Detained Sex Offenders Lose Suit Against Pataki

     MANHATTAN (CN) – Former New York Gov. George Pataki did not violate the rights of convicted sex offenders who claimed that they were kept in psychiatric hospitals after completing their prison sentences, a jury ruled.
     U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff had already ruled that the program violated prisoners’ rights to due process, but a jury was left with the task of deciding the extent to which Pataki and other state officials and psychiatric hospital officials were involved in carrying out the policy.
     Sharon Carpinello, former commissioner of the Office of Mental health, was the only defendant found liable and faces just $1 in damages.
     Jurors cleared two other defendants of liability over the so-called Sexually Violent Predator initiative: former Correctional Services Commissioner Glenn Goord and former director of the Manhattan Psychiatric Center Eileen Consilvio.
     A class of more than 127 “sexually violent predators” sued Pataki and the other officials in November 2009, saying they were committed to a state psychiatric hospital or other psychiatric program between September 2005 and April 2007 even after they served their prison sentences.
     They said they should have been released, or should have been released sooner.
     The practice ended in 2006 after Rakoff ruled that several plaintiffs deserved hearings before they were committed.
     After the jury verdict’s announcement, Pataki’s attorney Abbe Lowell said in a statement that the former governor “sought to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers and make sure that they were well-served by the government. He achieved this by keeping the law and the constitution priorities all the time. The jury verdict confirmed this.”
     During the trial, defense attorneys pointed out that fewer than 200 inmates of the nearly 800 examined were committed to mental institutions.

%d bloggers like this: