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German High Court Rules Against Sex Offender Detention

January 13, 2010

dw-world.de: German high court rules against detention of sex offender.

This is timely, as the US Supreme Court just heard arguments on US v. Comstock, which will decide a similar case.

A German man convicted of being a dangerous sex offender will remain out of police custody following a decision by the German Federal Court of Justice. The court found that he could not be put in preventive detention after he’d served over 20 years for his offences.

The 58-year-old from the western German town of Heinsberg was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in 1985 for raping a young girl. After his release, the man raped two more girls and was sentenced in 1995 to another 14 years behind bars.

The 1995 sentenced contained no measures for keeping the man, known as Karl D., in preventive custody after completion of the term. The Karlsruhe court said the man could not be placed in preventive custody because that had not been part of the initial sentence, so that such a measure would be “blatantly retrospective punishment.”

The federal court ruling follows a state court ruling in February of last year in which a Bavarian court also found no grounds to keep Karl D. in police custody, despite his being declared “dangerous” by court-appointed evaluators.

Since being released less than a year ago, the man has been living in Heinsberg with his brother, under constant police surveillance.

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