Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Federal Civil Commitment Challenge

Posted by Maggie on September 7, 2007

Thanks to Sex Crimes for this story.

In federal district court in North Carolina, the federal PD’s had a great win today by getting their clients’ civil commitment cases thrown out on constitutional grounds. The Court found that the Adam Walsh Act was an unconstitutional exercise of power by congress. The government argued it was supported by the Necessary & Proper clause, but the Court quickly pointed out that there was no other supporting authority to base civil commitment on. It found the Act also in violation of the Commerce Clause.

Civil commitment is a nasty thing. Virtually impossible to win. Tell a jury someone’s committed a sex offense and there’s no chance you’ll get a fair hearing. It might be a while before we make some good legal progress against them, but this gives me hope. See the full opinion over at Sex Crimes.

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2 Responses to “Federal Civil Commitment Challenge”

  1. tom ormsby said

    society is getting crazy, i was up at butner for an evaluation, cuz they found child porn on my computer, after the FBI gave it to me the day before they arrested me. thats all they found (the porn they sent me), well i was about to finish my sentence and 4 months before my release they decided to send me to butner for a civil commitment eval. well everything went well, no danger of recommitting offences, but that was the luck of the draw, i know friends that didnt do so well. kept beyond the MRD (mandatory release date) some of the kindest people ive ever known. im glad that the doctor (whom i meet for 15 min) was in a good mood.
    this whole thing is getting blown out of proportion. people seem to thrive from the media circus that both the media and politicians use to leverage more votes and sell more newspapers. its quite sad that society cant love one another, forgive and show kindness.
    some people watch car accidents and gather to see a building burning or someone arrested that’s truly sad. and maybe they should be civilly committed.
    with sex offences there is no victors everyone losses. just say a prayer instead of saying “i hope they get the son of a bitch” just some food for thought. tom ormsby

  2. Maggie said

    Sorry to hear about your situation, Tom. I’m shocked they’d even consider someone for civil commitment without a victim. I’m not well acquainted with the federal civil commitment laws, but I know a lot of states don’t provide much review of the process. It’s not public and it’s not based on any real science. I’m hopeful, though, since I’ve seen more studies making the rounds reminding people that sex offenders aren’t what people think they are.

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