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Stenehjem says sex offender lawsuit is not valid

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's attorney general says a lawsuit by 23 sex offenders who are civilly committed to the state hospital should not be a federal case.

The complaint says the state has favored unnecessary punishment over treatment in the last decade and violated the rights of the plaintiffs by depriving them of a realistic opportunity to be released.

The suit seeks class action status for all people civilly committed to the state hospital as sexually dangerous individuals.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says in court documents that the case should be dismissed. He says the federal government should not be allowed to review the decisions of state district courts.

An attorney for the plaintiffs could not be reached for comment.