Saturday, March 5, 2011

Topic: Civil Commitment following Prison Sentence

Civil Commitment - Federal

Within the Community Room there are TWO "Topics" covering civil commitment, one for State Civil Commitment and this one covering Federal Civil Commitment.

What is Civil Commitment:
Civil commitment is a cruel form of punishment, which courts do not consider punishment. In essence it is sending someone, already convicted of a crime and who has served his/her sentence, to a civil commitment center at the end of their prison sentence.

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.

The Adam Walsh Act (AWA):
Failure to Register AFTER Crossing State Lines:

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
(a) IN GENERAL.—Whoever—
(1) is required to register under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA);
(A) is a sex offender as defined for the purposes of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act by reason of a conviction under Federal law (including the Uniform Code of Military Justice), the law of the District of Columbia, Indian Tribal law, or the law of any territory or possession of the United States; or
(B) travels in interstate or foreign commerce, or enters or leaves, or resides in, Indian country; and
(3) knowingly fails to register or update a registration as required
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

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:

The Adam Walsh Act and Civil Commitment
(Trickery beyond belief):

Within the Adam Walsh Act we find the following:


Sec. 301. Jimmy Ryce State civil commitment programs for sexually dangerous persons.

Sec. 302. Jimmy Ryce civil commitment program.
§ 4248. Civil commitment of a sexually dangerous person
(a) INSTITUTION OF PROCEEDINGS.—In relation to a person who is in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, or who has been committed to the custody of the Attorney General pursuant to section 4241(d), or against whom all criminal charges have been dismissed solely for reasons relating to the mental condition of the person, the Attorney General or any individual authorized by the Attorney General or the Director of the Bureau of Prisons may certify that the person is a sexually dangerous person, and transmit the certificate to the clerk of the court for the district in which the person is confined. The clerk shall send a copy of the certificate to the person, and to the attorney for the Government, and, if the person was committed pursuant to section 4241(d), to the clerk of the court that ordered the commitment. The court shall order a hearing to determine whether the person is a sexually dangerous person. A certificate filed under this subsection shall stay the release of the person pending completion of procedures contained in this section.
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.

Lawyers Who Handle Civil Commitment Cases:
For Lawyers handling these proceedings, please see HERE

States with Civil Commitment Laws and Centers:
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

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A state criminal justice committee on Monday began considering changes to Utah's civil commitment law that would close a loophole that allowed a convicted sex offender go free. Lonnie Johnson was released from Utah State Hospital in April after judges said he was incompetent for trial and did not meet the legal criteria for civil commitment.

"We have what I consider to be a gap in the law," said Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, who plans to propose a fix to lawmakers in 2012. Under Utah's civil commitment law, a judge would have had to find that Johnson's mental illness made him a substantial danger to himself or others. Court papers say he suffers from an unspecified cognitive disorder.

The Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice subcommittee is considering changing the definition of substantial danger, Daw said. Currently, it includes acts of violence that would cause serious bodily injury, physical pain and even the loss of limbs or mental faculties. It doesn't include sexual assault. ..Source..

For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
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