Date: June 17, 2015
“A federal judge Wednesday ruled it’s unconstitutional for Minnesota to keep civilly committed sex offenders locked up indefinitely, setting the stage for major changes to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
“The stark reality is that there is something very wrong with this state’s method of dealing with sex offenders,” wrote U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank.
Observers, though, said the ruling repudiates the way the state treats civilly committed sex offenders.
“It’s a sweeping condemnation of this program,” said William Mitchell College of Law Dean Eric Janus, who sits on the state’s sex offender civil commitment advisory task force.
More than 700 civilly committed sex offenders had sued the state claiming it was unconstitutional to keep them locked up indefinitely and that they don’t get adequate treatment from the program run by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Dan Gustafson, a lawyer representing committed sex offenders, applauded the federal ruling, saying it “reaffirms that all people, no matter how disliked they are … are entitled to constitutional protection.”
Over time, Frank has reprimanded the Minnesota Legislature, saying lawmakers had to do something about a program he called “draconian” and in need of “substantial changes.”
“This judge has sent a number of clear signals over the last several years about his concern for the constitutionality of this program,” Janus said on MPR News Wednesday.
“It’s clear that the evidence he heard at this trial confirmed his very clear concerns about the program.””
There are some interesting audio commentaries provided with this article.
Nothing surprising here…the judge says it’s unconstitutional…and politicians continue to behave like politicians…sticking fingers in their ears, while going “La La La La La!”…and not wanting to deal with it.
…We shall see what comes of this.
Of course, it is unconstitutional…and just because Lucinda Jesson claims it’s not, because “the facility is nicer than prison”, and “it is treatment”, does not make it any less false imprisonment…She is just dancing around semantics, and denying the obvious.
Also of note, is the fact that these facilities are said to have serious inconsistencies, in who gets sent to them and how their cases are treated.