Dayton Hopes Judge Delays Sex Offender Ruling
St PAUL, Minn. (AP) —The state of Minnesota has filed a notice of appeal with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal judge ordered a risk assessment of all sex offenders in the state's restrictive civil confinement program.
The order from U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank on Thursday gave the state its first chance to appeal his rulings in the case. Frank had already ruled the program unconstitutional. He set a swift timetable Thursday for state officials to carry out the review and to start transferring lower-risk offenders.
Governor Mark Dayton says he hopes Frank will stay his ruling pending the appeal. Dayton says he's concerned that fast-forwarding evaluations for confined Minnesota sex offenders could put some back on the streets prematurely. Dayton said Thursday's mandate isn't wise and he will do all he can to keep dangerous offenders in secure settings.
Dayton says he's cognizant of constitutional rights of the mostly male offenders in the sex offender program but notes they committed heinous acts to wind up there. "I don't want anybody walking the streets of Minnesota or going into a shopping center or anywhere else to be a victim of somebody where that prospective evaluation proved to be incorrect," the Democratic governor said.
Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson says the state lacks the money and staff to do evaluations as quickly as Frank wants and hasn't lined up the less-restrictive facilities to house many offenders on the verge of release.