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. Smash Obamunism

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." – Ben Franklin

    May 17, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. America Land of the Fee, I Mean the FREE!

    This is a tough subject for me. We as Americans are losing the battle VS big government. The government has to much power already. My Son was molested at two weeks old. You dont know pain till you have a child hurt. I do not agree with the government having the right to LOCK people up for life AFTER they served thier sentence. Also for all you IDIOTS shouting Castration Castration!!! Look up some FACTS on the subject, surgically removing the offending organ DOES NOT STOP THE PREDATORS DRIVE!!!! In some cases it make them worse since they now have to resort to using objects for thier horrid purposes. Another fact most people DO NOT KNOW is that chemical castration is not permanent and that is what the vast majorities of castrations currently being done are. Dont let FEAR force you to give up your freedom. Freedom is not having to carry an ID, random searches, seizure of guns(Criminals will ALWAYS have GUNS) and all the stupid nanny laws being past. Each law that is passed chips away at your freedom. Did you know that in come Cities you can't even fly the American FLAG in front of your house! How the hell is that FREEDOM! This is just the start. Wake up people.

    Bubba

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

      That's why we need MANDATORY LIFE SENTENCES codified into law. So these monsters stay locked up without needing to grant the government the right to keep people locked up past the end of their sentence without charge.

      May 17, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Song

      totally agree

      May 17, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bryan

    Who watches the watchmen?

    May 17, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    this is ridiculous! just another way the government is going to control our lives. prison terms are set for a reason, so the prisoner and others know when they leave prison. they have served their time! sorry, they ought to get it right at the trial, not afterwards. this smells of dictatorship!

    May 17, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. AK

    Instead of fighting for the cho-mo's rights, you need to be fighting for the rights of the innocent children that they molest....who are in turn kept in their own mental and emotional prisons.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Smash Obamunism

      I don't give a d amn about the child molesters. Put a bullet in their head for all I care.

      However, I DO care about the other Americans who will be locked up indefinitely, once judges start using this precedent to keep dissidents and other people locked up for being "enemies of the people".

      May 17, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kevin Cantu

    For all you who don't like this decision why don't you let the family members of those two girls in California know how you rally feel about it. John Albert Gardner III fell through the crack because the system failed so I say if they stay in prison beyond their sentence a majority of this country won't lose any sleep over it.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Smash Obamunism

      I don't give a d amn about the child molesters. Put a bullet in their head for all I care.

      However, I DO care about the other Americans who will be locked up indefinitely, once judges start using this precedent to keep dissidents and other people locked up for being "enemies of the people"

      May 17, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • bofwisconsin

      Judging from "Smash Obamunism's" ridiculous name implying Obama is a communist (he's far from it) I thought I'd disagree with the comment, but they showed how it can go both ways. I fear a far-right fascist police state, but it can be swung around the other way. Even though the far left has no power at all in our country, decades from now it could, so our framework must protect our great country from both the far-right AND the far-left.

      May 17, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • br

      I would be happy to let them know how I feel about it. This isn't a "pro-child molester" vs. "anti-child molester" issue. This is a "The Supreme Court just said it can keep people locked up indefinitely" issue. Where is the line? Who goes down next? This is horrifying!

      May 17, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Don Quito

      Why don't you let the hundreds of people impriosoned and killed for being falsely accused how you feel!?!?!?!?!??!?!

      Seriously, go ahead and tell the families of those people who have been falsely accused and spent A) their entire lives in jail or B) Been killed by the government.

      I am waiting................

      May 17, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Falcon5

    How about they all get a brand on the forehead so they are immediately recognized, then authorize any parent to shoot any child rapist who comes within 50 feet of their child.

    The victims of these monsters live the rest of their lives in fear, the monsters should do the same.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • It's too bad

      Bull, you have no idea. You aren't a victim. I AM a victim, and I don't walk around quaking with fear. It happened, I learned to cope with it, grew, and became stronger. It's not like I'm afraid to walk around at night now or something. I simply see the world for the dangerous place it is, and I am a realist because of it. People like you just like to use people like me to justify your hate...and you look for any target that you can feel good about aiming your hate at, because you just want to hate SOMETHING. If it's not pedophiles, it's terrorists, or murderers, or people different than you. Take a look at your own life and root out the reason you are so filled with hate. If everyone did, the world would be a better place.

      May 17, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • bofwisconsin

      Falcon5 have you no love for the principles of this country, of due process, of the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment? People must stand up to comments like this and say no! Extremism must not destroy the fabric of our country!

      May 17, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Casey

    The thin end of the wedge....

    May 17, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. iustas

    Eighth Amendment anyone?????????????? Cruel and Unusual Punishment ring a bell?!?!?

    May 17, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ralf the Dog

    The next step is to keep people in jail because they might commit a different crime. Jan goes to jail because she wrote a bad check. When she gets out, she might decide to drink and drive. If she drives drunk she might kill someone. Lets keep Jan in jail on charges of potential murder.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. When America Is Extreme

    When Americans are extreme about every issue this is the obvious result. Everyone is so scared of everything before long we will not be in a socialist society but a government dictatorship. It is not the president..it is not the sentate...is in not the house...it is not the Supreme Court...It is all of them because we are so nuts right now we keep giving them MORE AND MORE POWER. The crazy scared people are the ones infringing on our rights. Keep up the Beck paranoia and this country will look like Nazi Germany!! He loves it so much and you can see it happening now...it isn't Obama..it is all you scared freaks. I am moving!!! I hate this country. It is so worthless now with all these teabagger nutjobs...left wing crazies. It is horrible being here.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. V

    There is no doubt we want people like this locked up and off the streets. Personally, I wish they were permanently removed from society. But this method of punishment could encroach on prior restraint and allow subjective rulings to detain people indefinitely for any crime they waned.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    The highest court of our land has decided that sentences don't matter; that the system can just keep a criminal locked up indefinitely?

    ...RIP USA 1776-2010

    May 17, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. mrgardon

    Yeah don't want he/she or it trolling around in my neighborhood either but indefinite seems like a long time without any goal, end game in mind.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Supreme Court

    Don't do anything to get you in prison for this reason in the first place....then you won't have to worry about all these "officials" making decisions.....Don't be a coward, a rapist, a pedophile and we won't have to worry. The problem is.....they exist in the world. If we can lock them up one by one and throw the key away to the ones we "reasonably" think will do it agian, I'm damn sure my kids will appreciate it.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • br

      ARRGH! This is so STUPID!!! "Don't do something like this in the first place."???? You are so brilliant!!!

      Have you never heard of false charges??? For God's SAKE! TRY to THINK!!!

      May 17, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
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