Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 727-1802 (c)
For Immediate Release:
Sunday, January 22, 2006

Minority: Majority Confinement Bill A Confounding Failure
Thousands of sexually violent predators unaffected by bill, soon to be released

Assembly Minority Leader James N. Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga,) Assemblyman Roy McDonald (R-C-I, Saratoga, Rensselaer) and Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett (Chairman of the Saratoga County Sex Offender Task Force) today blasted the civil confinement bill Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is set to introduce on Monday as "dangerously weak" and a "charade."

Tedisco said the bill was an attempt to fool the families of New York State that something was being done to protect children from sexually violent predators.

"Last month, we were told by the Speaker that he would put forth a bill on civil confinement. We said then that the devil was in the details. We looked at the details and sure enough there was the devil, and under this bill even the devil himself wouldn't be civilly confined," said Tedisco.

Under the Majority bill, no individual currently serving time in prison for rape or child molestation would be eligible for civil confinement. Only those convicted after the law goes into effect would be eligible

"In the weeks and months ahead hundreds of sexually violent predators will be released from prison and Speaker Silver's bill seems to be saying, 'Que sera, sera,' said Tedisco. "It is critical that we have a real civil confinement law that will keep the most dangerous and disturbed rapists and molesters off the streets, especially the ones who are in prison now because we know what they have done and the evil they are capable of."

The Assembly Minority bill covers sex offenders currently incarcerated and those who struck plea deals (guilty plea deals would exempt offenders from civil confinement under Silver's bill.)

Also, Minority members said their bill makes more sexually violent predators eligible for confinement than the Majority whose bill requires a much stricter standard before offenders could even be eligible.

Tedisco called for a Joint Conference Committee to be immediately convened similar to the one that delivered the agreement on a strengthened Megan's Law last week.

"Our mission is to protect children. If we stand for anything it is this," said Assemblyman Roy McDonald (R-C-I, Saratoga, Rensselaer.)

"The Assembly Majority needs to embrace true reforms to sexual predator laws and give us real protections for our children instead of passing off what amounts to window dressing," said Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett (Chairman of the Saratoga County Sex Offender Task Force.)

Under the Minority version of a civil confinement, or 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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