McDeid v. Johnston (Minn. 2023)
Minnesota Supreme Court opinion holding that patients civilly committed to Minnesota’s Sex Offender Program (“MSOP”) had a clearly established right to transfer to a less restrictive environment within a reasonable time following issuance of a Minnesota Commitment Appeals Panel transfer order.
People v. Kastman (Ill. 2022)
Supreme Court of Illinois affirmed lower court decision granting motion for civilly committed individual on conditional release who sought financial assistance from the Director of the Department of Corrections as his guardian.
Baughman v. Commonwealth of Virginia (Va. 2022)
In an unpublished opinion, the Supreme Court of Virginia finds reversible error in the trial court, noting that SVPA probable cause hearings require that an expert witness conducting a mental health examination be “designated by the Commissioner” and concluding that the introduction of expert testimony by a mental health professional retained by the Commonwealth, who was not designated by the Commissioner, prejudiced Appellant and had a “substantial influence” on the outcome of the proceeding.
Needham v. Superior Court of Orange County (Cal. Ct. App. 2022)
California Court of Appeals opinion holding as a matter of first impression, that the government was not entitled to call a privately retained expert witness to testify at SVPA trial as to petitioner’s mental state.
Gamble v. Minnesota State-Operated Services (8th Cir. 2022)
Eighth Circuit opinion in a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case affirming district court holding and concluding that civil committees in Minnesota’s sex offense civil commitment program participating in a vocational work program are not employees as defined by the FLSA.
People v. Magana (Cal. Ct. App. 2022)
California Court of Appeals opinion remanding matter to the trial court for further consideration and noting a likelihood of merit in claim that the trial court’s failure to provide Appellant with a full advisement of his right to a jury trial in the context of a civil commitment proceeding pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act violated his right to equal protection under federal and state law.
Fields v. State of Missouri (Mo. Ct. App. 2022)
Missouri Court of Appeals decision in an ineffective assistance of counsel case concluding that, unlike the risk of deportation assessed in Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), civil commitment under Missouri’s “Sexually Violent Predator” statute is a collateral consequence as opposed to a presumptively mandatory consequence and, therefore, plea counsel was not obligated to inform Appellant of the potential consequence of indefinite civil commitment prior to Appellant’s guilty plea.
Powers v. Doll, et al. (Ill. Ct. App. 2022)
Illinois Court of Appeals decision 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.”
People v. Jackson (Cal. Ct. App. 2022)
California Court of Appeal decision reversing and remanding trial court in an involuntary commitment SVPA case, holding that exclusion of critical defense expert testimony to rebut the prosecution’s two expert witnesses deprived Appellant of a fair trial.
Karsjens v. Harpstead (D. Minn. 2022)
District Court opinion on remand from the Eighth Circuit holding that Plaintiffs challenged conditions of confinement serve legitimate governmental objectives that are not excessive, arbitrary, purposeless, or punitive and that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to any specific illness or injury or that any alleged indifference caused any actual injury or harm.
United States v. Hunt (1st Cir. 2021)
First Circuit Court of Appeals decision affirming district court’s denial of unconditional discharge from civil commitment, despite Appellant’s advanced age and physical impairments, holding that deference would be given to the district court’s determinations and noting the difficulty of determining whether the Appellant’s “spotless record” was dependent in part on the conditions of supervision he sought to remove.
In re Commitment of Snapp (Ill. 2021)
Supreme Court of Illinois opinion holding that under the amended Sexually Dangerous Persons Act, it is unnecessary to make a separate express finding that the respondent is substantially probable to re-offend after finding the respondent is a sexually dangerous person.
People v. Codinha (Cal. Ct. App. 2021)
California Court of Appeal opinion affirming denial of appellant’s motion to dismiss guilty plea based on ineffective assistance, concluding that counsel was not obligated to advise appellant that a sexually violent predator (SVP) commitment was a possible consequence of his plea.
Wimberly v. Williams (10th Cir. 2021)
Tenth Circuit opinion affirming district court decision denying petition for writ of habeas corpus by state prisoner serving indeterminate sentence of one year to life under Colorado Sex Offenders Act.
In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of Kenney (Minn. 2021)
Minnesota Supreme Court opinion reversing a judgment of the appellate court regarding a civilly committed individual’s petition for reduction in custody, holding that the clear error standard of review does not allow an appellate court to reweigh evidence.
Howe v. Godinez (S.D. Ill. 2021)
Southern District of Illinois opinion finding that systemic failures to provide adequate mental health treatment at Big Muddy River Correctional Center’s Sexually Dangerous Persons Program resulted in Plaintiffs’ detainment “without real hope of release” and deprived Plaintiffs of due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Walker v. Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco (Cal. 2021)
Supreme Court of California opinion holding that Petitioner was prejudiced by the erroneous admission of hearsay evidence in his probable cause hearing for involuntary commitment pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act.
In re Griffin (S.C. Ct. App. 2021)
South Carolina Court of Appeals opinion holding that a competency evaluation is not a requirement of Due Process in the context of state SVP proceedings.
In re Ashman (Minn. Ct. App. 2021)
Minnesota Court of Appeals opinion holding that, under state law, the commitment appeal panel has authority to review a revocation of transfer made by the special review board.
Jones v. Cuomo (2nd Cir. 2021)
2nd Circuit Court of Appeals opinion holding that, for purposes of IFP status, a civil committee does not qualify as a “prisoner” under the Prison Litigation Reform Act.
Garcia v. Butler (Az. 2021)
Arizona Supreme Court opinion holding that, under state law, trial courts have discretion whether or not to order a SVP screening when requested by the government.
In re Millikin (Iowa Ct. App. 2021)
Iowa Court of Appeals opinion holding that a subsequent SVP petition is not barred, on claim preclusion grounds, by the dismissal of a prior SVP petition.
In re McHatton (Wash. 2021)
Washington Supreme Court affirming decision of Court of Appeals finding that an order revoking civil detainee’s release to a less restrictive alternative is not appealable as a matter of right.
People v. Hoffman (Cal. Ct. App. 2nd 2021)
California Court of Appeal opinion holding that old age, standing alone, is not a sufficient basis for overturning a SVP commitment.
In re Quillen (Kan. 2021)
Kansas Supreme Court opinion reversing a lower court holding that jury instructions in a SVP transitional release trial were not sufficient to comport with Due Process.
In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of W.W. (N.J. 2021)
New Jersey Supreme Court opinion reversing the civil commitment of an individual where the state did not produce psychiatric testimony supporting the commitment in adherence with state law.
State v. Jendusa (Wis. 2021)
Wisconsin Supreme Court opinion holding that a database maintained by the state DOC of recidivism rates is discoverable under state discovery statutes in a SVP proceeding.
Farrara v. Commonwealth (Va. 2021)
Virginia Supreme Court opinion holding that a trial court in a SVP commitment proceeding committed harmless error when it excluded proposed evidence from a respondent where the respondent failed to cooperate with a state examiner in the proceeding.
Brown v. Tarrant County (5th Cir. 2021)
5th Circuit Court of Appeals holding that denial of treatment during twenty-day convinement in a jail cell to individual civilly confined as a SVP did not violate clearly established law, and thus defendants were entitled to qualified immunity.
In re Commitment of Stephenson (Wis. 2020)
Wisconsin Supreme Court opinion holding that expert evidence was not required in order to continue to find that a petitioner met the criteria for indefinite civil detention, and that the evidence was sufficient at trial.