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Stanbridge v. Scott

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 29, 2015

KEVIN W. STANBRIDGE, Petitioner-Appellant,
GREGORY SCOTT, Respondent-Appellee

Argued, April 22, 2015

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 12-cv-3067 -- Colin S. Bruce, Judge.

For Kevin W. Stanbridge (14-1548, 14-2114), Petitioner - Appellant: Robert J. Palmer, Attorney, May, Oberfell & Lorber, Mishawaka, IN.

For Gregory Scott (14-1548, 14-2114), Respondent - Appellee: Erin O'Connell, Attorney, Office of The Attorney General, Chicago, IL.

Before FLAUM, MANION, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.


Page 716

Flaum, Circuit Judge.

Kevin Stanbridge is currently confined in a secured facility pursuant to a commitment order under the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, 725 Ill.Comp.Stat. 207/1 et seq., which allows for the civil commitment of individuals who have been convicted of a sexually violent offense and who suffer from a mental disorder that predisposes them to future acts of sexual violence. Stanbridge filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Central District of Illinois, where he is

Page 717

confined. His petition does not attack any aspect of his current confinement; rather, it challenges a 2005 criminal conviction for aggravated criminal sexual abuse. At the time the petition was filed, Stanbridge had already served his full sentence for his 2005 conviction. The district court, therefore, dismissed Stanbridge's petition, concluding that it lacked jurisdiction to consider claims related to Stanbridge's criminal conviction because he is no longer " in custody pursuant to [that] judgment." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a).

Stanbridge argues on appeal, as he did below, that he remains " in custody" pursuant to his sexual abuse conviction because that conviction serves as a necessary, though not sufficient, predicate for his current confinement. We conclude, however, that Stanbridge's civil commitment is merely a collateral consequence of his criminal conviction, and thus insufficient to render Stanbridge in custody pursuant to that conviction. We therefore affirm the district court's dismissal of the petition.

I. Background

In 1999, Kevin Stanbridge was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Illinois. See 720 Ill.Comp.Stat. 5/12-16(d) (1998). The charge stemmed from an incident with his friend's fourteen-year-old son, the details of which are not relevant to our analysis. Stanbridge was initially convicted in 2001, but that conviction was reversed by the Illinois Appellate Court. People v. Stanbridge, 348 Ill.App.3d 351, 810 N.E.2d 88, 284 Ill.Dec. 435 (Ill.App.Ct. 2004). He was retried before a jury in April 2005 and found guilty. On May 3, Stanbridge was sentenced to seven years in prison, with credit for time served, to be followed by two years of mandatory supervised release. Stanbridge again appealed, but this time his conviction was upheld. People v. Stanbridge, No. 4-05-0585 (Ill.App.Ct. July 14, 2007) (unpublished order).

In May 2005, while Stanbridge's criminal appeal was pending, the State filed a petition to have him civilly committed under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act. 725 Ill.Comp.Stat. 207/1 et seq. Under that Act, a person may be civilly committed if found to be a " sexually violent person," meaning that he or she has been found guilty of a sexually violent offense and " is dangerous because he or she suffers from a mental disorder that makes it substantially probable that the person will engage in acts of sexual violence." Id. 207/5(f). Stanbridge was served with the State's petition on May 5, 2005. On May 10, Stanbridge completed his term of incarceration. (Almost all of the term had been served before he was sentenced after retrial.) Rather than being released, however, he was transferred that day into the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services (" IDHS" ), as a judge had concluded that there was probable cause to believe that he was a sexually violent person. See id. 207/30(c) ( " If the court determines after a hearing that there is probable cause to believe that the person named in the petition is a sexually violent person, the court shall order that the person be taken into custody ... [and] transferred within a reasonable time to an appropriate facility ... ." ). Stanbridge was confined to a secure IDHS facility ...

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