Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders Today

Today, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in United States v. Comstock (08-1224), which deals with a federal law that indefinitely commits those who finished serving their sentences in North Carolina, typically for sexual offenses against minors.  During oral argument, General Kagan pointed that out of 103 people certified under these laws, 83 had committed sexual offenses.  She stated:

What is necessary [under this law] is two things: First, that the person in fact have engaged in sexually violent behavior or child molestation. So there is a factual predicate there. And -- and so far, the Bureau of Prisons has found that about 15,000 people whom it has reviewed meet that factual predicate. Of those, the Bureau of Prisons has certified only 105 of those, who were also found to have the kind of mental illness that made it reasonably likely that -- that they would continue to commit this -- these kinds of offenses. (Tr. 24-25).

The Supreme Court has previously upheld a similar Kansas law in Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346 (1997).

The Supreme Court oral argument transcript in United States v. Comstock (08-1224) is available here, and commentary on the law from a victim's perspective is here.


Child Abuse | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders Today:


I agree completely with General Kagan, if the individual is scientifically proven to be likely to become a repeat offender, that individual must be removed in order to protect our minors.

One note though, there is a distinction to be drawn amongst the so called 'sex offenders'. In Oklahoma, someone who urinates in public is prosecuted the same as someone who physically molests a 5 year old minor. The distinction being that the person who urinated in public just made a stupid decision - the person who molested the 5 year old minor obviously, has some deep pyschological issues and is a danger to our society.

Posted by: Tulsa Divorce Lawyer | Jan 19, 2011 6:29:21 PM

Post a comment