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. Dmoney

    Only if this was loaw about three decades ago. but, better late than never.

    May 17, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Kimmie

    I agree at little w/ Me, but I think the first charge should be an automatic 10 years, and execution if there is a second charge.

    May 17, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dolly-O

    Absolutely! Let's neuter them and be done with it. Of course, this would probably infringe on their "rights."

    May 17, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Allison F

    Holding people indefinitely after they've finished their prison terms? Wow, finally I get to see my country turn into something like Saudi Arabia. It's been nice knowing you, justice & liberty.

    May 17, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Total resistance – that is your path to freedom

      May 17, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bertina

    Isn't it interesting that two of the most conservative on the bench voted no on this.

    May 17, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Barack O'Stalin

      No – perhaps they realize that if we want HARSHER PENALTIES for these type of people, we should codify it, and not let the government arbitrarily decide that it wants to keep people imprisoned without charge.

      May 17, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. stinkyone72

    Odd something that makes sense, it's not April fools, kudos

    May 17, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Pat

    Wow, the Supreme Court actually did something in the people best interests! WooHoo Supre Court!

    May 17, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • vegas ks

      You are an idiot!

      May 17, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • TMaley

      I agree vegas ks.

      May 17, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Rodman Singleton


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

      Try to push past the pain threshold, and THINK!!! USE your MIND! You are reacting exactly the way they're counting on you to react. Don't throw away your rights with both hands just because it's easier than exercising your brain!

      May 17, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jennifer

    I have to agree with what 'Me' said. It's a dangerous line the court is walking.

    May 17, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. LZ

    This is the best news I've heard in a long time.

    May 17, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. frank

    If you serve your sentence you should be released. Who is to judge whether or not certain people get let go but others need to stay behind bars? If you need to give longer sentences, then do it. I'm happy they're locked up, but not after their sentence has been served.

    May 17, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kevin Brooks

    Sounds like a good idea in theory, but now you are allowing the prison system to keep people behind bars (and on their budget) forever. It leaves the door open for corrupt officials to do what some Judges have done with juvinile's where they throw them in jail just to boost numbers and get more tax dollars in their budget. Lets also not forget that some people get thrown in the system for no reason as we've seen more and more with NDA evidence freeing people who have server 10-30 years of their life for a crime someone else committed just because the prosecuters wanted a conviction regardless if it was the person who did the crime or not.

    May 17, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. Charles

    I agree that these people are sick. But think about what this law means, people that are convicted of a crime, serve there sentence, but can be in prison for life. This really sounds more scary then good.

    May 17, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    Shooting at sunrise had a lot going for it.

    May 17, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. Barack O'Stalin

    This'll be a good way for the USSA governemtnt to get rid of dissidents. Trump up some charges against them, have them labeled as a s ex offender, then BAM, they'll never see the light of day again.


    May 17, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      You are such a hypocrite. Your screen name "Barack O'Stalin", then you call the USA USSA.. then your comments about trumping up charges. YOU are the one who sound like a Communists. Typical far righty.

      May 17, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      @ Frank:

      Sarcasm is wasted on you obviously...

      May 17, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. David Martinez

    I guess Habeas corpus is a mere thing of the past

    May 17, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
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