The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marovitz, District Judge.
This case was initially before the court on October 5, 1973, at
which time a memorandum opinion was issued denying defendants'
motion to dismiss. The aspect of the suit which relates to
plaintiff's writ of habeas corpus is decided today. For
convenience, we shall again set forth pertinent facts and
The plaintiff, Frank Stachulak, is currently in the custody of
the Illinois Director of Corrections at the Psychiatric Division
of the Illinois State Penitentiary, Menard, pursuant to a finding
by the Circuit Court of Cook County that he is a sexually
dangerous person under Ill.Rev.Stats. ch. 38, § 105-1.01 et seq.
Defendants are the State officials responsible for the care and
custody of plaintiff Stachulak. Plaintiff seeks relief under both
the Federal Civil Rights Act and the Federal Habeas Corpus Act,
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 2254, respectively, claiming
that his constitutional rights have been violated in the
following manner: (1) the failure of the statute to require proof
beyond a reasonable doubt before depriving plaintiff of his
liberty violated his rights under the Due Process Clause; (2) the
language of the Act is too broad and vague to guarantee Due
Process and Equal Protection; (3) plaintiff is treated worse than
criminal defendants and those committed under the mental health
laws in violation of the Equal Protection Clause; and (4) the
failure to provide treatment for one committed under civil
standards for a "mental disorder" violates the Eighth and
Defendants moved to dismiss the case for failure to state a
cause of action upon which relief could be granted. Defendants
contended that the action was an application for a writ of habeas
corpus in which state remedies had not been exhausted, that the
constitutionality of the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act had
already been adjudicated in the state and federal courts in a
manner dispositive of these issues, and that those committed have
no constitutional right to treatment.
This court, in its opinion of October 5, 1973, denied the
motion to dismiss, and noted its agreement with Wyatt v.
Stickney, 344 F. Supp. 387 (M.D.Ala. 1972), insofar as that case
recognizes a constitutional right to treatment for civilly
committed mental patients under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Discovery was ordered with regard to the issue of adequate
treatment, and the habeas corpus determination was continued to
November 5, 1973.
The Habeas Corpus Jurisdiction of the Court
The U.S. Supreme Court, in Fay v. Noia, 372 U.S. 391, 83 S.Ct.
822, 9 L.Ed.2d 837 (1963), held that the statutory requirement of
exhaustion of state remedies in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b) and (c)
applies only to those remedies still open to the applicant at the
time he seeks federal habeas corpus, and does not include
remedies he might have pursued in the past that are not still
Plaintiff alleges and argues that he has no presently available
adequate state remedies. As plaintiff notes, the Illinois
Act is not available to persons attacking their commitment under
the Illinois Sexually Dangerous Persons Act. People v. Lindsey,
45 Ill.2d 115, 256 N.E.2d 808 (1970). Further, the state writ of
habeas corpus is not available to review claims of a
non-jurisdictional nature, even though such claims may involve
denial of constitutional rights. People ex rel. Shelley v. Frye,
42 Ill.2d 263, 246 N.E.2d 251 (1969). The claims in this case are
clearly not jurisdictional in nature. Finally, an appeal from a
commitment under the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act is governed
by the Civil Practice Act, People v. Kennedy, 43 Ill.2d 200,
251 N.E.2d 209 (1969), and leave to appeal under the Civil Practice
Act has expired.
The failure of plaintiff Stachulak to comply with state
procedures does not automatically preclude him from seeking
habeas corpus relief from the federal courts pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254. In fact, it is the clear holding of Fay v. Noia,
supra, that "Federal courts have power under the federal habeas
statute to grant relief despite the applicant's failure to have
pursued a state remedy not available to him at the time he
applies." 372 U.S. at 398, 83 S.Ct. at 827. We choose to invoke
our habeas jurisdiction.
Standard of Proof Employed in the Commitment Proceeding
Though no standard of proof is specifically set forth in the
statute, it is an uncontroverted allegation that the plaintiff in
this suit was committed upon a mere preponderance of the
The proceedings under the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act are
civil in nature. Ill.Rev.Stats. ch. 38, § 105-3.01. The Illinois
courts have held on several occasions, however, that because
these proceedings may result in a deprivation of liberty,
defendant must be accorded the essential protections available in
criminal trials. People v. Studdard, 51 Ill.2d 190, 281, N.E.2d
678 (1972); People v. Kennedy, supra; People v. Bruckman,
33 Ill.2d 150, 210 N.E.2d 537 (1965); People v. English, 31 Ill.2d 301,
201 N.E.2d 455 (1964). We need only determine whether the
requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is one of those
essential protections. On the basis of the Supreme Court opinion,
In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 90 S.Ct. 1068, 25 L.Ed.2d 368
(1970), we hold that the state must prove beyond a reasonable
doubt all facts necessary to show that an individual is a
sexually dangerous person.
The U.S. Supreme Court in In Re Winship, supra, held that when
proceedings, even though labeled civil, may result in an
individual's incarceration in an institution of confinement, the
trier of fact must find that commitment is required beyond ...