Wednesday, June 6, 2007
From USATODAY.com: For the second time in eight months, New York's highest court ruled Tuesday that former Gov. George Pataki exceeded his authority when he tried to keep sex offenders locked up after completing their criminal sentences.
In a 7-0 ruling, the Court of Appeals said the former governor erred when he tried to invoke a section of the state's mental hygiene law to transfer 10 offenders directly from prison to a mental-health facility after finishing their sentences.
The prisoners, in fact, were still under the weight of the state corrections law, not the mental hygiene law, the court said, and, therefore, they should have, at minimum, been granted hearings to determine whether they were a danger to society.
" ... inmates transferred directly from a correctional facility to a (mental health) hospital on a non-emergency basis are entitled to the procedural steps outlined in (state corrections law) even if they are nearing completion or have just completed their sentences," Judge Victoria Graffeo wrote for the court.
The court sent the case back to a local court to conduct the necessary hearings. This mirrors the decision and action reached by the court in a similar case last fall. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]