The U-S Supreme Court has ruled on the sentencing of sexually violent offenders. The High Court says states can confine violent sexual predators after their prison terms are over. The state must show the offender has a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes it difficult for him or her to control dangerous behavior. He says their reading is that Iowa’s program meets the constitutional requirement the Supreme Court set, and the ruling will have little impact on Iowa’s sexually violent predator program. Bob Brammer, spokesman in the Attorney General’s office, says the nation’s high court struck down a Kansas ruling that said a state had to prove an offender had absolutely no ability to control himself. He says the court refined its interpretation of the Kansas statute, and there will no doubt be continuing debates about how it’s applied here. Nineteen other states, including Iowa, have laws like the Kansas one involved in the ruling. A dissenting opinion by two justices of the high court says the ruling doesn’t clarify much. But the majority ruling holds that while most offenders may have some degree of self-control, the state doesn’t have to prove that they’re completely out of control to hold them in mental commitment after they’ve served a prison sentence.
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