Arizona justices uphold detention of sex offenders

By Carol Sowers
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 17, 2002

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The Arizona Supreme Court on Monday upheld a controversial state law that allows indefinite confinement for violent sex offenders at the Arizona State Hospital.

"This is huge," said Randall Howe, chief of the civil appeals section of the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

He said the decision will disarm defense attorneys who have raised constitutional questions about the law.

In its 5-0 decision, justices ruled that the 1996 law is in sync with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that spells out which sexual predators can be confined at the Arizona Community Protection and Treatment Center even after serving prison sentences.

Monday's ruling was triggered after the U.S. Supreme Court in April ordered Arizona justices to review the state law.

Phoenix attorney Darrow Soll agrees that the new opinion will make it difficult to win releases.

"I would have to tell my client it would be a hard row," Soll said.

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