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A new task force will begin work Oct. 11 examining the processes related to the civil commitment of sex offenders in Minnesota. Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson appointed 15 members and ex-officio members to the Sex Offender Civil Commitment Advisory Task Force, which will provide her with recommendations for the civil commitment and referral process for sex offenders, sex offender civil commitment options that are less restrictive than placement in a secure treatment facility and the standards and processes for the reduction in custody for civilly committed sex offenders.
The task force was created in response to a court order Aug. 15, 2012 from the U.S. District Court. The task force, which includes current state legislators, academic professionals, county commissioners, active and retired judges and victims' advocates, is charged with providing its first set of recommendations for legislative proposals to Commissioner Jesson by Dec. 3, 2012.
Sex Offender Civil Commitment Advisory Task Force members are:
1. Hon. Eric J. Magnuson, retired chief justice of Minnesota Supreme Court, who will serve as chair
2. Hon. James M. Rosenbaum, retired judge with the U.S. District Court, who will serve as vice chair
3. Rep. Jim Abeler, chair of the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Finance Committee
4. Donna Dunn, executive director of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault
5. Hon. Kathleen R. Gearin, judge with the Ramsey County District Court
6. Eric S. Janus, president and dean of William Mitchell College of Law
7. Gerald T. Kaplan, executive director of Alpha Human Services
8. Rep. Tina Liebling, lead minority member of the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee
9. Sen. Warren Limmer, chair of the Minnesota Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee
10. Sen. Tony Lourey, ranking minority member of the Minnesota Senate Health and Human Services Committee
11. Ryan B. Magnus, partner with Jones and Magnus Attorneys at Law
12. Hon. Paul A. Nelson, judge with the Chippewa County District Court
13. Roberta C. Opheim, ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities
14. Mark A. Ostrem, Olmsted County attorney
15. Nancy Schouweiler, chair of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners and chair of the Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee, National Association of Counties
Ex-officio members are:
1. Kelly Lyn Mitchell, executive director of the Sentencing Guidelines Commission
2. Tom Roy, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Corrections
3. Dr. Michael D. Thompson, president of the Minnesota Chapter of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers
4. James D. Franklin, executive director of the Minnesota Sherriff’s Association
5. Hon. Joanne M. Smith, judge with the Ramsey County District Court and the chief judge of the Judicial Appeal Panel, which hears all civilly committed sex offender reduction in custody petitions (added by order of U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank)
The task force may recommend to the federal district court the appointment of additional members.
The task force's first meeting will be held Thursday, Oct. 11, at 9 a.m. at the State Office Building, Room 5, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul. More information about the Sex Offender Civil Commitment Advisory Task Force is on the DHS website.