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Federal court delays sex offender order

ST. PAUL -- A federal appeals court is allowing Minnesota to not follow a lower court order to change its sex offender treatment program, at least for the time being.The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the state a "stay" in following federal...

ST. PAUL - A federal appeals court is allowing Minnesota to not follow a lower court order to change its sex offender treatment program, at least for the time being.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals granted the state a “stay” in following federal Judge Donovan Frank’s ruling, Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday.
Frank had ordered Minnesota to begin a process that could lead to release of some sex offenders from the program. No offenders have been fully released in the approximately three decades the program has existed.
The judge said the program is unconstitutional because offenders who have finished their prison sentences are put in prison-like facilities for an indefinite period of time.
“Our current system is constitutional, but that does not mean it is responsible,” Dayton said Thursday, adding that some offenders with little risk could be released.
He said he will propose that the next session of the Legislature provide money to change the treatment program, but he did not say how much he will seek.
The topic has been an issue for years and several of the sex offenders sued the state in federal court. When Frank ruled the program unconstitutional in June, the state immediately appealed in an attempt to get the appeals court to overturn the Frank order.
In the meantime, the state asked the appeals court to delay enforcement of Frank’s order until it can decide the overall case. This week’s ruling lasts until the court decides whether the stay should last until it finishes work on the case, which will be months or years.

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