Sex offenders' ability to seek new trial limited

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- The state Supreme Court has ruled that sexually violent offenders already committed to McNeil Island must show progress in treatment to be granted a new trial aimed at seeking their freedom.

Taxpayers would have faced an additional $22.5 million in annual costs for experts and lawyers in new civil-commitment trials if the Supreme Court had ruled against the state.

Washington's civil-commitment law allows the state to indefinitely detain sex offenders beyond their prison sentence if they suffer from a mental abnormality or personality disorder and are deemed too dangerous for the community. More than 280 offenders are housed at the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island.

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Informaton from The Seattle Times: http://www.seattletimes.com