CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, May 2, 2011

Melcher on Comstock and the Adam Walsh Act

Ryan K. Melcher has posted There Ain’t No End for the ‘Wicked’: Implications of and Recommendations for § 4248 of the Adam Walsh Act after United States v. Comstock (Iowa Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The civil commitment of “sexually dangerous persons” is not a new concept. States first began doing so in the mid-20th century, based then on “sexual psychopathy.” Since that time, concepts of “sexually dangerous predators” have evolved and the laws have evolved with them. It was not until 2006, however, that Congress created federal laws to mirror those of the States. The Adam Walsh Act, named after the son of television host John Walsh, was created to “protect children” and “make communities safer.” The Supreme Court in United States v. Comstock held the Act constitutional under the Necessary and Proper Clause. While Congress had good intentions behind the Act, Comstock’s ruling created a veritable “blank check” for Congress and paved the way for exorbitant costs to the States, in a time when fiscal pressures make simply implementing the law nearly impossible. This Note explores the rationale behind Comstock and the Adam Walsh Act, highlights the damaging implications behind the decision and the good intentions of Congress, and makes recommendations for the future of both the case and the Act itself.

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