Sexual Violence, Sanity, and Safety: Constitutional Parameters for Involuntary Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders
This Comment will address two questions: (1) whether the Washington law is substantially similar to or fundamentally different from the Illinois statute; and (2) whether the Washington statute should be upheld as a constitutional exercise of the state's civil commitment authority under Allen v. Illinois. This Comment argues that the Washington scheme is fundamentally different from the Illinois statute under Allen because it is essentially a lifetime preventive detention scheme and therefore fails to meet the constitutional requirements set forth in Allen. To that end, Part II of this Comment generally explores the involuntary commitment of sex offenders, the constitutional standards for police power commitments, and the issue of preventive detention. Part III discusses provisions of the Illinois Sexually Dangerous Persons Act as well as Allen v. Illinois, concluding that Allen implicitly established a four-part test to judge the constitutionality of sex offender involuntary commitment statutes. Part IV discusses the relevant provisions of the Washington Sexually Violent Predators Act and compares the Washington statute with the Illinois Act. Finally, Part V concludes that the Washington statute fails under the analysis of Allen and is therefore unconstitutional.
Beth Keiko Fujimoto, Sexual Violence, Sanity, and Safety: Constitutional Parameters for Involuntary Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders, 15 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 879 (1992).