5. Allen v. Illinois
The Supreme Court in Allen v. Illinois further refined the regulatory
detention punitive incarceration dichotomy. Allen was a criminal action, but
the statute at issue also provided for indefinite civil detention in a maximum
The defendant protested
that his detention was a punishment imposed without proper due process, and
in particular that the statute did not protect the accused's privilege against
The Supreme Court
found that the detention was regulatory, not punitive.
Because the need for accurate fact-finding is critical to regulatory detentions,
the Court rejected defendant's complaint that he was forced to incriminate himself.
Terry Allen was accused of hiding in a woman's car, forcing
her to drive him to a "romantic place,"' and then forcing her to have sexual
relations with him. The victim was able to escape without further injury.
The State of Illinois charged Allen with the crimes of unlawful restraint and
deviate sexual assault.
While the charges
were pending, the state moved to declare Allen a sexually dangerous person under
the Illinois law that provided for the indefinite civil commitment of such
After a bench trial, an Illinois judge determined that Allen
was a sexually dangerous person
remanded him to the Menard Psychiatric Center, a maximum security facility.
Reviewing Allen's appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court identified three questions
for decision: 1) Are Miranda warnings required before a defendant is examined
by a psychiatrist pursuant to a court order in a sexually dangerous person proceeding?
2) Did the defendant waive any applicable privilege against self-incrimination?
3) Did the state prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was a sexually
dangerous person as defined by the statute?
The Illinois Supreme Court, relying on People v. Pembrock
and People v. English,
found that a
proceeding to have a person committed under the sexually dangerous person statute
was civil in nature,
and that in a civil
proceeding there is no constitutional requirement that the defendant be given
The court found that
there was no privilege against self-incrimination in a sexually dangerous person
proceeding, but held that statements made during these proceedings could not
be used against a defendant in subsequent criminal proceedings.
The court also found there was sufficient evidence to find beyond a reasonable
doubt that Allen had a propensity to commit sexual assault.
Allen appealed to the United States Supreme Court, arguing that the commitment
hearing was a criminal proceeding and, therefore, that he was entitled to full
criminal procedural protections.
As a prevention case, the critical issue in Allen
is the extent to which the State has authority to restrict individual liberty
without triggering criminal law protections. The Allen Court recited the rule
that legislative labeling of a statute as civil is not dispositive.
However, the rationale of Allen expanded the state's discretion to fashion civil
remedies for what traditionally have been considered criminal wrongs; the increased
discretion follows from the Court's rejection of defendant's contention that
In re Gault prevented him being deprived of liberty without being afforded the
privilege against self-incrimination.
This ruling allowed Illinois to incarcerate a technically innocent, mentally
competent individual without full criminal law protections. The Court made clear
in its rejection of Gault that Illinois' characterization of the statute as
potentially benefiting the defendant was crucial. The Illinois law escaped criminal
law scrutiny simply because the legislature denied that it intended to punish
Allen explicitly overruled Gault to the extent that Gault had
purported to govern every deprivation of liberty:
First, Gault's sweeping statement that "our Constitution guarantees
that no person shall be 'compelled' to be a witness against himself when he
is threatened with deprivation of his liberty,"' is plainly not good law. Although
the fact that incarceration may result is relevant to the question whether the
privilege against self-incrimination applies, Addington demonstrates that involuntary
commitment does not itself trigger the entire range of criminal procedural protections.
The Court also found that the Illinois statute served a parens
patriae role in providing treatment to mentally ill individuals.
This treatment component defeated defendant's objection that the statute was
wholly punitive. Although the treatment was carried out in a maximum-security
facility, the Court found that the confinement was not inconsistent with the
statute's purpose, and noted further that states have the right to protect the
community from persons who are dangerous due to mental *375
The Allen Court emphasized that excessive reliance on criminal
law protections, especially the privilege against self-incrimination, can reduce
the accuracy of determinations of dangerousness.
This focus reflects a shift from the criminal law perspective that the defendant
is best off with a determination of innocence to the public health perspective
that the defendant is better off being treated.
Ultimately, the Court identified support for the statute's relaxed procedural
requirements in the special role of the states in our federal system, concluding
that the "essence of federalism is that states must be free to develop a variety
of solutions to problems and not be forced into a common, uniform mold. . .
The Court expands this notion of flexibility in the subsequent
cases of Hilton v. Braunstill
States v. Salerno.
While Allen allowed
Illinois to confine an individual without full due process protections, it was
predicated on a determination beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had
committed a crime. In Hilton and Salerno, the Court found that adults could
be confined to prevent future harm without proof beyond a reasonable doubt that
they had committed crimes in the past.
478 U.S. 364 (1986).
Id. at 369; and see
infra note 299.
Allen v. Illinois at
People v. Allen, 107
Ill.2d 91, 481 N.E.2d 690, 693-94 (1985).
Ill. Rev. Stat. ch.
38, para. 105-1.01 (1985) (quoted in Allen v. Illinois, 478 U.S. at 366 n.1)
defines sexually dangerous persons as follows:
"All persons suffering from a mental disorder, which mental
disorder has existed for a period of not less than one year, immediately prior
to the filing of the petition hereinafter provided for, coupled with criminal
propensities to the commission of sex offenses, and who have demonstrated propensities
toward acts of sexual assault or acts of sexual molestation of children, are
hereby declared sexually dangerous persons."
People v. Allen, 481
N.E.2d at 692-93.
Allen v. Illinois,
478 U.S. at 372.
People v. Allen, 481
N.E.2d at 692.
62 Ill.2d 317, 342
N.E.2d 28 (1976).
31 Ill.2d 301, 201
N.E. 455 (1964).
People v. Allen, 481
N.E.2d at 695.
Defendant's basic theory
was, "If it walks like a duck . . . . " The state provided some, but not all,
criminal procedures; the result of the proceeding was that defendant was sent
to a maximum security prison. Allen v. Illinois, 478 U.S. at 370; see also id.
at 377-79 (Stevens, J., dissenting).
The Illinois legislature
expressly designated proceedings under the Act as civil in nature. Discussing
the effect of this designation, the Supreme Court stated:
As a petitioner correctly points out, however, the civil label
is not always dispositive. Where a defendant has provided "the clearest proof"'
that "'the statutory scheme [is] so punitive either in purpose or effect as
to negate [the State's] intention"' that the proceeding be civil, it must be
considered criminal and the privilege against self-incrimination must be applied.
Allen v. Illinois, 478 U.S. at 369 (citation omitted).
Id. at 372-73 (citation
Id. (citing Addington,
441 U.S. at 426).
The Court's analysis
of the value of the privilege against self- incrimination was in the context
of distinguishing Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976), which dealt with
the application of the privilege in a property deprivation case:
As the Supreme Court of Illinois and the State have both pointed
out, it is difficult, if not impossible, to see how requiring the privilege
against self-incrimination in these proceedings would in any way advance reliability.
Indeed, the State takes the quite plausible view that denying the evaluating
psychiatrist the opportunity to question persons alleged to be sexually dangerous
would decrease the reliability of a finding of sexual dangerousness. As in Addington,
"to adopt the criminal law standard gives no assurance"' that States will reach
a "better"' result.
Id. at 374-75.
Allen v. Illinois,
478 U.S. at 375.
Id. at 375 (citing
Addington, 441 U.S. at 431).
107 S. Ct. 2113 (1987).
See infra subsection 6.
107 S. Ct. 2095 (1987).
See infra subsection 7.
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