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High court to decide convicted rapist’s fight against predator law

Washington — The Supreme Court Monday agreed to consider squelching a convicted rapist’s attempt to get out from under his designation in Washington state as a sexually violent predator who should stay locked up even after he served his prison sentence.The justices, granting an appeal by state officials, said they will review Andre Brigham Young’s fight against how Washington’s Sexually Violent Predator Statute applies to him.Young was convicted of five different rapes over a 31-year period. A day before he was to complete his prison sentence in 1991 for the last of his convictions, state officials sought to have him committed as a sexually violent predator.The state law they relied on served as a model for a Kansas law the Supreme Court upheld in 1997.In that 5-4 decision, the nation’s highest court said such confinement does not violate the constitutional right to due process and is not double punishment for the same crime. The confinement, intended to protect society, is civil — not punitive, the court said three years ago.At the time, six states had such laws — Kansas, Washington, Arizona, California, Minnesota and Wisconsin.But ruling in Young’s case last May, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that he should have a chance to prove before a federal trial judge that his confinement is indeed punitive because he is being denied the “adequate care and individualized treatment” the state law calls for.The May decision ordered a federal trial judge to reconsider Young’s case.In seeking to derail that reconsideration, the state’s lawyers told the justices that the appeals court’s ruling is both “unworkable in practice” and unwarranted.The case is Seling vs. Young, 99-1185.On the Net: For the appeals court ruling in Young vs. Weston click on 9th Circuit.

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