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ALLEN V. ILLINOIS, 478 U. S. 364 (1986)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Allen v. Illinois, 478 U.S. 364 (1986)

Allen v. Illinois

No. 85-5404

Argued April 30, 1986

Decided July 1, 1986

478 U.S. 364


Petitioner was charged in an Illinois Circuit Court with committing the crimes of unlawful restraint and deviate sexual assault, and the State filed a petition to have him declared a sexually dangerous person within the meaning of the Illinois Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (Act). Pursuant to the Act, the court ordered petitioner to submit to two psychiatric examinations. At the bench trial on the petition, the State presented the examining psychiatrists' testimony, over petitioner's objection that they had elicited information from him in violation of his privilege against self-incrimination. Based on that testimony, as well as that of the victim of the sexual assault, the court found petitioner to be a sexually dangerous person under the Act. The Illinois Appellate Court reversed, holding that the trial court had improperly relied on testimony in violation of petitioner's privilege against self-incrimination. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, holding that that privilege was not available in sexually dangerous person proceedings because they are "essentially civil in nature."


1. Proceedings under the Act are not "criminal" within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment's guarantee against compulsory self-incrimination. The Act's aim is to provide treatment, not punishment, for persons adjudged sexually dangerous. That the State cannot file a sexually dangerous person petition under the Act unless it has already filed criminal charges against the person in question, and thus has chosen not to apply the Act to the larger class of mentally ill persons who might be found sexually dangerous, does not transform a civil proceeding into a criminal one. The State must prove more than just the commission of a sexual assault. It must prove the existence of a mental disorder for more than one year and a propensity to commit sexual assaults, in addition to showing that propensity through sexual assault. The fact that the Act provides some of the safeguards applicable in criminal proceedings -- rights to counsel, to a jury trial, and to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and the requirement that sexual dangerousness be proved beyond a reasonable doubt -- cannot itself turn the proceedings under the Act into criminal proceedings requiring the full panoply of rights applicable there. And the fact that a person adjudged sexually dangerous under the Act is committed to a maximum security institution that also chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 478 U. S. 365

houses convicts needing psychiatric care does not make the conditions of that person's confinement amount to "punishment," and thus render "criminal" the proceedings that led to confinement. In re Gault, 387 U. S. 1, distinguished. Pp. 478 U. S. 374-375.

2. The Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of due process does not require application of the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination to proceedings under the Act. That privilege is not designed to enhance the reliability of a factfinding determination, but stands in the Constitution for entirely independent reasons. Pp. 478 U. S. 374-375.

107 Ill.2d 91, 481 N.E.2d 690, affirmed.

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER C.J.,and WHITE, POWELL, and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN, MARSHALL, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined, post, p. 478 U. S. 375,

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