SCOTUS approves new law to hold sex offenders indefinitely

Posted on May 19th, 2010 No Comments

The United States Supreme Court on Monday announced in a ruling a new law that allows the federal government to hold convicted sex offenders indefinitely after they have served their sentences if they are expected to be “sexually dangerous” following release.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the majority opinion, “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 Clarence Thomas, in his dissenting ruling, wrote that nothing in the constitution “expressly delegates to Congress the power to enact a civil commitment regime for sexually dangerous persons, nor does any other provision in the Constitution vest Congress or the other branches of the federal government with such a power.”

The Texas judiciary approved a measure similar to this for the state prior to this, but this ruling allows the federal government to fill in any “gaps” in state holding procedures.

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