Monday, February 12, 2007

Sex Offender Treatment for a Liar

United States v. Kenneth Ross, No. 06-1821 (January 29, 2007): Mr. Ross was sentenced for making false statements to the FBI. His false statement consisted of telling the FBI that he knew the location of a disappeared child victim. In reality, he had no such knowledge. The court sentenced him to prison and added as a condition of his supervised release that he participate in a program of sex offender mental health assessment and treatment.

Mr. Ross had never been charged with or convicted of a sex offense. When he had been in prison on an earlier offense, he had received a violation report for allegedly engaging in sexual activities with other prisoners. A psychological consultation opined that he was unlikely to act out in a sexually violent manner.

Since Mr. Ross’ attorney did not object to this special condition of supervised release, the Court considered the claimed error under the plain error standard. Acknowledging a split of authority in other Circuits, the Court approved this condition on the theory that it did not believe that it represented a miscarriage of justice. The Court pointed to Mr. Ross' fantasies concerning children as a basis for concluding that sex offender treatment was permissible, absent an objection by counsel.