Monday, June 22, 2009

Supreme Court To Decide Federal Sex Offender Law

The Supreme Court today agreed to accept an appeal by the Obama administration of a court ruling striking down a federal law that permits sex offenders to be held in prison after they complete their prison sentences. The law that permits sex offenders to be held in prison after they finish their sentence is called the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. It was signed into law in 2006 by then president George Bush. The law provides that if prosecutors are able to prove that someone is suffering from a serious mental illness, abnormality or disorder and would have difficulty in refraining from sexually violent conduct or child molestation, they could be confined in prison indefinitely. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Virginia struck down the law because it exceeded the limits of congressional authority and intruded on the police powers reserved in the Constitution for the states. Many state laws provide for the commitment under civil law for mentally ill sex offenders who pose a risk to the community. The Justice Department has identified at least 95 inmates who could be subject to detention under this law. In 1997 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that these civil state laws are constitutional.

The Adam Walsh Act also establishes a national sex offender registry, increases punishment for some federal crimes against children and strengthens child pornography protections. These provisions of the Adam Walsh Act are not being challenged.

The case is U.S. v. Comstock, 08-1224.

For more information about the Chicago Criminal Defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-8--228-7295,

No comments:

The Legal Defenders, PC

70 West Madison, Ste 1400 * Chicago * IL 60602 * Phone: (800) 228-7295 * Fax: (800) 604-0507