United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
DENNIS J. HOPPES, Petitioner,
GREGORY SCOTT, Program Director, Rushville Treatment/Detention Facility, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM and ORDE
R. Herndon United States District Judge
Dennis J. Hoppes was civilly committed under the Illinois
Sexually Violent Persons (SVP) Commitment Act, 725 ILCS
207/1, et seq., in 1999. In June 2015, he filed a petition
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254.
matter is now before the Court on petitioner's motion for
an addendum (Doc. 22), as well on as the merits of the
Asserted for Habeas Relief
petition sets forth four grounds for habeas relief:
1. The state was required to prove lack of ability to control
dangerous sexual behavior for this type of civil commitment.
Petitioner's lawyer “misinformed him that the State
‘could prove all requirements at trial' including
that ‘lack of control is implicit in the mental
disorder diagnosis from the DSM manual.'”
2. The state sought to prove that petitioner was
substantially probable to reoffend by the testimony of an
expert witness who relied on “risk assessment tools,
” but the risk assessment tools do not detect or
measure the presence of or the severity of a mental disorder.
His original commitment and annual continuance of commitment
are predicated on the use of these tools.
3. The state used a doctor who was a Psy.D, and not an M.D.
to diagnose petitioner with a mental abnormality. “The
petitioner's liberty has been taken away from him based
on an unqualified diagnosis by an unqualified non-medical
doctor. Had appointed counsel at the 2005 proceedings been
effective and challenged the State's evidence, the
outcome would have been different.” Further, petitioner
“does not suffer from any acquired or congenital brain
abnormality as is absolutely required by the Act.”
4. Petitioner's age and serious medical conditions
significantly reduce his likelihood of recidivism.
Facts and Procedural History
Illinois Attorney General filed a petition to have Dennis J.
Hoppes civilly committed as a Sexually Violent Person in St.
Clair County. On October 14, 1999, Hoppes admitted the
allegations in the petition and, based upon the admission, a
Circuit Judge found him to be a Sexually Violent Person and
ordered him committed pursuant to 725 ILCS §207/40. See,
Sexually Violent Person Admission Findings and Order, Doc. 8,
Ex. 1. The order indicates that Hoppes was
represented by counsel.
to the habeas petition, Hoppes has never filed any state
court action challenging his commitment because “There
is no state court remedy or statute to overturn an SVPCA
verdict obtained as a result of ‘self
commitment.'” Doc. 1, p. 2. See also, Doc. 1, p. 6
(“No appellate or collateral remedies were/are
available at time of commitment or present day.”)
Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act The Illinois
Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act defines a sexually
violent person as:
a person who has been convicted of a sexually violent
offense, has been adjudicated delinquent for a sexually
violent offense, or has been found not guilty of a sexually
violent offense by reason of insanity and who 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.
725 ILCS §207/5.
“sexually violent offense” is defined in the same
section as various specified crimes under Illinois law.
Petitioner does not contest the fact that he was convicted of
one of the enumerated crimes.
Attorney General or the State's Attorney in the county in
which the person was convicted may file a petition alleging
that he is a sexually violent person. §207/15.
Proceedings under the Act are civil in nature. §207/20.
However, the person has the right to be represented by
counsel and an indigent person has the right to appointed
counsel. §207/25(c). The State bears the burden of
proving the allegations of the petition beyond a reasonable
State has the right to have the person evaluated by an expert
chosen by the State, and the person has the right to retain
an expert to evaluate him. If the person is indigent, the
court is to appoint a qualified expert to perform the
examination at the person's request. §207/25(e). If
the person is found to be a sexually violent person,
“the court shall order the person to be committed to
the custody of the Department [of Human Services] for
control, care and treatment until such time as the person is
no longer a sexually violent person.” §207/40(a).
The order shall specify either institutional care or
conditional release. §207/40(b)(2).
judgment finding that the person is a sexually violent person
is reviewable on appeal. §207/35(g). The committed
person may also file a petition for discharge.
committed person must be reexamined at least once every
twelve months, and a written report of the examination must
be submitted to the court. §207/55. At the time of the
reexamination, the committed person is to be furnished with a
notice of his right to petition the court for discharge. If
the person does not waive his right to petition for
discharge, “the court shall set a probable cause
hearing to determine whether facts exist to believe that
since the most recent periodic reexamination (or initial
commitment, if there has not yet been a periodic
reexamination), the condition of the committed person has so
changed that he or she is no longer a sexually ...