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8th Circuit’s ruling threatens civil liberties of all Americans

By Noah Feldman . . . In a major blow to civil liberties, an appeals court has upheld the Minnesota system that civilly commits sex offenders after they’ve served their prison terms, a confinement from which no one has ever been fully released. The decision, filed Tuesday, used the wrong legal standard, making it too easy for the state to…

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Civil commitment setback | 8th Circuit reverses lower court

By Chris Serres . . . A federal appeals court in St. Louis has reversed a lower-court ruling that Minnesota’s sex-offender treatment program is unconstitutional — a major victory for the Minnesota Department of Human Services and a decision that could delay long-awaited reforms to the state’s system of indefinite detention for sex offenders. In a decision Tuesday, a three-judge…

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RSOL Conference 2016 “The Child Scarlet Letter” by Prof. Carpenter

At RSOL’s 2016 national conference in Atlanta, GA, Ms. Carpenter focused on children who are involved in sexual misconduct being forced to register as sex offenders, often for the remainder of their lives. This is contradictory to what research shows about best practice with juveniles. Additionally, she showed that not only is their registration an injustice that deserves greater national attention but also that…

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Packingham petition offers hope for change at nation’s highest court

By Robin . . . Among the more significant cases concerning registered citizens that have made their way to the United States Supreme Court, few have had as much potential to change the course of appellate review and affirm the First Amendment protections guaranteed to every American citizen than Packingham v. North Carolina (petition No. 15-1194). After the chief justice…

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Time has come to declare voting a universal, fundamental right

By Robin Vanderwall . . . I voted today. I know. What’s the big deal, right? Most Americans exercise the privilege sorta like they wash their cars. Sometimes it’s important. Other times, whatever. And that’s all it is, you know. A privilege. Yes, it’s 2016. Yes, we talk a good game about self-government and democracy. But voting in American, unlike…

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