Expert: Minnesota Sex Offenders Program Broken
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The latest on the U.S. Supreme Court declining to take up a legal challenge to Minnesota’s sex offender commitment program (all times local):
An expert on Minnesota’s sex offenders program says the U.S. Supreme Court has left a broken system in place by refusing to take up a legal challenge to it.
Eric Janus is a law professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul who has testified as an expert against the program. He says he’s “very disappointed” by Monday’s announcement from the court, and the people of Minnesota should be too.
Janus says the biggest problem of the Minnesota program is the “systemic thwarting” of the principle that people should be released when they can be safely managed in a community.
He says the state has made some small progress under legal pressure to change the program, but that pressure is gone now.
The Supreme Court won’t hear a challenge to Minnesota’s sex offender civil commitment system, which allows people deemed sexually dangerous to be committed to a treatment facility for an indefinite period of time.
The court’s order, which declines to hear the case, came Monday.
According to the sex offenders who brought the lawsuit, more than 700 people are now committed in the state as “sexually dangerous” or a “sexual psychopathic personality.” They argued the “fatal flaw” in the scheme is that Minnesota doesn’t require a regular review of those cases to see if the individuals should still be held.
Minnesota told the court that offenders can petition for release using a simple-to-obtain form.