Virginia to consider repealing civil commitment law

RICHMOND, Va. — Two Virginia Democratic lawmakers are spearheading a push to repeal a decades-old law that allows the state to hold certain sex offenders at psychiatric facilities indefinitely after their criminal sentences if they are deemed “sexually violent predators.”

Critics say civil commitment laws are fundamentally unfair and violate the constitutional prohibition against punishing someone twice for the same crime. Supporters counter that the laws protect society from repeat offenders who are unable to control their behavior.

Sen. Joe Morrissey and Del. Patrick Hope, both Democrats, are co-sponsoring legislation that would end the state’s authority to civilly commit sex offenders.

“It is as archaic and as Neanderthal a process as I can imagine,” said Morrissey, a defense attorney and lead patron of the bill that would repeal 1999’s Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act.

“We don’t sentence people because of what they might do,” he said. “That’s abhorrent to everything that our democracy and our criminal justice system believes in.”

Twenty states and the federal government now have civil commitment laws, which have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Robin Vander Wall

Robin is NCRSOL's president.

One thought on “Virginia to consider repealing civil commitment law

  • September 28, 2021 at 11:03 pm
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    Hey Robin,
    Isn’t it funny as hell! Down goes the bronze statute of you know who via iconclasm, only to be inevitably replaced by another man. Only this time the property owners who maintained the conscription of slavery and free labor are database driven entities, and they will appoint no general. Where but in America could slavery once again be reconstituted and sold as for those presumably unable to properly govern themselves? With every Empire comes imperialism and slavery. Precisely how the Pharaohs built the wondrous pyramids. A machine to pierce heavens. Either free men are paid wages to maintain databases, or they are not. Like the Pharaohs, Plantation owners used hired men too, but the slaves provide commodity. Some will fight to the death to defend the utility. How do you know its imperialism. There is no record in the record.

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