Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Indefinite prison for sexually violent predators may violate Constitution, California Supreme Court says

The California Supreme Court decided 5 to 2 today that a 2006 ballot initiative that permits the state to lock up sexually violent predators indefinitely may violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection.

The ruling, written by Justice Carlos R. Moreno, did not strike down the measure.

Instead, the court said a fact-finding hearing must be held to determine whether valid reasons exist for treating sex predators differently from others subject to civil confinement, such as mentally disordered offenders.

Justice Ming Chin, joined by Justice Marvin Baxter, dissented.

"Whether sexually violent predators present a distinct danger warranting unique remedies is for society to determine, not a trial judge," Chin wrote.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Comments () | Archives (14)

Yes, lock them up and throw away the key. All I see are stories about how a parolee or registered sex offender abduct someone and end up sexually assaulting and, in most cases, kill or seriously harm their newest victim. Victims that do survive their assault have to live the rest of their lives with that memory, which usually has some psychological effect on them and changes that person forever. The person who chooses to destroy another persons life by sexually assaulting them new exactly what they were doing and chose to do so and should pay for that choice the rest of their life, the same way the victim and/or their family does.

it's about time for this. "Sexually violent predator" or not, current practices by some judges amount to life sentencing for crimes that are not on the books as life sentences. Change the law or change the "de facto" sentencing for sexually violent predators to match what has been approved for sentencing by the people of California.

some of these people are mentally ill and so why should they be in the criminal system? just like those moms who kill their kids get dragged into criminal trials. a "crime" implies that a normal-thinking person did it.

also maybe california should lower the age to 16 so we stop going after all these 'borderline' cases.

In response to Dave, the civil commitment only comes AFTER someone has finished their prison sentence, and SVP only comes in to play if the person has had two separate convictions.

If that is all RS sees, that is RS is looking for. What kind of story would it be if the majority of individuals do not, in most cases, "kill or seriously harm their newest victim" or do not reoffend at all? How would we hear about them? There is something wrong when society condones unconstitutional laws and state supreme courts across the nation are overturning some of these law on constitutional grounds. If victims do not like the Constitution, try to amend it. Empathy wears thin when it is used and manipulated like this.

Persons that rape and kill innocent people and children should be placed in an island surrounded by sharks, they do not deserve to be fed , given medical attention, be educated etc etc these things are for the normal persons who work hard and are forced to pay taxes to support them, they need to go back to hell where they came from, this is my opinion

Lock them up and throw away the key???

Let's just do away them since they are and NEVER will be of any use to our community.

Desparate time ask for desparate measures. Since our county, state and fedaral governments are all hurting for money.

What about the person who take a life and are let out in 15years or less

Childhood sexual abuse is an assault on the body, mind and spirit of a young person. It's like taking a knife and cutting into a young tree creating a bonsai. The child will never be the same. It is a crime and should be treated as one. Conviction, sentencing and incarceration. We now have State mental hospitals that are 100% for sex offenders. In this way society has become the predator. Add to that residency restrictions where a person can life in an apartment house with children all around but cannot live 1/2 mile from a school. All this creates is homelessness which has increased 10 times in 2 years. Homeless people can't plug in their GPS so they become off the radar. It's a crime. Treat it that way. The saddest part are the 18 year olds that will have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. Not all sex crimes make a person a menace to society. There is repentence, forgiveness and healing. It's easy to condemn. It's harder, but better, to have hope and choose life.

A sexual predator should have NO RIGHTS!!!they deserve nothing. they are sick. why should we "attempt" to help them they are only going to do it again and again until they kill someone and then maybe they will get locked away. Let them go to jail where they will be taking care of just like the awful way they took something precious from someone else. they know what they are doing when they are doing it. no excuses like they are mental etc... they knew what they were doing.

Why shouldn't they spend the rest of their life behind bars? I'm not sure that anyone that has not endured the attention of a sexual predator has any idea what the victim goes through. Yes, you can see the physical damage done. But if you haven't been there, you have no idea what it does to your mental state. How the victim deals with it every single day of their life. How a simple statement or comment by some can send you into a hysterical state. There is really no treatment for the victim that can return them to who they were before it happened. Or who they would have been. No matter how well they seem to be doing on the surface, neither you nor they ever know what will trigger the past coming back on them with a vengeance, sometimes completely undoing any treatment they were give to help them cope.
Where is the victims equal protection rights, under the law? When our Constitution was written predators like these would have been execute. There was no concern for equal protection nor the chance they would do it again. Today we seem way to concerned about people who destroy someones life, physically, emotionally, or mentally. The victim has some sense of security when the perpetrator is behind bars, but where is the concern for victim when they finds out that the person that violated them so viciously is back on the same streets with them again. Where is the victim to find security then? They don't. The nightmares come back and the whole ordeal becomes as fresh as if it happened yesterday and they believe they will never be safe again.
The victim is condemned to this life, not because they did any thing wrong but because someone did it to them. Why should the perpetrator have their life restored to them when the victim never will. Just the thoughts of a victim.

Wow Who, you took the "All I See" comment a little too literally. But in any case, the story is in regards to SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS. Notice the word violent, that means they did harm to another person. Why should they get off easy with a minimal jail sentence when the victim must live the rest of their life with the unwanted memory of the experience. It's easy to say, oh they're sick they need help, but what about the victim. Yes, they can get counseling, therapy, etc.. but it doesn't change the fact THEY were attacked and must live with it FOREVER. I believe there should be even stronger penalties when the victim is a child.

Re: Understanding
Thank you for that clarification on when the civil committment is imposed. Still, is it appropriate to incarcerate people indefinitely if they have completed their sentences and *then* are determined to be a menace to society without having committed another crime? Committment doesn't happen without a judge's involvement, so I'm standing on my position. If Californians want to keep SVPs behind bars or in treatement indefinitely, then we should legislate that as a society, and as stated in the article, we need to ensure that all people are afforded equal protection under the law. It's a slippery slope for the rest of us if we don't follow that basic premise of our justice system. If not, then who will be next to be singled out? You? Me? Our kids?

I think it's time for Carlos Moreno to get thrown of the bench.
Quit worrying about criminals "rights" being violated & start thinking about the innocent victims.

These creeps have worked hard to get where they are going........straight to prison to rot away among their own kind.

Moreno you're useless & need to get a life!


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: