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The People of the State of Illinois v. James Masterson

September 22, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Justice Kilbride

CHIEF JUSTICE KILBRIDE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justices Freeman, Thomas, Garman, Karmeier, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion.


¶ 1 The issue in this appeal is whether the provisions of the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (725 ILCS 205/0.01 et seq. (West 1998)) addressing the selection of evaluating psychiatrists violate the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment (U.S. Const., amend.

XIV). Specifically, respondent, James Masterson, asserts that the provisions deny his right to equal protection by failing to provide him with the option to retain an independent psychiatrist to defend against commitment proceedings, an option afforded similarly situated individuals subject to commitment proceedings under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (725 ILCS 207/1 et seq. (West 2000)). The circuit court of Cook County rejected respondent's argument, ultimately declaring him a sexually dangerous person and ordering his commitment. The appellate court affirmed. No. 1-05-3945 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). For the following reasons, we affirm the appellate court's judgment.


¶ 3 This is the second time that this court has considered respondent's case after his involuntary commitment as a sexually dangerous person. On the first occasion, we reversed the judgments of the lower courts and remanded for a new commitment hearing using standards for civil commitment consistent with the United States Supreme Court's decisions in Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346 (1997), and Kansas v. Crane, 534 U.S. 407 (2002). People v. Masterson, 207 Ill. 2d 305 (2003) (Masterson I).

¶ 4 On remand, in relevant part, the circuit court appointed two psychiatrists to evaluate respondent, and both found respondent to be a sexually dangerous person. Respondent filed a motion to retain a third independent psychiatrist. Following a hearing, the circuit court rejected respondent's request, finding that its appointment of two psychiatrists to evaluate respondent complied with the applicable statutory requirements. When respondent renewed his motion for an "independent evaluation," the court again denied his request for a third psychiatrist.

¶ 5 At the subsequent hearing on the State's commitment petition, the following evidence was presented. In 1997, respondent regularly paid Anna K. money to engage in sexual acts with him. In February 1997, respondent gave Anna a letter indicating that he wanted to view pornographic material and have intimate contact with Anna's 12-year-old daughter in exchange for money. Anna was upset by the letter, and her son convinced her to inform law enforcement officials. After consulting with police officers, Anna agreed to participate in a police operation to make respondent believe that he could meet her minor daughter.

¶ 6 Anna and respondent scheduled the meeting for February 18, 1997, at Anna's house. Prior to the arranged meeting, respondent encountered Anna on the street and picked her up, driving his vehicle to her house. Anna saw respondent's black gym bag inside his vehicle. The bag contained pornographic magazines and videotapes, items that Anna recognized from her previous encounters with respondent. After they arrived at Anna's home, Anna went inside while respondent waited in his vehicle. Anna told her son to take her daughter upstairs and then Anna left the house, asking respondent to drive her to another location. Respondent complied. After respondent dropped Anna off, Anna called her son, who had stayed at home with her daughter, and also called police officers to report that respondent was going to her house.

¶ 7 Ultimately, Chicago police officers Thomas Hennigan and James

Volpi stopped respondent's vehicle a short distance from Anna's house. Officers recovered a dark-colored gym bag from respondent's vehicle. The bag contained 53 pornographic magazines, two or three videotapes, and handcuffs. Respondent was in possession of $504 at the time of his arrest.

¶ 8 Respondent was taken to the police station, where he agreed to talk to police detectives after being advised of his constitutional rights. Respondent admitted that he gave Anna the letter indicating his desire to view pornographic material and to have intimate contact with her minor daughter. Respondent acknowledged that he occasionally paid Anna for sex. Respondent told detectives that after he dropped Anna off, he believed her daughter was home alone at Anna's house. Respondent discovered, however, that Anna's son was also at the house, and respondent left. Respondent was then stopped by police officers.

¶ 9 Two court-appointed expert forensic psychiatrists, Dr. Stafford

Henry and Dr. Carol Flippen, evaluated respondent. In addition to personal evaluations, the doctors reviewed respondent's relevant medical and court records. Dr. Henry and Dr. Flippen each reached the same medical opinion of respondent, specifically, that he suffered from the mental disorder pedophilia.

¶ 10 During their respective evaluations of respondent, Dr. Henry and Dr. Flippen discussed with him the underlying 1997 incident. Respondent admitted that he routinely paid Anna to perform sex acts and to view pornographic material. Respondent also admitted that he wrote Anna a letter expressing his desire to have sexual contact with her minor daughter. Respondent planned to have the girl sit on his lap while they watched pornographic material. Respondent told Dr. Henry that he wanted to rub his penis against the girl's anus. Respondent told Dr. Flippen that he planned to rub or massage the girl's vaginal area through her clothing. When asked what would have happened if respondent found Anna's minor daughter alone at the house, respondent replied that he was "not sure," but that he "might have assaulted her."

ΒΆ 11 Respondent also discussed two other relevant incidents. In 1983, after being fired from his job, respondent was angry and driving his vehicle when he saw a young girl walking alone. Respondent felt the girl was dressed provocatively because she was wearing shorts. Respondent felt aroused by the girl and asked her if she needed a ride. The girl refused, and respondent drove away. Respondent stopped his vehicle a short distance away and waited for the girl. When the girl reached his location, respondent threatened her ...

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