MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In June, a federal judge declared the state program that locks up civilly committed sex offenders unconstitutional.

On Monday in federal court, Gov. Mark Dayton and top legislative leaders will meet with that judge Donovan Frank to discuss ways to fix the program.

That fix will likely cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and will result in the eventual release of some of the more than 700 offenders housed at Moose Lake and St. Peter

In a controversial move, Frank ruled the hearing will not be open to the press or the public

This comes after a coalition of media outlets, including WCCO, The Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio, KSTP and The New York Times, filed a court motion last week to open the hearing to the press and the public.

The media outlets argued that, with so much at stake, the public and the press have a First Amendment right to be there.

But Frank denied the motion, saying keeping it behind closed doors would encourage candid conversation and creative thinking.

Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Majority Leader Tom Bakk are among the top elected officials who have said they will be in attendance.

Dayton and Daudt say they disagree with the judge and think the hearing should be public.

Daudt, who was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning, said he is having second thoughts about going to the hearing because Frank told him he can’t bring his attorney.

“I certainly would like to have someone advise me on the legalities of what the role of the House of Representatives is in this,” he said. “So we are going to bring our attorney and I am hoping the judge will change his mind.”

Frank said in his rulings that no final decision will be made at this closed door hearing and that he plans to eventually schedule another hearing that will be open to the press and public.

Esme Murphy

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