A November ruling by the state’s highest court, which unanimously found that the state was wrong to keep sexual predators behind bars without prior court hearings, has prompted Governor George E. Pataki to call a special legislative session to address the hotly debated civil confinement issue.
Assemblyman Joe Giglio (R-Gowanda) is calling for a quick and productive session, slated for Wednesday, December 13, that will serve in the best interest of children and families in New York state.
“At stake is our children’s safety,” said Giglio. “This issue has been at the forefront of our conference’s agenda throughout the year. The time is now to make the necessary changes to the law in accordance with the court ruling, but we must be firm with our dealings with sexual predators. They do not deserve to be in the same communities as our families.”
The court has also ordered that, should the state continue to seek civil confinement for sexual predators past their prison terms, it will have to use a more strict procedure in holding court hearings before detaining the sex offender.
“The court has ruled and we will respond accordingly,” said Giglio. “We have the opportunity to begin the process anew, while making sure these violent predators are kept away from our children and families.”
Giglio points to the Senate as having repeatedly passed legislation legalizing civil confinement, while the majority-controlled Assembly has passed a bill that is not nearly as harsh as the Senate’s, leaving the Governor to use a state law pertaining to the involuntary commitments of the mentally ill to keep some sexual predators incarcerated past their release dates.
“Assembly leadership needs to hear the calls of the people of this state. They want violent offenders locked up and off the streets,” said Giglio. “I remain committed to securing a stiff civil confinement law that addresses the court’s ruling while serving in the best interest of the people of this state.”