Court: Minnesota can lock up sexually dangerous Native Americans

The Minnesota Court of Appeals today ruled the state doesn’t have the authority to incarcerate Native Americas as sexually dangerous persons, but the court gave the state permission to do so.

Ruling in the case of two Minnesota Ojibwe men, the court said Congress has not granted Minnesota the jurisdiction to commit the two to a “treatment facility” after serving their prison sentences.

Minnesota has used the law to incarcerate more men since the killing of Dru Sjodin by a man released from prison several years ago. No man sent for “treatment” in Minnesota has ever been released.

But the two men in the case said Minnesota doesn’t have civil jurisdiction over “Indian Country.” The court agreed, but said “the state has a compelling interest in protecting the health and safety of the public, including persons both on and off tribal land, from dangerous and repeat sex offenders.”

It said sending the two to the “treatment facility” would not interfere with federal interest in preserving tribal self-sufficiency and self-government.

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