Supreme Court okays indefinite prison for sex offenders

Here’s a law school hypothetical:  A person is convicted at trial of the offense of extortion.  He receives a sentence of 10 years.  Prior to his release from prison, however, the government decides he might very well commit another, similar offense if he is released from his sentence; so the government motions the court to have him detained in prison.  At a hearing on the motion, the government shows — by a lesser burden than “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” (the burden they must have met in order to have had him incarcerated in the first place), that he might very well commit another offense after his release.  So, the court orders him held beyond the end of his original sentence, and perhaps indefinitely, because he might similarly harm victims if he is released.  The law student would be required to respond to this hypothetical, with an analysis of whether such indefinite incarceration beyond a term of imprisonment for an offense passes constitutional muster.

The hypothetical would be an easy one to correctly answer.  Clearly, such a move on the part of the government would be violative of more than one provision in the Bill of Rights.

In fact, this hypothetical is not a hypothetical at all.  The Supreme Court of the United States, in an opinion earlier this month, confronted just such a question; except in this case, it involved a real federal statute enacted in 2006.  The High Court found, by a 7-2 majority, that of a person who has already served their term of imprisonment can be detained for an indefinite time beyond that, simply because the government shows they might commit a similar offense after release.

The particular facts of the case before the Court were different from those of my hypothetical; but the principle is the same.  The Supremes were presented with a 2006 law that permits the US Attorney General to seek to have a federal inmate convicted of certain federal sex offenses held in prison indefinitely, if the government shows he might be inclined to commit other sex offenses.

The nature of certain sex offenses make those who commit them among the most despicable of people.  State governments have wide leeway in dealing with such offenders, but the federal government does not.  Neither the Congress nor the president possess express or implied power under the Constitution to incarcerate people simply to “protect the public,” much as people might want it to do.  This was the thrust of Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent in this latest case (in which he was joined by Justice Scalia).

Permitting the federal government to act as a national nanny and detain people without any legitimate authority to do so under the Constitution, even those who have commited despicable crimes, is offensive to the basic underpinnings of our system of federalism and limited federal government powers.  That a majority on the Supreme Court is willing to jettison those principles is deeply disturbing.

117 comments Add your comment

Conservative White Male

May 28th, 2010
6:42 am

First?

Scout better be careful then he could get locked up like a gitmo terrorist

Barr's blog

May 28th, 2010
6:49 am

Worse than the indefinite incarceration is the fact that census workers can demand access to the offender’s jail cell while surveillance cameras record his every move, and facebook informs advertisers about the guy’s personal data….and I’m pretty sure the offender can’t own firearms in jail,

but he does get conjugal visits and if history is any indication, one of the census workers will fall in love with him and he’ll get married in prison. (”He’s a kind, gentle man, who’s misunderstood…”)

at taxpayer’s expense.

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
7:02 am

here’s a hypothethical answer. ALL “rights” are hypothetical (situational). a citizen who has commited no crime is falsely accused of domestic violence by a spouse seeking divorce. sherrif’s deputies come to the person’s home and remove all firearms (2nd amendment), and this law-abiding citizen with a not so much as a parking ticket cannot get a concealed weapons permit until the bogus charges are dismissed. here’s another one. it’s Janauary 1942. the Japanese have just bombed Pearl Harbor. President FDR signs an Executive Order, which strips Japanese-Americans (many native American citizens born in the United States) of their personal property AND anything close to “due process” (4th amendment?) or “equal protection” (14th amendment) and ships them to de facto prison camps. again, these American citizens only “crime” is to be of Japanese decent. I could comment on the 1st amendment (”hate speech” laws) as well. ALL laws (which bestow) rights exist to protect property or wealth. seems to me a convicted sex-offender has used up all his/her bullets. I know our court system is rigged (wealth buys acquittals), but most of the time, sex offenders are rightfully convicted, and as far as I am concerned, rape, child molestation, etc. is a “one and you’re done” deal. life sentence, no parole, and if you want to voluntarily commit suicide (a last act of redemption and contrition), we’ll note it in your obit. Americans need to realize the idea of “rights” or “freedom” is a myth, or at best a very subjective and very carefully regulated commodity. it is bought and sold with our blood and our treasure, but it is controled by others. and one more thing, just because a “right” was part of the original Bill of Rights, why is is sacrosanct? I believe the 5th amendment is a joke. “self-incrimination” occurs when a person commits a crime, not in a court room. ALL defendents should be required to testify and be subject to cross examination.

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
7:06 am

Barr’s blog, if both the sex offender and the census worker are he same gender, they cannot get married in all 50 states (

Charlie Phillips

May 28th, 2010
7:08 am

This decision, along with Kelo and a few others, makes it crystal clear that the Constitution is in real trouble in our nation.
Patrick Henry said “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
For our Supreme court to interpret the law in this way demonstrates their complete lack of understanding of such simple concepts as “individual” rights. The government does not give us our rights, nor do they have the power to take those rights away… until NOW!

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
7:13 am

Charlie, Patrick Henry’s observations, were at best “hypothetical”. We all know a hypothesis is an “educated guess” or theory which is unproved. At the time the Constitution was a mere “unproved idea” and I think history shows us, his worst fears were realized (the government uses the power of freedom to control us). I’d better stop this subversive rant, lest the NSA or CIA send Jack Bauer to my home to shoot me in the kneecap.

Charlie Phillips

May 28th, 2010
7:27 am

@ neo-Carlinist ~ To you, it appears, everything is hypothetical… including our rights, our founding documents and the role of government. I would submit to you that your observations are nothing more than a hypothesis, which cannot be proven or disproven and your hypothetical scenario of government agents coming to shoot you is perfectly acceptable within your ideological and philosophical views. After all, the Creator God who endowed you with your rights is just hypothetical, therefore you have no rights, and the men with guns can do what they want.

Karen

May 28th, 2010
7:28 am

Sorry Bob, save your outrage for some other group deserving of second chances–not violent, incorrigible sex offenders prone to re-offend.

They don’t need your pity nor your protection. Why don’t you try protecting potential victims instead?

Jethro

May 28th, 2010
7:33 am

Quite the conundrum. On the one hand, the person who committed the crime served his time; he fulfilled his obligation to the sentencing authority. On the other hand, the crime for which he was convicted was a trespass against a minor who, the law recognizes, is not as capable of protecting himself as an adult would be under similar circumstances.

True, the court cannot legitimately foresee the criminals intent to commit another crime. However, because of the nature of these crimes, the law also cannot assume that a potential victim would have the wherewithal to defend himself. A 9 year old girl would not be able to fend for herself against a sexual predator as would a 21 year old girl. While government is not a nanny, government does have an obligation to protect it’s citizens (promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty).

Quite the conundrum indeed.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 28th, 2010
7:40 am

Good morning all. I think the 7-2 ruling is oddly inconsistent with the juvenile “cruel and unusual punishment” rulings of the past couple of years. The court’s deference on the Federal sex crimes strikes me as more obnoxious than the judgments overruling harsh state treatment of violent criminals; if anything I think they got both rulings backwards. I suspect this current 7-2 probably reflects the likely result of proposed Congressional action stripping American citizens of citizenship for “terrorist” acts. Seemingly Scalia and Thomas are the only ones who consistently get it right.

bob

May 28th, 2010
7:41 am

Spell check the link on the main page “prision”

Scout

May 28th, 2010
7:45 am

Conservative White Male :

LOL !

Seriously, this is why we need the death penalty for serious crimes more than ever !!!

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
7:50 am

Charlie, I would not disagree with you, because as my mentor George Carlin pointed out in 2007 (check it out on YouTube sometime); each nation has a different number of “rights” bestowed upon it by different “gods”. This chat is probably more existential or philosophical (hypothetical) and Constitutional. My point is, Patrick Henry’s fears have been realized in that the Constitution has “empowered” the government to regulate and barter “rights” to serve its own needs (power, control, taxation), as opposed to We the People. the only truly free society is one of anarchy, and rights do not exist in such a a society. Freedom exists, but if I am free to kill or steal from you, you have no rights. You are free to defend yourself, or counter-attack, but this is “survival” a right? Americans have foolishly assumed that “rights” and “freedom” mean the same thing. When a rattlesnake kills a mouse, or a hawk grabs a squirrel, this is true freedom, and “rights” have nothing to do with it. The earluy pioneers were “free” to head west and live or die (indians, disease, natural disasters), but who gave them the “right” to take land from the Apache, Navajo and Souix? Their “Creator”? What “the Great Spirity” who created the Souix, Navajo and Comanche? I am not a Christian, but when I was, I was lead to believe the same “Creator” created us all, which means those settlers believe they were “more endowed” than the Native Americans. I’ve said this many times, I think we have a pretty good deal here in the USA; better than most, but we do not enjoy “freedom” and ironically, it is the Bill of Rights that has put conditions on our freedom, as opposed to granting freedom (see: “men with guns” – or in some instances, Court Orders).

Really

May 28th, 2010
7:50 am

Karen, do you understand precedent? Put another way, Karen. Let’s say fifty years from now your posterity has a case pending before the Supreme Court and clearly your posterity is due redress from the court, but due to precedent your prosterity is told in so many words public fears trump his/her rights.

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
8:08 am

Really, You must be an attorney (not that there’s anything wrong with it). the very concept of “precedent” demonstrates that all laws/rights are hypothetical or subject to modification/change. It’s a shell game. Politicians and lawyers exist to change the rules as the game progresses. Again, as George Carlin pointed out, the Constitution was so well thought out, it has been amended (modified) 27 times. And actually, “private fears” (as in the private sector business interests) do “trump” our rights (see: Patriot Act, see Bush Doctrine of Pre-emptive War, see: Japanese Internment Camps 1942-1945, etc.). The government (Charlie’s “men with guns”) has the power to excercise ITS rights. Does a sex offender have “the right” to assault or molest another person? They certainly have “precedent” (it’s been done before).

nelsonhoward

May 28th, 2010
8:11 am

The federal government does not have the right to civilly commit prisoners beyond their period of sentence. In U.S. v Comstock, 5 prisoners challenged their detention under the civil commitment provisions.

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
8:21 am

oh, and one more thing; where do “freedom” and “rights” come into play when a convicted rapist is acquitted because of DNA evidence, 10 or 15 years after the conviction (and he has spent 10-15 years in State Prison)? who gave the government “the right” to wrongfully accuse an innocent man of rape? a cornerstone of “freedom” is honesty, and PEOPLE LIE ALL THE TIME (especially in court, or when legal tender is involved). In order for Americans to enjoy true freedom, Ronald Regan would have said “we did trade arms for hostages”. Bill Clinton would have said; “…I DID have sex with that woman…” Dick Cheney would have said; “…I told Scooter Libby to burn Valerie Plame’s CIA cover because her husband wrote an editorial critical of our plan to invade Iraq…” Heck, 50% of marriages in this country end in divorce because one spouse or another lies when he/she says “I do”. The question I always ask is not whether or not we have “rights” or whether or not we are “free”. The question I have is; did the Founding Fathers rig the deck from day one, or is the current mess simply a case of human nature (self-serving, dishonest, duplicitous) manifesting itself in our political ownership class, who at some point between 1790 and 2010, learned to “game” the system?

Bye Bye Constitution

May 28th, 2010
8:22 am

This is truly unbelievable. While the crimes committed by sex offenders are horrible, the fact that the SC has ruled the government can hold someone beyond their time served because they might commit that crime again is a blatant violation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. As BB pointed out, this is not about sex offenders, it is about the government’s ability to imprison without cause. What would be next: we will hold you indefinatley since you got in a fist fight and might commit murder in the future. This sets a horrible legal precedent and it appears we now need an additional “check and balance” on the Supreme Court. Our founding fathers are rolling in their graves.

DW

May 28th, 2010
8:27 am

This is just plain wrong reguardless of the offense

Hillbilly Deluxe

May 28th, 2010
8:28 am

Change the law to make it a life sentence and the problem is solved. When a person has done their time, you have to let them out. This is a question for the Legislative branch, not the Judicial branch.

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
8:38 am

DW, hate to whip a dead horse, but the fact that the Supreme Court (dissenters aside) believes certain crimes require a “Mulligan” when it comes to sentencing, suggests to me; the first rule is there are no rules. Heck, Roman Polanski thinks he has the right to be a “sexual predator”. Good thing he’s not on the SCOTUS. Rand Paul is taking flack for his interpretation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act; as if the “men with guns” have the right to tell a business owner how to run his business – and I am not talking about government run schools, or office buildings, or organizations – I am talking about some cracker in EBF who runs a gin joint or beanery; or some habedashery on Rodeo Drive. Class assignment. Everyone go to Alpharetta Highway and ask to test drive a Ferrari. Let’s see how many folks are “discriminated” against because of credit score, net worth, or employment status.

Bye Bye Constitution

May 28th, 2010
8:42 am

Neo

Your assuming that what the Supreme Court “believes” is law vs. the Constitution being the Supreme Law…..The Supreme Court can be wrong…

itpdude

May 28th, 2010
8:42 am

I know there are studies out there stating it is impossible to reform a sex offender. Maybe that is the rationale, however, it does seem awfully un-American to incarcerate someone for an offense they have yet to commit.

Can we expect males from the ages of 16-24 to be incarcerated because they are the most likely segment of society to commit a crime next? How about black males of that age group? Can we incarcerate them for crimes not yet committed?

It’s surprising the decision was agreed upon by 7 Justices. Sad, too.

Bye Bye Constitution

May 28th, 2010
8:44 am

Neo…

Also credit score, net worth, and employment status are not part of the protected classes when it comes to discrimination….

Really

May 28th, 2010
8:45 am

neo-Carlinist, I too am a Carlin fan. I see you do not lean left nor right but you gravitate toward rational. Conservatives are now screaming the latest pick for SCOTUS is too liberal because she clerked for Thurgood Marshall who said the Constitution was imperfect. As you so eloquently alluded to in your post- amended and amended. Not a lawyer-did major in Criminal Justice and attended law school briefly but became a pot head.

Jethro

May 28th, 2010
8:46 am

Actually, the Constitution has only been amended 17 times. The first 10 were original.

TGL

May 28th, 2010
8:46 am

What? I don’t understand. They are opening doors for some sexual deviants and locking others away. It is okay to be gay, but not a pedophile. You know gays and pedophiles say the exact same thing… “I can’t help it. It is just the way I was made. Do you think I would choose this lifestyle.” Heck, if you are going to open the door for some pervs, then you need to open the door for all!

TGL

May 28th, 2010
8:47 am

End discrimination against pedophiles, NOW!

DW

May 28th, 2010
8:48 am

Youre a smart guy BYE BYE. The fact that people are okay with the govt keeping people in jail for something they havent even done yet is sickening.

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
8:49 am

Bye Bye Constitution, see my convicted/acuitted of rape hypothesis. see my 1942 executive order comments. THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALWAYS HAD THE POWER (not the right, the power) TO HOLD PEOPLE INDEFININATELY. they’re just really good at not abusing it (the government is really good at urinating on Americans and telling us it is raining). most of the time we’re “bought off” with the BCS Championship, American Idol or the beauty contest held every four years to determine who lives in the White House, but when push comes to shove power does what it wants to meet its own needs, and it needs more power. This isn’t a novel concept; Thomas Paine “figgered” it out before we even had a Republic.

The Thin Guy

May 28th, 2010
8:53 am

One way to cut down on the number of sex offenders is to eliminate some of the sex crimes. What a person does in the privacy of his own home with his/her own computer is his/her business. There are no virtual victims. A government that can put you in prison for viewing naked people on your pc can also put you in prison for viewing political web sites. We need to end using law enforcement officials going onto internet chat rooms pretending to be teenage girls desperately seeking sex with old men. There are plenty of crimes that they can be working on instead of entrapping people dumb enough to believe that the internet will provide them with companionship. End victimless crimes.

TGL

May 28th, 2010
8:53 am

Let pedophiles serve openly in the military! (That might solve a lot of problems, actually.)

TGL

May 28th, 2010
8:55 am

Right on Thin Guy, I do love those teenage girls. It is just the way I was made. I can’t help it!

TGL

May 28th, 2010
8:56 am

I would never choose this lifestyle. Who would? Who would chose a lifestyle of ridicule?

DW

May 28th, 2010
8:58 am

Thin guy, reminds me of the saying “no harm, no foul”

rdh

May 28th, 2010
9:00 am

It’s tough. It’s similar to not allowing convicted felons who have served their time to purchase guns. Or, individuals who have any record whatsoever to carry a weapon. If you have served your time and paid your debt to society, you SHOULD get your full rights restored…. else the sentence should have been longer/different.

Sex crimes are not typical crime-and-punishment crimes. There is no way to know the intent of the the ex-con, and they have been proven to commit further crimes at a high rate (about 40%), though only about 3% were sexually related. Still, that means if you let 10,000 child molesters out of jail, 300 children will be molested within 3 years… and (probably) many more go unreported. A lot of study has gone into predicting recidivism of sex offenders, and some studies show an extremely high rate of recidivism among certain classes of offenders (violent, offenses against the very young, offenses, etc). These predators are almost certain to commit offenses again.

It is tough when we have to balance the rights of “one innocent man” against the extremely high probability that they will commit a new sexual crime. Thus, we are balancing the rights of one or two innocent men (who would not commit again) against the 8 or 9 predators and their 9+ victims (they often commit new offenses against more than one victim).

I am sorry for the 10 or 20% of predators who will not perp again, but I have to side with the victims left in the wake of the other 80%.

Mr. Grumpy

May 28th, 2010
9:07 am

Man, I didn’t realize we had all these experts on interpreting the U.S. Constitution. I also find it interesting (if a bit confusing) that some of you so-called conservatives all of a sudden believe there’s some horrible violation of the Fourth Amendment’s Due Process Clause because a court can extend a term of incarceration on a U.S. citizen because he/she MIGHT re-offend. Barr’s analogy of the embezzler is a bit of a stretch since I’ve never seen any research which indicates that embezzlers, as a group, have a compulsion to re-offend. There is, hoever, a large body of research that shows clearly that sex offenders (especially chjild molesters and serial rapists) do re-offend.

In addition, civil commitments of U.S. citizens have been happening for many, many years, and especially to prisoners committed to mental institutions as they approach the end of their prison sentences. Where’s the outrage by conservatives with that group. All the state has to do is present medical testimony that the prisoner presents a threat to himself “or others” if he’s released from confinement, and he’ll get a free trip to confinement in a facility that will “treat” him for his “illness.” Happens in Georgia all the time.

TGL

May 28th, 2010
9:09 am

Mr. Grumpy, you sure are grumpy. Being a lib, can you get on my ‘Pedophiles have rights too’ bandwagon. I am not getting a lot of support. Are you going to discriminate against me? If so, you are a bigot! I did not choose this lifestyle. It is just the way I was made.

rdh

May 28th, 2010
9:10 am

BTW, there are a lot of studies on this:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=predicting+recidivism+of+sexual+predators&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

Look at page 78 of this study using Static-99:

http://www.annasalter.com/shows/show23.pdf

That is an eventual 90% rate for high risk offenders. You let one of these guys out and there is a 90% chance that he will commit a sexual offense again. This is a guy that can never be put into society again.

TGL

May 28th, 2010
9:11 am

We need to send someone to scan Thin Guy’s computer ;) .

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
9:13 am

Really, and how about your “right” to smoke pot? In some states, if you raise your hand and ask politely (prescription from a M.D.), you have the right to smoke pot, but in others, the Government has the right to just say “no”. you are an example that we all have the freedom to smoke weed, but the government has the right to criminalize this “freedom”. Re: pedophiles – they prey on minors, who actually have no rights, so the government assumes the “right” to protect them and ensure their “best interests” are served; what about two consenting adults who wish to get married? In some states same sex couples can marry, but in other states they cannot. In some states, the “state” recognizes a “civil union” (bestowing the same rights as heterosexual civil unions), but does not refer to the union as a “marriage”. and for all the Constitutional purists, is marriage or sexuality even mentioned in the Constitution? If a Christian, Jew, Muslim or Wiccan wants to get “married” it is between the couple and whatever god – or rock they worship. But where in the Constitution does the government assume the authority (right) to endorse some relationship, but not others? Again, 14th amendment comes to mind. The government has no more right or authority to make a white supremicist “like” Mexicans, Negroes and Asians, than it does the power to force homosexual men to “like” women, or lesbians to favor heterosexual men.

TGL

May 28th, 2010
9:17 am

The government has no more right or authority to make a white supremicist “like” Mexicans, Negroes and Asians, than it does the power to force homosexual men to “like” women, or lesbians to favor heterosexual men.

YOU are exactly right.

Mr. Grumpy

May 28th, 2010
9:19 am

TGL–IF you are TRULY a pedophile and you think it’s oaky to have sex with little girls or little boys, do us all a favor. Jump off the top of the Peachtree Plaza Hotel, and try not to hit anyone on the way down. When it comes to protecting children from perverted adults, I proudly stand before you as a bigot who would consider it a duty and, in deed, an honor to discrminate against you. Where is it written in any history of any culture that adults have “a right” to engage in sexual acts with children?

Really

May 28th, 2010
9:29 am

neo-Carlinist, my smoking pot and dropping out of law school happened over thirty years ago, and I no longer indulge. I don’t see your need to lecture me. I believe my point in my last post was to let you know that we are basically in agreement, although you are basically being philosophical for the sake of being philosophical.

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
9:33 am

Mr. Grumpy, I am with you in my opinion of pedofiles, but history is full of examples of adults who believe they have the right to have sex with children. Way back when, we could look at the Greeks. Fast forward to Victorian England. Google: Oscar Wilde – “rent boy”. Want examples a little closer to home? Remember the case of the Fundamentalist Mormans in Texas? Their “culture” endorsed “spiritual marriages” between adult males and minor teenage girls. If I really want to be a wise-a** let’s look at the Vatican/Catholic church. I mentioned Roman Polanski, who defiantly claimed that the judge in his case was merely upset because he could not have sex with a 14 year-old (and there is a sub-culture in Hollywood and the US that supports him). Again, I do not belive pedofiles have the “right” to have sex with minors, and I’d lock them up and throw away the key, but many cultures thoughout history have different standards when it comes to the “age of consent” or when a female becomes an “adult”. Again, I am not defending these cultures, or their ‘rights’, but they certainly exist

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
9:36 am

Really, I was not attempting to lecture. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

spf15

May 28th, 2010
9:38 am

I’m not a lawyer, but at least according to the following editorial, the decision declined to rule on the specifics that Mr Barr is objecting to: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/25/opinion/la-ed-offenders-20100525

quoting from that editorial:
“Whether sex offenders can be detained even after they have completed their sentences is an important question that pits individual rights against public safety. But when the Supreme Court ruled last week on a federal law allowing such confinement, it didn’t address that basic issue. It should do so in a future case” … ” In his majority opinion, Justice Stephen G. Breyer noted that the court failed to address the issue of whether the statute violated prisoners’ constitutional rights by requiring that they be held indefinitely even after they had served their criminal sentences.”

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
9:39 am

well, I was lecturing everyone else. I don’t think I was being phiolosphical for the sake of being philosophical. I was trying to demonstrate (via your example) that rights and freedoms are not the same.

neo-Carlinist

May 28th, 2010
9:55 am

AND, if the SCOTUS believes “public safety” trumps “individual rights” then we are not free and there are no individual rights (if they can be abridged by the State). again, we still might have a better deal than most, but let’s all admit that maybe Ben Franklin’s doomsday scenario (those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither) was unavoidable and it is not possible to have a “secure” and “free” society. this case speaks to the very nature of “public safety” and whether or not security is the responsibility of the government or the individual? for example, if my child (minor) is assaulted by an adult, I would think I have not only the right, but the obligation to kill the sexual predator. not only would this serve my individual need for justice, but I would be furthering “public safety”. but we live in a country where I’d have to dial 911, wait 10 minutes, explain the situation to an operator, who would dispatch a police officer, who will take a statement and file a report, which would be grabbed from a pile of reports by an investigator, who will pursue leads and hopefully aprehend and charge the predator, who would be read his Miranda rights, provided a free (well, not to taxpayers) attorney, who would bill hundreds of hours “vigorously defending” his/her client, who may or may not be convicted, so after all of this, the administration or meting out of “justice” has nothing to do with freedom, or the Constitution, even the guilt or innocence of the accused. Is it not odd that the State enjoys the “right” and “freedom” to muck up the process (wrongful convictions, and Ray Lewis case acquittals), but John Q. Public cannot?

Bye Bye Constitution

May 28th, 2010
9:57 am

Neo—you are wrong. The government has never HAD the power to hold anybody indefinatley. The POWER that the government has or doesn’t have is GIVEN to them by the CONSTITUTION and the people. They may choose to do something that they don’t have the right to do, but that does give them the power to do it. Just like a criminal might chose to break the law, that does not give them the right to do it. The federal government has no de facto power. It is all derived from the CONSTITUTION.