A National Survey of United States Sexually Violent Person Legislation: Policy, Procedures, and Practice

International Journal of Forensic Mental Health Vol. 14 Iss. 4 (2015) p. 245 - 266

23 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2020 Last revised: 26 Jun 2020

See all articles by Drexel’s Kline School of Law Faculty Submitter

Drexel’s Kline School of Law Faculty Submitter

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

David DeMatteo

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Megan Murphy

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Meghann Galloway

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Daniel A. Krauss

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

Sexually Violent Person (SVP) commitment statutes provide for indeterminate civil confinement of certain sex offenders after completion of their criminal sentences. In the United States, SVP laws raise important concerns relating to due process, ex post facto claims, and protection against double jeopardy. However, it is unclear to what extent current legislation addresses or neglects these issues. Without a systematic review of SVP legislation and related case law, it remains unknown to what degree U.S. states have incorporated different strategies to protect individual rights outlined by the U.S. Supreme Court. In this study, SVP statutes from each U.S. state, the federal government, and the District of Columbia, along with related case law, were examined to evaluate (1) the requirements of SVP confinement, (2) the procedures by which SVP hearings occur, and (3) the degree to which the requirements enumerated by the U.S. Supreme Court have been followed. Although nearly half of all states have SVP statutes, findings reveal that statutes differ considerably regarding standards of proof, commitment procedures, appeals standards, definitions of important terms, and procedural safeguards. Moreover, case law provides important information on how SVP laws actually operate. Findings are discussed in light of psychological, legal, and policy implications.

Keywords: Sexually Violent Person, Sexually Violent Predator, Legislation, Statute

Suggested Citation

Faculty Submitter, Drexel’s Kline School of Law and DeMatteo, David and Murphy, Megan and Galloway, Meghann and Krauss, Daniel A., A National Survey of United States Sexually Violent Person Legislation: Policy, Procedures, and Practice (2015). International Journal of Forensic Mental Health Vol. 14 Iss. 4 (2015) p. 245 - 266 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3604525

Drexel’s Kline School of Law Faculty Submitter (Contact Author)

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law ( email )

3320 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

David DeMatteo

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law ( email )

3320 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Megan Murphy

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Meghann Galloway

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Daniel A. Krauss

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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