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Case Name U.S. v. Comstock CJ-NC-0005
Docket / Court 5:06-HC-02195 ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
This case involved a constitutional challenge to certain provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. At issue was the civil commitment program for sexual predators as outlined in the Act. 18 U.S.C. § 4248.

The issue arose in five cases filed by the government ... read more >
This case involved a constitutional challenge to certain provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. At issue was the civil commitment program for sexual predators as outlined in the Act. 18 U.S.C. § 4248.

The issue arose in five cases filed by the government in 2006, in which the government sought to institute commitment proceedings with respect to federal prisoners incarcerated at FCI-Butner whose sentences were about to expire. Each inmate had been convicted of a federal criminal offense involving sexual deviancy, such as possession of child pornography or sexual abuse of a minor. In each case, the Federal Public Defender filed a motion to dismiss the petition for hearing, arguing that the civil commitment provisions of the Act were unconstitutional. The five cases were not consolidated, but District Judge W. Earl Britt of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina decided to issue one ruling on all cases.

On September 7, 2007, the District Court (Earl Britt) granted the prisoners' motions and dismissed all of the government's petitions. In his order, Judge Britt determined that the civil commitment provision of the Adam Walsh Act was not a necessary and proper exercise of Congressional authority.

On January 8, 2009 the decision of the District Court was affirmed by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (Diana Gribbon Motz), holding that 18 U.S.C. § 4248 thus could not be sustained as an exercise of Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause or any other provision of the Constitution.

On May 18, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court (Breyer, J.) reversed and remanded the 4th Circuit's decision, finding that the Necessary and Proper Clause granted Congress broad authority to criminalize conduct, imprison those who engaged in that conduct, and enact laws governing prisons and prisoners in the course of carrying into execution the enumerated powers vested by the U.S. Constitution. The Court did not address other constitutional challenges to the law.

On December 6, 2010, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (Diana Gribbon Motz) reversed and remanded the decision of the District Court, finding that the respondents had not met the heavy burden of demonstrating that the clear and convincing evidence standard rendered the statute unconstitutional on its face.

On November 29, 2011, a judgment was issued by the United States District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina (Bernard A. Friedman), releasing the respondent from custody. This case is closed.

Note that our document collection for this case only contains the PACER docket for the first case filed, U.S. v. Comstock. The other cases included: U.S. v. Shane Catron, 5:06-HC-2202BR; U.S. v. Thomas Matherly, 5:06-HC-2205BR; U.S. v. Marvin Vigil, 5:06-HC-2206BR; and U.S. v. Markis Revland. 5:06-HC-2212BR.

Gregory Pitt - 07/13/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Sex offender regulation
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) Graydon Earl Comstock, Jr.
Plaintiff Description Civil committment (non-civil rights): U.S. Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
5:06-hc-02195-BR (E.D.N.C.) 04/05/2012
CJ-NC-0005-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Certification of a Sexually Dangerous Person 11/02/2006
CJ-NC-0005-0001 PDF | Detail
Opinion 09/07/2007 (507 F.Supp.2d 522) (E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0005-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion 01/08/2009 (551 F.3d 274)
CJ-NC-0005-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Slip opinion 05/18/2010 (560 U.S. 126)
CJ-NC-0005-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
OPINION 12/06/2010 (627 F.3d 513)
CJ-NC-0005-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 11/29/2011 (E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0005-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Bench ruling 11/29/2011
CJ-NC-0005-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Agee, G. Steven (Fourth Circuit)
CJ-NC-0005-0007
Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (SCOTUS, Third Circuit)
CJ-NC-0005-0003
Breyer, Stephen Gerald (SCOTUS, First Circuit)
CJ-NC-0005-0003
Britt, William Earl (E.D.N.C.)
CJ-NC-0005-0002 | CJ-NC-0005-9000
Cacheris, James Chris (E.D. Va., FISC)
CJ-NC-0005-0007
Friedman, Bernard A. (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-NC-0005-0005 | CJ-NC-0005-0006
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
CJ-NC-0005-0003
Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (SCOTUS, Ninth Circuit)
CJ-NC-0005-0003
Motz, Diana Jane Gribbon (Fourth Circuit)
CJ-NC-0005-0004 | CJ-NC-0005-0007
Roberts, John Glover Jr. (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
CJ-NC-0005-0003
Sotomayor, Sonia (S.D.N.Y., SCOTUS, Second Circuit)
CJ-NC-0005-0003
Stevens, John Paul (SCOTUS, Seventh Circuit)
CJ-NC-0005-0003
Thomas, Clarence (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
CJ-NC-0005-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bredenberg, Michael D. (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0005-0001 | CJ-NC-0005-9000
Gray, Edward D. (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0005-0006
Renfer, R. A. Jr. (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0005-9000
Royster, Joshua B. (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0005-0006
Defendant's Lawyers Graves, Debra (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0005-0006
Pearce, Jane E. (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0005-9000
Shea, Kat (North Carolina)
CJ-NC-0005-0006
Other Lawyers None on record

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