Sexual Predator Laws: A Two-Decade Retrospective
9 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2009
Date Written: December 2008
The year 2009 approaches the twentieth anniversary of the birth of sexual predator legislation, a family of laws aimed at controlling sexual violence through "regulatory" schemes of prevention - schemes that claim exemption from the constraints surrounding the normal "charge and conviction" paradigm of the criminal justice system. This same two-decade time span has witnessed the most energetic, sweeping legislative agenda on sexual offenders in memory.
This brief Article identifies the broad arc of these developments, tracing key legal issues, as well as the ways in which the existence of this new legal approach has shaped both other areas of the law and the behavioral sciences.
Keywords: SVP, sexually violent predator, as-applied invalidation, abstention doctrine, fact-deference doctrine, constitutional law, substantive due process, sex crimes, habeas corpus, right to treatment
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