen Breyer, writing the majority opinion.
(Excerpt) Read more at toledoblade.com ...
Maybe they should have been executed to start with?
Can’t wait till they apply this to “Rightwing Domestic Terrorists and Anarchists”.
Where is that in the Constitution?
“I agree with that. But if someone is being held in a prison past their sentence, I think that may be a Constitutional problem.”
Apparently only Justices Scalia and Thomas agree wit you. (well and me of course)
Correct, after sentencing it’s too late to get a “do over”. Either prosecute and convict or put them on par with all other offenders.
This country won’t even hold enemy combatants at gitmo and we’ve SEEN them going back to battle as jihadists.
“Maybe they should have been executed to start with?”
Indeed. Basically not rehabilitatable. Is that a word?
As usual, I make my statement, I am talking about forcible rapists and child molesters, NOT people who urinate in public or are statutory rapists.
Yes it is. And it can so easily be used for “other”purposes.
The ACLU will be all over this.
“May commit,” is way too low a bar for my taste.
Yep. Roberts failed.
Yep, it’s Pre-Crime incarceration.
Abhorrent as some of the perps are, this is not the process the US uses to deal with criminals.
A visit to Jamestown, Virginia reveals that our forefathers considered incarceration for more than one year to be cruel and unusual punishment ... meaning that those deserving more than one year were mercifully hung.
Maybe they should be.
I am all in favor of the those convicted of these types of crime to be in prison as long as possible. I do not agree with longer than sentenced though - the states need to come up with a law that makes other arrangements when a prison term is completed as part of a sentence.
Surprisingly, I haven’t found one article mentioning them, or a press release.
then why is Bill Clinton running around here campaigning for Mark Critz?
This is simply astonishing.
This is so obviously unconstitutional it makes my head swim.
we no longer live in a free country ladies and gentlemen.
Hardly any need to point out what an extremely dangerous precedent this is. You either have free trials and equality in front of the law or you have totalitarian rule. There is no in-between. There may be a long way from “federal offical” to “party commissar” but every journey begins with a first step.
This decision is as bad and frightening as the eminent domain decision. According to this court, it is now constitutional to arrest someone for a crime, get them to plea bargain a “lesser sentence” (which is often done if someone simply does not have the means to put up a good fight and considers they risk being found guilty of a more serious crime even if they are innocent), and then once they are in the big house, incarcerate them indefinitely.
The crime for which they are being held is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the SCOTUS has made it constitutional to hold a convicted criminal beyond the time for which they are sentenced. That smacks of the old Soviet Union.
Lately, a lot of things around the US do.
Article I, Section 9.2
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
I find that odd also.. We will see huh?
The fun will begin when the designation “sexual” is removed eventually.
We could really do with a re-edit of the Constitution, it’s been getting smaller for decades now.
The (Supreme) Court observed that"[t]he writ of habeas corpus is one of the centerpieces of our liberties. `But the writ has potentialities for evil as well as for good. Abuse of the writ may undermine the orderly administration of justice and therefore weaken the forces of authority that are essential for civilization.' " McCleskey, 499 U.S. at 496 (quoting Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443, 512 (1952) (opinion of Frankfurter, J.))
When I first saw this, that hadn’t even occurred to me. The more one examines this ruling, the more frightening it becomes.
Well, Bush authorised civil detention of inmates deemed to dangerous to release. This goes beyond that.
But only Thomas and Scalia dissented? Seven to Two.
But we’ll release jihadis so they can continue their jihad.
Yeah.Isn't that scary. What the heck are Roberts and Alito thinking? Reacting to the emotion of the subject rather than the Constitution?
But well release jihadis so they can continue their jihad.
The dichotomy of that is astounding.
It’s amazing how long the assault on liberty has been underway and many of us (self included) are just waking up to it.
I read Frankfurter’s opinion is “habeas corpus is important but if it gets in the way of what we statists want to do then not so much.”
To me it seems clear that if we aren’t dealing with rebellion or invasion then there is no suspension - period. So Lincoln got away with it during the Civil War (rebellion, arguably) but I don’t see how this applies just because folks like to get hysterical.
But hey I’m not one of those genius Harvard Law grads like Obama so what do I know - I can only read the plain language and intent of the founders.
What were the facts of the case in Brown vs. Allen?
I don't know. I always thought habeas corpus was written in stone.
Scroll down just a little.
It seems as dangerously mentally ill is a major factor here.
It seems to me that continued incarceration in a facility designed for corrections would constitute a form of punishment, not simply a protective detention. How can continue to be punished once his judically-imposed sentence has been served?
Imagine the Associated Press leaving out the part about “dangerously mentally ill”. I saw that nowhere in the article. Did you?
Federal law allows a district court to order the civil commitment of a mentally ill, sexually dangerous federal prisoner beyond the date he would otherwise be released.
Some of this is that the courts a few years back held that states could civil commit ie hold “dangerous” people after they served their sentence. Really it is mentally ill not dangerous.
Odd that Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion in Kansas v. Hendricks that allowed states to hold people after their sentences were up?
Scalia and Thomas voted for state civil commitment while Breyer, Stevens and Ginsburg voted against it. So I guess 5 Justices changed sides on this vote? Weird.
It is weird that they changed their minds. But it’s in character that the AP left out some pertinent info!
We have a winner.
Btw, THANK YOU for finding that!
Certainly Ginsburg, Breyer and Stevens can argue that precident requires they uphold this law even though they voted against the precident when the court originally decided it. I guess Scalia and Thomas can make some states rights argument that they see the states but not the federal government having this power. And certainly neither side would say they changed their minds.
“Scalia and Thomas voted for state civil commitment while Breyer, Stevens and Ginsburg voted against it. So I guess 5 Justices changed sides on this vote? Weird.”
The issue in Kansas v Hendricks (1997) was whether government at the state level has the right to civilly commit sexual predators. 5 conservatives said yes and 4 liberals said no. Today’s 7-2 decision said the federal government has the same civil commitment right as the state governments when federal inmates are concerned. Too much hyperventilating about this one in my opinion. Here are the opinions:
Here are the opinions:
Breyer, Kennedy, Alito, and Thomas in that order.
I laughed when I read that. I guess because it's true.
I worry a bit about both decisions. I am shocked the left is not outraged. Among the mentally ill offenders you might continue in civil commitment are:
1. homosexuals as homosexuality until quite recently was viewed as a mental disease.
2. sexually active unmarried women who until recently were at times viewed as mentally ill.
3. fundamentalist female genital mutilators all of whom could be viewed mentally ill and certainly likely to offend if they have other female children.
4. and if the left has their way Christains who according to some on the left suffer from a mental illness.
Did you see anywhere in the article by the AP the words "mentally ill"? Neither did we. PeteCat found the decision and I asked the Mod to add "Mentally Ill" to the title. Those two words changes things considerably.
Right and if the 3 are just following precident and the two are distinguishing what a state can do from what the federal government can do, I guess none of them necessarily has changed their minds. That is they might each still vote the same way as they did in 1997 if the case were reheard today.
For Scalia and Thomas is State vs. Federal a defining point?
Yeah when I was typing, I wondered if Scalia and Thomas would vote to hold many federal criminal statutes as unconstitutional because criminal law is the province of the state government not the federal government. For example perhaps they believe federal hate crimes legislation is beyond the constitutional powers of Congress?
“I worry a bit about both decisions.”
So do I, but I think that Kansas v Hendricks causes me more disquiet.
If the sexual offenses were committed due to a mental illness than were the original criminal convictions mistaken? Perhaps the defendants should have been found not guilty due to insanity.
I’d feel better about a 5 years to life sentence for these offenses that wouldn’t require government to use civil commitment to control a problem of criminal behavior.