NY Courts Limiting Civil Commitment Of Sex Offenders


In 1988, Mustafa Rashid broke into a home, raped one woman, sodomized another, and stabbed a third person who tried to break up the home invasion. In 2000, less than a year after being released on parole, Rashid robbed three homes over four days. Last month, New York's highest court decided Rashid could not be civilly committed as a dangerous sex offender, reports the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle in the second of a series.

Offenders can be civilly committed only if they're leaving prison or parole after conviction of a sexually motivated crime. Rashid, judges ruled, was jailed on robbery and weapons charges that were not, under the law, sexually driven. He had been one of nearly 400 criminals who state mental health officials determined were so much of a risk that they should be confined in a psychiatric institution for sex offenders or placed in a strict community supervision program. The case and its legal contortions reveal how the state's civil commitment program will likely face numerous legal challenges.

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