This blog has previously mentioned the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, a program designed to hold former sex offenders after they have finished serving their sentences because the court believes they could be dangerous, and the fact that it has come under scrutiny. Several of the offenders who are trapped in this program have very little hope of getting out and they are arguing that their constitutional rights have been infringed upon.
Although a task force has been formed to recommend changes to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, it does not appear that the state legislature has done anything to enact those changes. The task force has asked the legislature to create new options, including alternatives to the high-security facilities currently in use. Specifically, the task force requested residential and outpatient options that would provide greater freedom for members of the Program.
If the state legislature does not act soon, it is very possible that a federal judge may choose to make his or her own decisions as to how the Program should operate. Former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson argues that it is better for the state to make changes than a federal judge.
What this story really shows is that anyone who is convicted of sexual assault or any sex crime could potentially face very serious punishment, even after he or she has finished his or her official sentence. This is why it is so important to work closely with an experienced criminal defense attorney whenever charged with a sex crime in Minnesota.
Source: CBS, “Interview: Sex Offender Program Under Scrutiny,” March 4, 2013
If you would like to learn more about our work with individuals charged with sexual assault, please visit our website.