Powers v. Doll, et al., No. 20-MR-424 (Ill. Ct. App. 2022)
Nature of Case: Appellant was found guilty of attempted aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon in 2001. In May 2020, Appellant filed a pro se “Complaint for Legal Malpractice” against his former attorneys who represented him in his SVP commitment proceedings. After a hearing, the circuit court entered an order granting defendant’s motion to dismiss. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal.
Holding: The Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court holding that an individual presently committed under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (“SVP Act”) may not file suit for legal malpractice without first alleging that he is not, in fact, a “sexually violent person.” In so holding the Court stated that “just as a criminal defendant cannot state a claim for legal malpractice without asserting actual innocence…an SVP must plead that he is not an SVP in order to assert a claim for damages arising from legal malpractice in the underlying SVP proceedings.”