May 17th, 2010
10:20 AM ET

Supreme Court: Sex offenders can be held indefinitely

The Supreme Court ruled Monday the federal government has the power to indefinitely keep some sex offenders behind bars after they have served their sentences, if officials determine those inmates may prove "sexually dangerous" in the future.

"The federal government, as custodian of its prisoners, has the constitutional power to act in order to protect nearby (and other) communities from the danger such prisoners may pose," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the 7-2 majority.

Monday's other Supreme Court rulings:

Court: Sentencing juveniles to life without parole 'cruel and unusual'

High court rules for father in international child custody case

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Filed under: Justice • Supreme Court
soundoff (485 Responses)
  1. MJ

    How unamerican is that!?! If they think these criminals are too dangerous to ever get out then they should have given better sentences at the time of the trial. NO ONE in the gov't has the right to detain you after your lawful imprisonment is done. Where does it end ? The erosion of ones rights in this country should be frightening every singel american

    May 17, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. joe

    that doesn't seem right.. a long sentence.. probation afterward.. gps tracking.. etc..

    May 17, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joanne

    Everythink about this is wrong. Who's to say that a murderer once released will not kill again. I can't understand why more people aren't shaking in their shoes right now. The power in this county just shifted heavily to these "officials" that can now determine if someone will spend the rest of their life in jail just because they said so. Does anyone know who these "officials" are??? I'd like to know because I'm sure going to be really nice to them!

    May 17, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Slim Pickinz

    This is ridiculous and absurd. Now the Bureau of Prisons gets to decide who stays and who goes ??? IF you want pedophiles to stay in jail indefinitely – CHANGE THE F'N SENTENCING GUIDELINES !!!!! Once you start allowing all this subjectivity into the wrong hands – we're ALL SCREWED !!!!!

    May 17, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Most sensible comment here!

      May 17, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • chuck

      We are already screwed because we put George W. Bush in office. His conservative court appointees are the new standard-bearers of subjectivity. Elections do matter!!! We have had some crazy rulings come down the pipeline since his appointees have been able to put their mark on the laws of the land.

      May 17, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Helen

    I don't think this is the right way to go. They should extend sentencing so that they can be sentenced to life in prison, rather than do it this way. I agree some should serve life in prison but let's do this the right way, not just holding them beyond their sentence indefinitely.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. Buckhippo

    Save the tax payers money and just shotgun them all in the balls. Done.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. Josh from NC

    This is crazy! What is to stop them from keeping drug addicts and ect for life without reason now? I understand if they have a trail atleast

    May 17, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. me fool

    SURE but when Gov of Texas Rick Perry has spent almost $600,000 in public money during the past two years to live in a sprawling rental home in the hills above the capital, according to records obtained by The Associated Press. It's all ok ..lock his ass up too and don't let him out

    May 17, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. Shawn

    This is AWESOME!! Now we can skip sentencing and apply to countless other "really bad" crimes as this sets precedent – life AND castration for all the “bad” people!!

    Why are so many people so excited over this ruling? I am becoming weary of the dramatic changes our legal system is taking in a few short years... we can lock people up in Gitmo indefinitely without charge, corperations are now considered "people" and can contribute to political campaigns, companies like Walmart can sieze your property to build thier business, the police can ask for "your papers" without cause and as recently as last week we are considering stripping people of thier citizenship before they are convicted of a crime. In my opinion it is these acts of government to control its people under in the name of “keeping the public safe” that will one day lead to a police state under which we are all subject to “experts”!

    May 17, 2010 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • US Marine

      My friend you will soon see whats going to happen in our country!!!

      May 17, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • me fool

      too many shoes to stomp on the lil man and not enuff feet to support the big man

      May 17, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tony

    A dangerous precedent.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. Brent

    What the hell is happening to America?

    First we are having people who look a certain way carry cards so they can be identified....now this.

    Where are civil liberties, and justice? Regardless of any crime...the laws are established to create a system where there are defined sentenced limits. Not being able to hold someone unjusticley for a "what if" scenario.

    This is a sad day for America....we are stepping one day closer to facsim

    May 17, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rock

    This is a slippery slope. Just give them longer sentences, if not life to begin with.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. Song

    what you guys cheer about? that's a shame on legal & court system, you sentence some one 20 yrs, then it means

    20 yrs, now you don't want them out just because of your personal emotion? fxxk you all and this whole mess.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  14. KM

    Castrate them, done deal.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. chuck

    Conservative courts see only black and white and no shades of gray. Their sentencing guidelines come directly from the Old Testament. Their sense of fair play is never fair.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
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