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   SUPREME COURT/Key Cases 1996-1997


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Sexual Predator Laws:
Kansas v. Hendricks
Hendricks v. Kansas

(consolidated)
Argued: Dec. 10, 1996 Decided: June 23, 1997
Votes: 9 to 0 and 5 to 4
At Issue: Whether Kansas' Sexually Violent Predator Act, which provides for the commitment, care and treatment of offenders determined to be mentally "abnormal" and a societal danger, violates principles of due process. Also, what level of constitutional scrutiny would apply to a claim that the law deprives a sexually violent predator of a liberty interest, therefore violating due process principles.
Decision: The Court ruled that states can lock up sex offenders in mental institutions even though they have already served their prison time and have been determined to be "mentally abnormal," not the higher standard of "mentally ill."

Read the full text of the Kansas v. Hendricks decision at the FindLaw Internet Legal Resources Web site.

Listen to the Kansas v. Hendricks oral argument in RealAudio at the Oyez Oyez Oyez Web site.


Background from The Post
Serve a Sentence and Stay On (editorial) (June 25, 1997)
Court Gives States Leeway In Confining Sex Offenders (June 24, 1997)
High Court Will Review State Sex Predator Laws (Dec. 11, 1996)


© Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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