- Associated Press - Thursday, October 29, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The latest on a federal judge’s order requiring a review of all sex offenders in Minnesota’s civil commitment program (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

Gov. Mark Dayton says he’s concerned that fast-forwarding evaluations for confined Minnesota sex offenders could put some back on the streets prematurely.

Dayton said Thursday’s mandate from a federal judge that Minnesota assess the transfers or possible discharge of civilly committed offenders isn’t wise. He says he’ll do all he can to keep dangerous offenders in secure settings.

Dayton says he’s cognizant of constitutional rights of the mostly male offenders in the sex offender program but notes they committed heinous acts to wind up there. “I don’t want anybody walking the streets of Minnesota or going into a shopping center or anywhere else to be a victim of somebody where that prospective evaluation proved to be incorrect,” the Democratic governor said.

Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson says the state lacks the money and staff to do evaluations as quickly as Judge Donovan Frank wants and hasn’t lined up the less-restrictive facilities to house many offenders on the verge of release.

3:35 p.m.

The state of Minnesota has filed a notice of appeal with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal judge ordered a risk assessment of all sex offenders in the state’s restrictive civil confinement program.

The order from U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank on Thursday gave the state its first chance to appeal his rulings in the case. Frank had already ruled the program unconstitutional. He set a swift timetable Thursday for state officials to carry out the review and to start transferring lower-risk offenders.

Gov. Mark Dayton says he hopes Frank will stay his ruling pending the appeal.

1:45 p.m.

The attorney for sex offenders who successfully sued over its civil commitment program says it’s unclear when evaluations of patients will commence.

U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank on Thursday ordered risk assessments for all 700-plus offenders in order to determine which can be released or transferred. The ruling comes months after Frank declared the program unconstitutional but stopped short of shutting it down or ordering changes.

Dan Gustafson said Thursday that his clients are pleased but “frustrated with the slow pace” of the court proceedings. An appeal by the state could drag that out further.

Gustafson says the court will help determine a timeline for the evaluations. He says there are clearly some residents who no longer fit the criteria to be held at the two facilities but declined to guess how many.


1:15 p.m.

A federal judge has ordered a risk assessment of all sex offenders in Minnesota’s restrictive civil confinement program to determine which can be put on a pathway for release.

Judge Donovan Frank on Thursday laid out what he says must be done to fix problems with indefinite detentions that he earlier ruled unconstitutional. Frank’s decision undoubtedly sets the stage for an appeal by state officials and lawyers, who argue they are properly holding more than 700 offenders they consider too risky to free.

Frank’s ruling sets a swift timetable for state officials to carry out the review and start transferring lower-risk offenders. He says he could order further changes later.

Offenders in a pair of secure treatment facilities are sent there after they complete their criminal punishments.

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