Missouri Supreme Court Debates Sex Offender Rights

8 years 9 months 17 hours ago Wednesday, December 15 2010 Dec 15, 2010 Wednesday, December 15, 2010 4:14:02 PM CST December 15, 2010 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - James Brasch, a repeated sex offender--and a man deemed a "sexually violent predator" by the St. Charles County Circuit Court--had a case concerning his rights as a prisoner heard before the Missouri Supreme Court Wednesday.

Brasch, who has been in and out of jail since 1984 and recently had a term in jail expire, was not given freedom by jurors in St. Charles County.  The jurors declared him mentally unfit for a return to society.

Doctors have diagnosed Brasch with schizophrenia and anti-social behavior.

Brasch's attorney, Emmett Queener, appealed the case to the Missouri Supreme Court arguing that Brasch's constitutional rights were violated by the circuit court's decision.

"They're moving closer to punitive statutes, they're moving closer to preventative detention, and they're moving closer to warehousing these men simply to keep them off the street.  And I think that's the direction the State's headed in this argument," Queener said.

The Supreme Court did not give a formal decision, but did sharply question Queener's arguments.

Justice Michael Wolff asked of Queener: "In a regular civil commitment, the therapy which [Brasch] is getting now which keeps him calm and abates the effects of his demons is that he will be eligible for release?" Wolff asked, alluding to Queener statement that normal mental health care could change Brasch into a working member of society.

The Missouri prosecutor Jayne Woods also questioned the defense's position--saying Brasch's mental state and sexually violent history make him a danger to society. 

The state has already petitioned to commit Brasch to the Department of Mental Health.

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