Sex offenders and high-level criminals are subject to a state and/or federal criminal relapse assessment before they are allowed to integrate back into society. Through a legal procedure known as ‘civil commitment,’ a prisoner is tried in a court of law if the state or federal authorities believe the criminal to be a danger to society. Sexual predators with a history of molestation and other sex crimes will be psychologically evaluated by a state-appointed psychologist or sex professional to determine his or her mental stability. State-appointed members are not on the side of the sex offender and are usually keen on looking for signs of mental instability and a relapse to future criminal activity. If the state-appointed investigators conclude that the sex offender is prone to committing future sexual crimes, the sex offender may spend a long period of time in prison with no chance of parole.
The United States Code 4248, explains that sex offenders convicted as a danger to society will be held in prison or in a facility under the watch of the Attorney General until either 1) a State assumes responsibility or 2) their conditions have improved and are no longer considered a sexual danger to others. Once under State jurisdiction, if state authorities believe the sex offender will commit a repeated crime, the sex offender may spend the rest of his or her life in state prison. Sex offenders processed through civil commitment laws have found that state authorities will work to keep them in prison. While in a civil hearing, sex offenders are entitled to legal representation and have the legal right to present evidence.
Our Sex Crime Attorneys understand the state and federal laws that apply to sex offenders under the U.S.C.S 4248. Our attorneys are able to provide clarity on the legal rights that pertain to your situation and advocate for those individuals who are wrongly convicted. We believe that sexual predators should face the full ramifications of the law, however, there are certain individuals tried with harsh civil commitment laws with faulty accusations and poor evidence. Sex Crimes Attorney can conduct a separate investigation of your case so that reliable and factual evidence is presented on your behalf. If you are under federal jurisdiction or your case is being handled by a state court, you are encouraged to speak with a law professional about your circumstances. The Sex Crime Attorneys can be reached at 888-888-8888.
Sexual predators are classified by tiers depending on the circumstances of their situation. Tier III sexual predators are the most likely to encounter civil commitment laws that will prevent them from entering society for a period of time.
- A civil commitment: is an order either carried out by the state, federal government, or third parties that believe an individual is capable of harming innocent people upon being released back into society. A person who is civilly committed is usually in prison until a mental health examiner establishes that the individual is no longer a harm to society.
- A sexually violent predator: is a person who has committed a serious sex crime and has been convicted as a sex offender in a court of law. Sex offenders that are civilly committed are individuals who are more than likely to commit a repeated sexual offense towards a person if released back into society. Sexually violent predators have been known to commit indecent acts towards children and/or have been involved with child pornography or rape.
- Sexual predators that commit indecent acts towards children usually receive the harshest ramifications under the law. Sexual predators convicted of committing a sexual crime against a child are usually charged with felonies that contain high penalties fees and long prison terms. Sexually violent predators with a history of sex crimes usually qualify to be treated with the civil commitment proceeding.
Community Protection Act of 1990
Civil commitment laws have been upheld and adopted in federal and state courts since the first civil commitment law (Community Protection Act of 1990) was introduced in the state of Washington. Since then 20 states (including the District of Columbia, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin) have adopted their own form of “Sexual Violent Predator Laws” modeled after the federal civil commitment act known as the Adam Walsh Act enacted in 2006. The Washington Community Protection Act of 1990 was the result of sexual assaults and killings carried out by Earl Kenneth Shriner and Gene Kane. The CPA 1990 was motivated by a victim’s mother who rallied with a group of outraged individuals for the state to introduce a change of law on sex offenders.
The United States Supreme Court ruled that civil commitment laws were constitutional and enacted the first federal civil commitment law in 2006. The U.S Supreme mandates that states provide a distinction between high and low profile sex offenders and to provide a distinction between sex offenders with mental disabilities that prevent them from practicing self-control.
U.S.C.S 4248 - Civil Commitment of a Sexually Dangerous Person
Civil commitment laws apply to individuals who are considered too dangerous to be allowed back into society after they have served a prison or mental hospital term. Civil commitment laws apply to individuals that have committed a serious sex crime, to individuals suffering from a mental disorder that enables them to act violently, and to individuals with mental disorders that prevent them from practicing self-control. The Adam Walsh Act enacted in 2006, grants the Bureau of Prisons or the U.S Attorney General the ability to initiate a federal civil commitment against someone deemed to be a sexual predator. For a federal civil commitment, a petition must be filed to the court by the U.S Attorney General or the Director of the Bureau of Prisons. Once filed, the court will rule a hearing to evaluate the sex offender’s mental stability and other concerns.
Sex offenders in this situation have certain constitutional protections that allow them the right to a legal representative, the right to present their factual findings, and other legal procedures. In a court hearing, both parties will present their evidence to a court and a judge will determine if the sex offender can re-enter society after completion of their prison term or after a medical program.
During these evaluations, the court can order a psychological evaluation of the sex offender and a report of the evaluation to be filed to the court. The findings will highlight any reasons as to why the sex offender should be indefinitely detained. If the sex offender is considered too dangerous for society, they will be placed under the custody of the Attorney general until 1) he or she is claimed by a state or 2) he or she develops behaviors deemed safe for society.
Once sex offenders are committed and diagnosed as Sexually Violent Predators (SVP) they will most likely face an indefinite amount of time in prison. There is generally very little that can be done for individuals in this condition, however, with good behavior the sex offender can be released. The confining department is legally required to conduct periodic evaluations. If the sex offender improves his or her behavior and is no longer considered a threat to society, they may have the chance to re-enter society or be allowed to live in a court-monitored placement.
Upon being released, the sex offender must follow state and federal regulations and codes of conduct. High-level sex offenders will be federally required to register their personal information on the U.S Department of Justice: National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) including their face picture, full legal name, home address, vehicle information, employer information, and school information (if attending school). Depending on certain states and regions sex offenders can be banned from living close to learning centers, parks, daycares, malls, and other places where children may be found.
Civil commitment hearings at the state level are carried out in the same manner as many of the federal civil commitment hearings. In both instances, both parties will present evidence to a court that will be evaluated by a judge. At the state level, the judge must determine whether the individual is safe to return to society or if the individual should be locked away. In some states, third parties are capable of petitioning for a civil commitment against someone deemed dangerous for society.
Sex offenders who are no longer deemed a threat to society can be released if the individuals follow certain regulations and codes of conduct. For a civil commitment to be discharged, a petition must be filed with the Attorney General or the court explaining that the individual is capable of returning to society. In many cases, a court hearing is held to determine whether the individual can be released or not. If the court finds that the individual is no longer a sexual threat to others, he or she must be immediately released. In addition, if the court finds that an individual can be released under specified medical or psychiatric administration, the individual will be conditionally discharged. Sexually violent predators that are conditionally discharged are usually allowed to return to society if they follow the regulations and codes of conduct established by the court and/or psychiatric or medical administration.
When sexually violent predators are released with special conditions, they must comply with the laws or they may have their civil commitment discharge revoked. When authorities are notified that an individual has failed to comply with the regulations established in the court hearing, the individual will be arrested and returned to a holding facility where he or she will await a hearing. The hearing will re-evaluate the sex offender and determine if his or her failure to comply justifies a civil commitment.
Individuals who are facing a civil commitment proceeding have very little legal protections that promise a form of freedom. The best thing that an individual in this situation can do, is to have an attorney who is capable of providing a separate investigation of your situation. Having a separate investigation will ensure that your facts are presented in a courtroom so that your case is fairly evaluated. During this hearing, the prosecutor must provide enough proof that the defendant is a serious threat to others. They must be able to prove that:
- The individual suffers from a mental condition that incites sexually violent activities
- The individual fails to recognize the consequences of his or her sexually violent acts
- The individual is dangerous is capable of committing a future sex crime
For each of the above cases, the court can evaluate the information provided by state-appointed officials. As mentioned earlier, state appointment evaluators and investigators are not on the side of the defendant. To ensure that your side of the story is being heard, the defendant is capable of having a separate investigation conducted by a law professional.
The Sex Crimes Attorney believe that individuals charged with a sex crime deserve to be treated with the full ramifications of the law. However, we also understand that there are individuals who have been wrongly convicted or who are been convicted with very poor evidence. The Sex Crimes Attorney can help sex crime individuals discharge their penalties by proving their innocence. Our attorneys are also capable of reducing your prison term or penalties if contacted within a reasonable time. Our Sex Crime Attorneys can be reached at 888-666-8480. We are ready to hear your case and evaluate your situation by applying both state and federal laws.