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. Bryan

    lol, nice ralf dog

    May 17, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. 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 wanted.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. im_dumb

    how does that even make sense?? So murders can get out? would you rather be molested or murdered? oh yeah that is right because you will have to live your life scarred so the choice is to be murdered

    May 17, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bill

    Now, if they could just extend this to murderers, I might feel a little safer.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ben Franklin

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. iustas

    Now some 18yo kid in Texas will get to stay in prison for life for doing it with a 16yo girl, because his Prison manager happens to be some Bible Freak. Unbelievable!

    May 17, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. Brad Smith

    This was not the right way to do it. The right way is to make the sentence life in prison and to grant parole only if there is a demonstration that the convict is no longer a danger.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. When America Is Extreme

    We all know everyone in prison is guilty. Nobody has ever been falsely accused. Knowing that the officials, police departments, and courts always get things 100% right makes me sleep easy about this law!!!!

    May 17, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. SteveM

    As much as I hate rapists and pedophiles, this sets a very dangerous precident. Who's next? Drug users? Drunk drivers? Petty theives?

    I've always thought that pedophiles in particular should automatically get life in prison. No parole, ever. Or better yet, execution. Certainly they should be executed if a child is killed.

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

    Totally Un-American and a violation of civil rights. Then again, what else is new? That's our Supreme Court nowadays. I say, back to Runnymede.

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

    I hope that they implement the same law for murders as well. http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/img/3.0/1px.gif

    May 17, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph Stalin

      I hope they implement the same law for all crimes. Then we'll be able to keep anybody who stands in the way of "progress" locked up indefinitely!!

      May 17, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    @ Greg

    I hope some neighborhood 16 y/o hussy accuses you of something, and you get to experience why this ruling is screwed up FIRST HAND.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  13. lakotahope

    I don't like the fact that this could invariably be applied to all crimes in America. Why bother with trials? Why bother to even make sentencing indefinite? Why not execute them and save incarceration money? Seems like we just made a step into the "Dark Side" as a free people and a government by the people for the people.

    Really, rather than just break the sentence, make the sentences more harsh or better yet, make them punishable by the Feds as a "Violation of Civic Rights" and make the sentence mandatory life in prison for child perps'.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kevin Cantu

    John Albert Gardner III......enough said! Google his name then come back and justify why we shouldn't keep them locked up...this ought to be awesome.

    May 17, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph Stalin

      Hey i diot, you know what a good solution to the problem would be? MANDATORY LIFE SENTENCES FOR S EX OFFENDERS, CODIFIED INTO LAW.

      Do you k now WHAT ISN'T A GOOD SOLUTION? Giving the current, Bolshevik-run government the ability to keep people locked up indefinitely because they regard you as an "enemy of the people".

      See the difference?

      May 17, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kelsey

    Who are they going to decide to keep locked up next? When a person is sentenced to a certain amount of time in jail and they serve that time, it doesn't seem right to me to keep them locked up. Yes, some of them are really bad people. But they did serve the time the judge gave them. Maybe we should just enforce harsher penalties and not let people bargain or make deals to serve a lesser time...

    May 17, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
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