Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Minority: Home Run on Megan's Law, Civil Commitment on Deck
Tedisco says his conference will push immediate action on civil commitment

Fresh from victory on a strengthened Megan's Law, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R-C-I, Schenectady, Saratoga) today promised his conference would push for a bill that would require the civil commitment of sexually violent predators after they've completed their prison sentence.

Tedisco specifically said that a Joint Conference Committee should immediately be convened similar to the one that delivered the agreement on a strengthened Megan's Law just yesterday.

"The new Megan's Law is a victory for children and families but it's only the first step. Civil commitment has to be next," said Tedisco. "Individuals who would molest a child have a mental abnormality. Upon completion of their prison sentence these individuals need to be committed to secure mental facilities where they would receive supervision and professional help."

Tedisco said that Assembly Minority members have been pushing a civil commitment law for 13 years but that it has been repeatedly blocked by the Majority. Tedisco said that in light of recent horrific examples of child sex crimes the pressure for passage is extremely high.

Under the civil commitment law a person would be determined to be a "sexually violent predator" after a jury unanimously found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person committed a sexually violent offense and also suffers from a mental abnormality - a congenital or acquired condition, disease or disorder that affects the capacity of that person in a manner that predisposes him or her to the commission of further sexual violent offenses. After such a jury finding, the person would be committed to a secure facility for care, treatment and control until such time as he or she is no longer a sexually violent predator.

Once a decision to commit has been made, the individual must be evaluated at least once every year by a psychiatric examiner who shall report his or her findings to the Commissioner with jurisdiction over the facility in which the person is committed. If the Commissioner determines that the person is no longer a sexually violent predator, he or she shall authorize the person to petition the court for discharge from commitment.

New York State Assembly
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