Friday, January 15, 2010

A VERY Worrisome Proposition...

Civil Confinements are the proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent.” They would allow the federal government to extend indefinitely the sentences handed down in State Courts for covered crimes – initially only child molesters. The law covers a small population, according to Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who said that “the Bureau of Prisons counts only 105 such men in the category of being a danger for child molestation or sexually violent behavior.”

That last phrase, “sexually violent behavior” is itself nebulous and open to a rather wide range of interpretation.

Solicitor General Kagan told the Supreme Court that it’s simply an extension of the federal government's recognized power "to run a responsible criminal justice system." She said that if the federal government cannot find a state willing to take responsibility for a sexually dangerous prisoner about to be released, federal officials have to step in."

Predicatbly, according to the Washington Post, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg seemed to agree. "You are talking about endangering the health and safety of people," Ginsburg said. "The government has some responsibility."

According to WaPo, “Others - Justices Stephen G. Breyer and John Paul Stevens, notably - seemed responsive to Kagan's analogy that the federal government would be within its rights to detain a soon-to-be-released prisoner who had a dangerous communicable disease.” Apparently, others, most notably Justices Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito are not as smitten with the idea as is Solicitor General Kagan and the liberals on the SC.

States already possess the power to hold certain, “extremely dangerous” criminals beyond their prescribed sentences. New York State has already used civil confinements to hold a number of child predators beyond the bounds of their prescribed sentences.

Why the federal government feels the need to take on this unprecedented power is puzzling and disturbing.

In FACT, civil confinements should not exist at all. A very easy fix would be to simply mandate longer sentences for certain crimes, like, for instance, pedophilia. In fact, I believe most Americans, like myself, would support what was proposed in seven states including South Carolina - the death penalty for repeat child-rapists.

This desire, on the part of the feds, to renounce the Constitutional limits on government’s rightful powers is itself perverse and pathological.


Linda said...

There should never be a 'repeat child rapist' out there. If they can't be imprisoned for life, they need to be castrated, and then made to wear an ankle GPS, or just have one implanted in their bodies.

Those people that hurt children are the scum of the earth.

JMK said...

"There should never be a 'repeat child rapist' out there. If they can't be imprisoned for life..." (Linda)
On that, I agree 100% and it's why I support the death penalty for repeat child predators, BUT this increase in federal powers (allowing the feds to mandate civil confinement for certain crimes) invites misuse and abuse through further expansion.

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