While it was legislatively devised to hold sex offenders, deemed dangerous by legislative terms, in a facility until they are no longer deemed dangerous to the community, and that facility provides treatment to reduce the possibility of recidivism when released back into the community; reality is otherwise!
In reality, the overwhelming majority of these folks are held for the rest of their lives as virtually none have been released todate (Iowa 2010 report) (Minnesota 2013 report) from the centers that hold them. In addition, there have been a few cases where folks convicted of other crimes have also been committed even though they have no sex crime in their history; appeal courts have upheld these commitments.
There is no doubt AWA is the worst piece of legislation, EVER and HARMFUL, to ever come out of Congress. But here we need to address one small part of it which pertains to crossing state lines and not registering in the new state (Note: This applies only to State Registration, and not local registries).
§ 2250. Failure to register
This section is a jurisdictional HOOK, in other words, built into AWA this provision can cause a person to be prosecuted in FEDERAL court, rather than state court. Why is that especially bad? First, if the state was to prosecute the person they would likely receive a shorter sentence, than they will in federal court. And secondly, the worst possible scenario, they may end up in civil commitment. Please read the following section:
Within the Adam Walsh Act we find the following:
So lets get technical, who would be "in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons," the answer is, anyone who received a sentence in a federal court. Reading the rest of what is highlighted above, it says, that person MAY BE DEEMED "Sexually Dangerous" and a civil commitment hearing will be held.
Such a person will be held until a hearing is held to determine if they are or aren't a "sexually dangerous" person. It could take years for such a hearing to be held, and there are many being held years now awaiting their hearings. These folks may spend the rest of their lives in civil commitment and the U.S. Supreme court has upheld this TRICKY PROCEDURE. See Court: No Need To Free 'Sexually Dangerous' Inmates.
All law is put into effect by Administrative Rules, and the Administrative Rules governing the civil commitment procedure can be found here for those who wish to read them. Now, specifically Rule 545.95 (e) is most egregious, because it says "(e) Indicating successful completion of, or failure to successfully complete, a sex offender treatment program." In other words, if one tried to complete a sex offender therapy program -in their past- whether they passed or failed, that fact alone is used as an admission by that person that, the person believes s/he cannot refrain from further sexual acts, and they can use that against the person in a civil commitment hearing.
Now there is much more to federal civil commitment but our point here is to make folks aware of some of the trickiness that goes on, so that, if a person is prosecuted in federal court for whatever is their crime, they will face the above at some point in the future!
Accordingly, if you are facing a case in federal court, please talk to your lawyer about posturing your case IN YOUR FAVOR if at all possible, before the court sentences you.
For Lawyers handling these proceedings, please see HERE
Federal Level, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.
Every state has a civil commitment law in their Mental Health laws. Under that law if a person is a danger to someone or themselves they can be committed, but hose laws are not like the civil commitment laws following the completion of a prison sentence. However, one state "UTAH" uses their mental health laws to civilly commit sex offender following the completion of a prison sentence. see the following:
Utah panel considers changing civil commitment law 5-3-2011 Utah
For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
eAdvocate (BACK to the Top Page)
1 day ago