I Don’t Like this One Bit

Joe Huffman brings up a scary decision that just made it’s way out of the Supreme Court. The case that was just decided pretty much gives the government power to incarserate you indefinably. Of course this case involved a sex offender which is why speaking against the ruling will automatically get you hatred from your peers but alas I could care less so here we go:

In a broad endorsement of federal power, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Congress has the authority under the Constitution to allow the continued civil commitment of sex offenders after they have completed their criminal sentences.

Yes that’s right even though you’ve completed your sentence handed down by a judge after conviction by a jury the federal government can chose to extend your punishment after the fact. The very scary part here is the fact the extension of punishment doesn’t even have to pass muster with a jury but only a judge:

The federal law at issue in the case allows the government to continue to detain prisoners who had engaged in sexually violent conduct, suffered from mental illness and would have difficulty controlling themselves. If the government is able to prove all of this to a judge by “clear and convincing” evidence — a heightened standard, but short of “beyond a reasonable doubt” — it may hold such prisoners until they are no longer dangerous or a state assumes responsibility for them.

We all know phrases like “beyond a reasonable double” and “clear and convincing” translate into “whatever the fuck we want” when spoken by the federal government so neither of those two clauses fill me with confidence. Likewise a single judge could very well decide that you stay in jail for life even if you were only sentenced to 10 years.

So now we come to the big problem what to do with people in prison whom are still deemed a potential threat to society? In essence in order to keep such a person in prison we have to give up some of our liberty to the government. I’m a big believer in Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Personally I don’t believe the risk of losing any liberty could possibly outweigh the potential danger of releasing a prisoner even if they are dangerous.

Of course I’m not one to just complain without offering some kind of potential solution so here it is. If a person is charged with a sex offense (a real one not a bullshit one like taking a piss in public) make part of the punishment committing the offender to a mental facility where he or she can receive treatment and can not be let loose until a psychological evaluation has been passed (and by passed I mean judged by a board of psychologists chosen in a similar manner to a jury not a single doctor). Obviously it’s not a perfect solution but it would offer two things: a method of ensuring a dangerous person is not released into society and the said dangerous person can get treatment for their problem which simply imprisoning them doesn’t accomplish.

But simply stating somebody is a possible danger to society and keeping them locked up indefinably even though that goes beyond the handed down punishment is a violation of essential liberties. This type of power is far too dangerous to hand to the federal government, an entity that has proven itself time and time again they don’t give a shit about your rights.