Sexually Dangerous Prisoners Can Be Held Indefinitely

Lakeland, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 15, 2015 – Can sexually dangerous inmates be held past their release date? Yes, they may be held indefinitely despite the end of a completed prison sentence.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, passed by President Bush in 2006, gave the government authority to hold sexually dangerous federal prisoners for an indefinite period of time.

In United States v. Graydon Earl Comstock (https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/pdf/08-1224P.ZO), Comstock examined whether or not the federal government had the power to hold inmates indefinitely or if it had gone beyond the powers granted by the Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court decision was 7-to-2, decreeing sexually dangerous convicts may be held indefinitely.

On one side of the argument is that holding sexually dangerous prisoners indefinitely is justified on the grounds of public safety. On the other side of the argument is a spectre of a Congress going too far with restricting rights and freedoms.

“There is no provision in the Constitution that allows Congress to indefinitely hold sexually dangerous inmates,” said Lakeland, Florida, criminal defense attorney, Thomas C. Grajek. “And as such, it could be argued that indefinitely holding someone past the end of their served sentence is in violation of their constitutional rights.”

When the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act came into action, four federal prisoners, charged variously with sexually abusing minors to possession of child pornography, challenged it. They had already completed their sentences but had not been released, as jailers felt they were at high risk to offend. The First Court of Appeal in Richmond, Virginia, agreed with the inmates and indicated Congress had overstepped their boundaries.

The Supreme Court overturned the ruling and upheld the law on appeal.

The law relating to indefinitely holding prisoners dictates that two conditions must be met for an offender to be deemed sexually dangerous: a court must receive convincing proof that either a mental disease or other problem prevents the inmate from stopping themselves from committing sexually violent acts or child molestation if they were released; and that the state where the inmate is incarcerated and/or the state where the individual was brought to trial do not want custody of the inmate.

In practice, the law indicates that the safety of the public from sexual predators takes precedence over whether or not a sexually dangerous offender remains in prison at the end of his or her sentence. The legal niceties of this conundrum are troubling, as there is always the possibility that this may apply to other offenders for other offenses.

“In any situation dealing with a sexual offense, never try to go it alone through the criminal trial process. Always speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney,” indicated Grajek.

Learn more at http://www.flcrimedefense.com/

Thomas C. Grajek
206 Easton Drive, Suite 102
Lakeland, FL 33803
Phone: 863.688.4606

View Larger Map

  • Criminal Defenses May Include Renunciation
    A good criminal defense attorney has an arsenal of defenses he or she may call upon to assist a client. One of those defenses may be renunciation. To be found not guilty as pled according to the defense of renunciation means a defendant is not considered to be guilty of an offense or is not likely to be labelled as an accomplice provided the defendant informs law enforcement in enough time to allow them to prevent a possible crime in progress. Additionally, the defendant is found to have ended his or her participation before the actual commission of the crime […]
  • Hosting a Party? Be Careful How Much Alcohol is Served
    Serving alcohol at a party comes with a great deal of responsibility. Many hosts do not realize they may face legal consequences if a guest drives while inebriated and injures or kills someone, or if any guest is under the legal drinking age of 21. If you are going to throw a party for whatever reason, make sure you are aware of the laws in your state relating to serving alcohol to guests. Some states have laws on the books that confer criminal or civil liability if a host serves alcoholic beverages to underage guests or to guests that are […]
  • Prostitution and Solicitation for a Lewd Act sting by Pasco Sheriff Nocco results in 28 arrests. Some charged are facing a $5,000.00 “civil penalty” that is currently on appeal with the 2nd District Court of Appeal.
    The Pasco County Sheriff announced the results of a four day Prostitution sting operation today that resulted in 28 arrests.  Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco stated the females were arrested after advertising on the internet.  This usually means the women posted an ad on “Backpage.com” under “Escort Services” or “Massage”.  The Lewdness/Prostitution statute has different sections depending on whether the individual was the alleged “prostitute” or the alleged “john”.  It is only the “johns”, the person seeking the services of a prostitute that are assessed an additional $5,000.00 “civil penalty” regardless of whether the person is “adjudicated guilty” or the person […]