Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R,C-Macedon) today expressed his deep disappointment with a recent state Supreme Court ruling that determined several convicted sex offenders are being held illegally in mental-health facilities after they completed their prison terms.
“Fortunately, Governor Pataki has decided to appeal the court ruling, and I applaud his efforts on this issue, as I did his initial executive decision to civilly confine these individuals,” said Assemblyman Oaks. “Unfortunately, none of this legal haggling would be required if the Assembly majority held a vote on civil confinement legislation earlier this year.”
Civil confinement legislation has passed the state Senate for several years in a row, and Gov. George Pataki is prepared to sign it into law as soon as the Assembly considers the measure, which specifically targets sex offenders.
“We are now in the precarious situation of having a ruling by a Manhattan-based Supreme Court justice that 12, Level 3 sex offenders are being illegally detained in mental-health treatment hospitals, bringing about a potentially dangerous situation in our state,” continued Oaks. “These offenders have been determined to have a high potential of repeating their sex offenses, but under this court ruling, they would be released back into their communities.”
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have civil confinement laws for convicted sex offenders. The laws withstood legal challenges by opponents when the U.S. Supreme Court previously declared the statutes constitutional.
New York state government makes it possible for residents throughout the state to determine if a convicted sex offender is living in their community or neighborhood by visiting the Division of Criminal Justices Web site at www.criminaljustice.state.ny.us. State-designated Level 3 offenders are classified as the most dangerous of convicted sexual predators and are considered highly likely to repeat their crimes once they are released from state prisons.