Allen v. Illinois

LOCATION: Hardwick's Apartment

DOCKET NO.: 85-5404
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: Supreme Court of Illinois

CITATION: 478 US 364 (1986)
ARGUED: Apr 30, 1986
DECIDED: Jul 01, 1986

Mark L. Rotert - Chicago, Illinois
Verlin R. Meinz - on behalf of the petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Allen v. Illinois

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 30, 1986 in Allen v. Illinois

Warren E. Burger:

We will hear arguments first this morning in Allen against Illinois.

Mr. Meinz, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Verlin R. Meinz:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court, as I speak to the Court this morning, the petitioner, Terry Allen, is incarcerated in a maximum security penal institution in the State of Illinois.

He is there with persons who have been formally convicted of crime, and like them, receives the mental health treatment that is available in that facility.

The petitioner, though, has not faced trial.

The state of Illinois could have pursued traditional prosecution against him, but chose not to.

Instead, the state chose an alternative.

They sought to have him declared a sexually dangerous person under Article 105 of the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure.

Warren E. Burger:

Is that a criminal procedure or a civil procedure?

You cite it as under the Criminal Code.

Verlin R. Meinz:

It is under the Criminal Code, Your Honor.

The statute itself carries a civil label.

We are arguing, though, that it is criminal for purposes of the Fifth Amendment.

That is our precise argument here.

Warren E. Burger:

But you concede the legislature has described this as a civil proceeding.

Verlin R. Meinz:

It has in the statute itself.

The state pursued this adjudication of Allen as a sexually dangerous person.

It conducted--

Thurgood Marshall:

Excuse me.

Did he have preponderance, or did he have reasonable doubt?

Verlin R. Meinz:

--That is the proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The state must make its case that Allen is a sexually dangerous person beyond a reasonable doubt.

Thurgood Marshall:

Is that possible in a civil case?

Verlin R. Meinz:

That was the thrust of the decision in Statulak versus Coughlin, a Seventh Circuit case in 1975: which ruled that the proceeding, though denominated civil, was sufficiently criminal as to require the imposition of a burden beyond a reasonable doubt.

That is an opinion, by the way, upon which we rely.

Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:

Will you elaborate a little bit on the type of institution in which these persons are confined?

I think you said they were confined also with people convicted of crime.

Is it a state prison?

Verlin R. Meinz:

It is a state prison, Your Honor.

Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:

Is it indistinguishable from other prisons that do not have psychiatric cases?