Sex offender program debated in Missouri Supreme Court

2 years 6 months 2 days ago Wednesday, November 16 2016 Nov 16, 2016 Wednesday, November 16, 2016 2:23:00 PM CST November 16, 2016 in News
By: The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A man convicted of sodomy is challenging his commitment to a Missouri sex offender treatment program following a federal ruling that the program is unconstitutional as applied.

Carl Kirk's public defender Chelsea Mitchell told Missouri Supreme Court judges Wednesday in the capital courthouse that the program is punitive. She says no one's been released.

At issue is a law allowing a Mental Health Department program to commit offenders to secure confinement.

A federal judge ruled last year in a class-action lawsuit that the law is constitutional, but not as applied.

Mitchell says that also means the commitment process is inadequate and should be revamped.

Assistant Attorney General Gregory Goodwin says the current process protects offenders' rights. He disputed that the law is punitive, and says there are opportunities for release.

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