Superior Court of Pennsylvania Upholds Act which Allows for Civil Detainment of Offenders Deemed Sexually Dangerous
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently heard a case which challenged Pennsylvania Statute, Pa. C.S. §6403, which allows for the civil detainment of those deemed sexually dangerous. In Re A.C. involved an appellant sentenced to one year of involuntary in-patient treatment for potentially sexual violence. In accordance with the Act, the defendant must have been adjudicated delinquent as a minor for an act of sexual violence, have been sentenced to a juvenile facility until age 20, and be found to be in need of involuntary treatment due to mental abnormality or personality disorder. Those who qualify under the Act are to be evaluated by the Sexual Offender Assessment Board on an annual basis. According to the act, these evaluations can continue perennially until evidence of sexual danger by the defendant no longer exists.
In the case cited above, the defendant was examined by the Sexual Offender Assessment Board in 2004 and was deemed to have a mental disorder which resulted in a serious deficiency in his ability to control sexually violent behavior. Specifically, the Board found that defendant would have rape fantasies, which exemplified defendant’s hidden sexual aggression.
The defendant challenged the Act on its constitutionality. Defendant argued that the Act infringed upon his liberty interest, specifically the indefinite continuation of the in-patient treatment. The Court held that there is a compelling interest of the Government to detain those deemed sexually dangerous as protection for the greater public. The Court held that so long as a person is deemed to suffer from such a mental disorder, they will remain dangerous to the public. The detainment of said individuals is a small price to pay for the safety of the public, according to the Court. The Superior Court affirmed the lower court’s ruling, thereby upholding Pa. C.S. §6403 as constitutional. It will be interesting to see whether or not the case is brought before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on appeal.
Those convicted of crimes are still subject to the protections of the Constitution of the United States. An experienced criminal defense attorney ensures a defendant’s rights are protected during legal proceedings. If you have been charged with, or convicted of a sexual offense, you still have constitutionally protected rights which the Law Offices of Marc Neff will protect. For a confidential consultation, please contact our office at 215-563-9800 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.