McKune v. Lile

LOCATION: Oklahoma School District

DOCKET NO.: 00-1187
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

CITATION: 536 US 24 (2002)
ARGUED: Nov 28, 2001
DECIDED: Jun 10, 2002

Gregory G. Garre - Argued the cause for the United States, as amicus curiae, supporting the petitioners
Matthew J. Wiltanger - Argued the cause for the respondent
Stephen R. McAllister - Argued the cause for the petitioners

Facts of the case

A few years before his release, prison officials ordered Robert Lile, who was convicted of rape, to participate in a Sexual Abuse Treatment Program (SATP). As part of the program, participating inmates are required to complete and sign an "Admission of Responsibility" form, in which they accept responsibility for the crimes for which they have been sentenced, and complete a sexual history form detailing all prior sexual activities, regardless of whether the activities constitute uncharged criminal offenses. The information obtained from SATP participants is not privileged. By refusing to participate, a prisoner's privileges are reduced. Lile refused to participate in the SATP on the ground that the required disclosures of his criminal history would violate his Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination. The District Court granted Lile summary judgment. In affirming, the Court of Appeals held that the compelled self-incrimination can be established by penalties that do not constitute deprivations of protected liberty interests under the Due Process Clause. The appellate court concluded that the SATP could treat inmate admissions as privileged.


Does the Kansas Sexual Abuse Treatment Program violate inmates' Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination?

Media for McKune v. Lile

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 28, 2001 in McKune v. Lile

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 10, 2002 in McKune v. Lile

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the court number 00-1187 McKune versus Lile will be announced by Justice Kennedy.

Anthony M. Kennedy:

I have an opinion announcing that judgment of the court in this case, the respondent is a convicted rapist and he is held in the Kansas State Prison.

The prison officials there ordered that he participate in a treatment program for sex offenders called the Sexual Abuse Treatment Program -- the parties refer to that as SATP -- and the program requires that the inmates to accept responsibility for their crimes and disclose all prior sexual crimes and offenses regardless of whether the activities constitutes an uncharged criminal offense.

The information obtained from these program participants is not privileged but there is no evidence that incriminating information from the participants has ever been disclosed.

The prison officials informed respondent that his refusal to participate in the program will result in his transfer back to a maximum security unit. It will also adversely affect his prison privileges such as visitation rights, work opportunities, and his access to other privileges like personal television.

The respondent refuse to participate in the program on the ground that the required disclosure of his criminal history would violate his Fifth Amendment, provision againt self-incrimination.

He brought this action for injunctive relief, the District Court granted him summary judgment and the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed.

We now reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals that SATP is supported by a legitimate penological objectives of rehabilitation.

It involves substantial daily counseling and helps inmates address sexual addiction and develops relapse prevention skills.

The opinion sights some studies one of which is that the rate of recividism for sex offenders who are treated in prison is about 15% whereas the rate of recidivism of untreated offenders is estimated to be as high as 80% so their is substantial agreement that this clinical rehabilitation programs can enable these sex offenders to manage their impulses.

The mere fact that Kansas does not offer legal immunity from prosecution does not render the program invalid.

No inmate has been prosecuted by such information and there is no contention but the program is a mere subterfuge for the conduct of criminal investigation.

The consequences for non participation in the program do not combine to create a compulsion that violates the Fifth Amendment.

The prison context is important in weighing the respondent's constitutional claim a broad range of choices that might infringe constitutional rights in a free society fall within the expected conditions of confinement in those lawfully convicted.

A prisoner clinical rehabilitation program which is acknowledge to bear a rational relation to a legitimate penological objective does not violate the privilege against compelled self-incrimination, if the adverse consequences and inmates faces were not participating are related to the program objectives and do not constitute atypical and significant hardships in relation to the ordinary incidence of prison life.

The possible transfer from the medium security unit to a maximum security unit is not intended to punish prisoners for exercising their Fifth Amendment Right rather it is incidental to a legitimate penological reasons.

Where the respondent's position to prevail there would be a serious doubt about the constitutionality of the Federal Sexual Offender program which is in many respects comparable to the Kansas' program.

Respondent analysis would also call into question the constitutionality of the downward adjustment of the sentence for acceptance of criminal responsibility.

The Chief Justice and Justices Scalia and Thomas joins this opinion; Justice O’Connor has filed an opinion conferring on the judgment; Justice Stevens has filed a dissenting opinion in which Justices Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer joined.