03 Jun Virginia: Sex Crime Victims – a Lawyer’s Predator
In Harris v. Commonwealth, 279 Va. 123 (2010), the Virginia Supreme Court addressed Virginia’s Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act, Va. Code Ann. §37.2-900, et seq., In a victory for crime victims, it upheld the civil commitment of an incarcerated sex offender to the custody of Virginia’s Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services for “appropriate treatment and confinement in a secure facility”. Id. at 127, 129.
The Commonwealth of Virginia had identified the wrong predicate criminal offense in its Petition for inclusion in its “database as a prisoner incarcerated for a sexually violent offense”. Id. at 126-127. But Harris found no error in the trial court allowing the Commonwealth to amend and not dismissing the Petition, id. at 129-130; thereby safeguarding potential crime victims from a potential recidivist being released after serving his criminal sentence.