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Some Bad News For Knee Jerkers

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by Harry Boy, May 17, 2010.

  1. Harry Boy

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  2. chicowalker

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    Curious to hear what the other "small government" folks here think about this.

    While the people affected in this case are about as low as you get, this kind of law imo is a clear overreach by the government and has very dangerous ramifications.

    I'm guessing that the Supreme Court decision here is very narrow and that this law will wind up being overturned on other grounds.
  3. mcgraw_wv

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    Yes, this is horrible. Anyone convicted of a crime and serves their sentence deserves to be free.

    It is the Judges and Jury's job to determine how long they should be detained.

    If Judges are worried they won't be rehabilitated, give them a life sentence, with a parol hearing every year to determine their ability to safely be released into society.
  4. khayos

    khayos Rookie

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    What kind of "small government" people are you looking for? Fiscal conservatives who are more interested in Federal entitlement programs and don't really care or libertarians who hate the cops?
  5. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    Just a few points:

    1) Today's Supreme Court simply upheld a 2006 ruling that allows the federal government to provide for the continued detention of sexually dangerous federal inmates who have completed their prison terms.

    The Supreme Court in 1997 ruled that U.S. states could confine dangerous sex offenders to mental institutions after they served their sentences - the current administration has argued that the federal government also has the same authority.

    That right was granted in 2006 and upheld today.

    2) Federal Law defines sexually dangerous as someone who suffers from a serious mental illness, abnormality or disorder who would have difficulty in refraining from sexually violent conduct or child molestation if released.

    So, in other words, once a person is defined as "sexually dangerous" he has been pre-diagnosed as suffering from a serious mental illness or disorder - which means the state (or the government) can confine him to a mental institution.

    Prisoners will not be held in prisons past their release date - but they can be confined to a mental hospital until pronounced "cured." (Most likely never.)

    FT.com / US / Politics & Foreign policy - US top court upholds federal sex offender law

    Yanno, I'm ok with that.
  6. Leave No Doubt

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    Indeed this is a very slippery slope however detention without reason is not a new law, Bush put indefinite detention in place after 911 and Our Leader chose to continue it almost directly after he took office. The fact it's now specific to sexual offenders is probably designed to garner popular support but it's only a tiny tip of what's a very nasty slope overall. Bizarre as it sounds and difficult as this may be to say, I hope this goes away. Dangerous precedent.
  7. chicowalker

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    Anybody who claims they believe in "small government"

    If you're a fiscal conservative but don't care about the government locking people up indefinitely without due process, you don't really want small government.
  8. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Probably makes a lot of Rape Victims smile.
  9. chicowalker

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    Do you know anything about involuntary confinement to psychiatric facilities?

    If this is in line with those laws (and those laws are reasonable -- which I'll assume they are for this discussion), I have no problem with the decision -- aside from the fact that the law would seem unnecessary.

    If that's the case, however, I'm not sure how it should have anything to do with the prisoners' incarceration (and, in fact, shouldn't they be in a psychiatric facility in the first place, if this is the case?).
  10. DarrylS

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    Elena Kagan successfully argued this case..

    Those darlings of the right Thomas and Scalia dissented.. interesting eh?

    BTW this only applies to Federal Prisoners already in custody, and has no application for individual states...

    United States v. Comstock - ScotusWiki
  11. Bonni

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    oh, its realy bad news =(
  12. patsfan13

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    I disagree with this ruling if you want to hold these offenders for life change the law. I don't like the government 'deciding' who might be dangerous. I don't think these guys can be rehabbed but this is the wrong way to do it. What will prevent this ruling from being applied to other crimes, possession of pot for example? Think the law of unintended consequences.

    Cheers to Thomas and Scalia for their dissent on this case.
  13. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    I'm pretty sure that's exactly what they did, 13 - they changed the law.

    Who would you like to do the deciding, 13?

    Yourself? I'm pretty sure you'd be falling all over yourself in your haste to either execute them without further hearing - and barring that possibility, you'd commit them for life in a heartbeat - damn the liberal laws and the stupid judges who didn't give them life in the first place.

    So now the government's gone ahead and agreed with you - and you're pizzy about it.

    Maybe this thread will refresh your mind and remind everyone else that you have two sides to your mouth and you talk out of them both.

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england...d-rapist-killed-bridgewater-state-prison.html
    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  14. patsfan13

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    The jury.


    I would prefer that the option of life imprisionment be available.


    If a sentence is issued and the guilty pay their debt to society as ruled by the judge the state should let the person go.


    This undermines the rule of law.
  15. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    Aren't you in favor of state laws, tho?
  16. patsfan13

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    I would apply the same standard for state or federal laws.THis sounds like double jeporady to me, how can we allow the state to decide if someone will be released after their sentence has been served?


    What happened to trial by a jury of your peer?

    You pay your debt to society and move on. If you think someone should be held give them a life sentnece of the death penalty.
  17. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    Every state has the right to hold a prisoner in a state prison past their release date if they are deemed "a danger to themelves or society." It falls under the involuntary committment laws for mentally ill people. If two doctors examine a prisoner and deem that he is unable to prevent himself from hurting either himself or someone else he is deemed mentally ill and can be detained until such time as he is pronounced "cured," or is able to control his impulses.

    They are no longer "prisoners" once their release date has passed, they must be confined to a mental hospital and they are to be medically treated and care for as if they were you or I with a mental illness. There are hearing held periodically and each case is reviewed and each time a new decision is reached.

    It's a slippery slope, of course, I agree - but it strikes me humerous that so many people who are suddenly against this particular Supreme Court decision are the same ones who usually scream for the government to lock them up and throw away the key - which is, in effect, what they've done.

    And now you're ticked off about it.
  18. patsfan13

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    So if I am put in jail for a dwi and someone 'determines' that I will drink and drive if I am released thay can theoretically be held for the rest of my life?

    Do you consider that a good idea?
  19. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    The law is quite specific to certain crimes of a sexual nature and does not pertain to any other crimes. Certain crimes are considered to be of a deviant sexual nature - such crimes are most often the manifestation of a mental illness. For instance, pedophilia is considered a mental illness - it is something that the offender cannot control without a good deal of counseling and chemical control and it is an offense he will., most likely, commit again - especially if his original crime contained a good deal of violence.

    Driving while drunk is not, necessarily, a medical illness. (Although alcoholism itself is thought to be.) So, no, I don't think it would be a good idea to keep the drunk driver in jail for the rest of his life - unless, of course, it was his 15th offense and he'd killed people without ever showing remorse of it.

    Do you think the repeat drunk driver with fatalities to his "credit," without remorse, and with several medical professionals attesting to the fact that the instant he gets out of jail the first thing he's going to do is get drunk, get in the car and run over a small child on a tricycle should be let out of jail?

    The thing is - there's no danger of that happening. The law does not touch on any other crime other than violent sexual crime. No one's getting permission to keep anyone in jail for longer than their sentence unless they've committed a particularily heinous violent sexual crime and have shown themselves to be untreatable while incarcerated.

    I still don't understand why you wanted to give the prisoner who killed another sexual offending prisoner while in prison a medal and shake his hand but now you're all up in arms about the government doing what you wanted that particular individual to do in the first place.

    It's ok for you to agree with an individual who took the law into his own hands but it's not ok for the government to agree with you?
  20. DarrylS

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    You can be detained after being arrested if you are considered a danger to yourself or others, no matter what the crime.. if you get arrested for shoplifting and when they bring you in you say you are going to kill yourself and a MH professional evaluates you then you can be detained in a psychiatric facility as you are deemed a danger to yourself.

    If you get arrested for a dui and after being booked tell the PO that you are going to kill him, rape his wife and slaughter his children when you get out.. and are deemed to be in some type of homicidal rage by a MH professional and there is intent, you can be detained..

    This does not happen all that often, according to my friends who evaluate people like this, but technically it can..

    People go to jail and pick up new charges and get more time, the justice system is a merry go round and is intended to protect the public...
  21. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    Okay-dokay, guys, I think I'm calling woman's perogative on this one and changing my mind. (I can do that sometimes, yes?)

    I was truly under the impression that this law was meant for really violent offenders - and the reason I thought that was because it is tied in with The Adam Walsh laws - and what happened to that poor kid should never happen to anyone.

    Upon more reading, however, I find that it's not that simple....it doesn't seem to be related to the hideousness of the crime at all - in fact, I'm unsure just what it DOES relate to. Which is ticking me off no end, btw.

    Anyhow....the 5 guys who brought the suit? They've all been held several (3 or more) years past their release dates....and it turns out that their "crimes," while nasty, don't really seem all that scary, boogie-man, sexual deviate, eat-your-little-child , no one is safe from having their little throat cut while I'm on the street kind of scary.

    Granted, I don't know the entire story - and I'm hoping there's more, but if this is all it is, and by "all" I mean possession and/or distribution of child porn - oh oh, Houston, we got a problem. Not that I don't find child porn bad, I do - I find it extremely offensive and my heart aches for any child who is a victim of such a crime - and while I'd love to see child pornographers persecuted to the fullest extent of the law, I think I have to agree with 13 (God, I'm dyin' here - you have no idea what it takes for me to say that) that this is just a bit too much, maybe. You do the crime, you do the time - make the sentencing longer if necessary - but being held indefinately, um, I don't think so.


    The main plaintiff in the case, Graydon Comstock, was certified as dangerous six days before his 37-month federal prison term for processing child pornography was to end. Comstock and the others filing suit remain confined at Butner Federal Correctional Complex near Raleigh, North Carolina.

    Three other inmates who filed suit served prison terms of three to eight years for offenses ranging from child pornography to sexual abuse of a minor.


    Supreme Court: Sex offenders can be held indefinitely - CNN.com
  22. chicowalker

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    If all this law does is permit something that's already permitted -- involuntary commitment to psychiatric hospitals -- why is the law needed?
  23. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    From the way I read it - it's been a state law and federal prisons are not covered by state laws. I also read somewhere, but can't remember where, that in all of the cases of people being held beyond their release date in federal prisons, (something like 70 of them) the feds had tried to get the states where the crimes were committed to take custody of these guys (which seems to be common practice) but the states refused in these instances.

    I honestly can't remember where I read it today, but I read it. I can't prove it, since I can't find it again, but you can either believe me or disbelieve me, but I have no reason to make it up and, as you all know, I'm usually quite anal about having a source to offer.

    Sorry. Gettin' old, I guess.
  24. efin98

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    Two entirely different situations with different standards and uses.

    One is meant to prevent an act from occurring such as harming yourself or harming others and the other is after it had already occurred and you may or are all but going to harm someone again.

    One also has a set time period for expiration that has to be reevaluated before the time period is extended farther, the other is indefinite with no deadline.
  25. Leave No Doubt

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    Execute them and end the whole debate.

    They don't rehab well, most never lose the urge despite even chemical castration. Even murderers consider sex offenders lowest of the low on the food chain.

    As a taxpayer I resent paying their tab and considering their rehab potential I really don't want them mingling either.

    All that said it's still a slippery slope considering the definition of a sex offender. And considering this society's penchant for thinking up ways to find people Guilty Of Something then imprisoning them for It.
  26. chicowalker

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    Both of those bring me back to my original concerns, if that is so.

    If the idea of involuntary commitment is to prevent future harm, the only impact the crime should have on that is one further indication that future harm may occur. But when it comes to an involuntary psychiatric commitment, I would think that should be of marginal use, if any (based on my vast psychiatric expertise, of course :) ).

    As for the 2nd, which is indefinite with no deadlines for re-evaluation? Whichever it is should be changed. It's hard for me to believe that it would be Constitutional or that anybody would support the idea.
  27. patsfan13

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    I agree, this doesn't seem very American. If you are convicted and serve your sentence you should be released not kept in jail.

    If there is a high likelihood that you will repeat your crime (as with child molesters) the sentence should keep you in custody.
  28. efin98

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    The steps aren't fully set in stone and along the chain of events towards the commitment the person is liable to get released should the police/mental health official/doctor who is being asked for the commitment not deem the person a danger, then the doctor at the hospital, the the attending doctor at the mental health hospital, then the judge at the extension request hearing.

    While it should be used only if there is a danger, almost always in my experience(observations and personal family experiences) the person is mentally unstable, physically violent, or emotionally disturbed which are the prime reasons for bringing on the commitment

    The first one in each of the two example explanations are the classic involuntary commitment(your standard 72 hour observation kind)

    The second one in both example explanations is the commitment we are talking about in the thread, the commitment due to being a threat to society.
    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  29. efin98

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    So in other words, move it out of the mental health field and put it into the hands of Congress/state capitals because they are the ones who would have to change the sentencing laws to include that mandatory sentencing.
  30. patsfan13

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    From my POV yes. This creates a president, what other crimes can the state define as mental illnesses?

    See the USSR for where this sort of thing can lead. perhaps the administration would like to define tea partiers as mentally ill arrest at demonstration....I am sure the lefties can come up with similar.


    The law of unintended consequences cause me to be cautious about changing our system of justice and trials with sentences to letting the state whether you are released after you serve your sentence.

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