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Specht v. Patterson

U.S.
Apr 11, 1967
386 U.S. 605 (1967)

Summary

holding that convicted sex offender had a due process right not to be sentenced to a state mental hospital for a period beyond the expiration of his maximum criminal sentence, without a full judicial hearing "before the magnified sentence [is] imposed"

Summary of this case from McChesney v. Bastien

Opinion

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT.

No. 831.

Argued March 21, 1967. Decided April 11, 1967.

Petitioner was convicted of the crime of indecent liberties under a Colorado statute which provided a maximum sentence of 10 years but he was sentenced under the Sex Offenders Act for an indeterminate term of from one day to life imprisonment. The Act may be applied if the trial court believes that a person convicted of specified sex offenses "if at large, constitutes a threat of bodily harm to members of the public, or is an habitual offender and mentally ill." The requisite procedure, a complete psychiatric examination and a report thereof given to the trial judge before sentencing, was complied with in petitioner's case, but no hearing was held. The State Supreme Court approved the procedure, the Federal District Court dismissed a habeas corpus proceeding and the Court of Appeals affirmed. Held: The invocation of the Act, which entails the making of a new charge leading to criminal punishment, requires, under the Due Process Clause, that petitioner be present with counsel, have an opportunity to be heard, be confronted with witnesses against him, have the right to cross-examine and to offer evidence of his own, and that there be findings adequate to make meaningful any appeal that is allowed. Williams v. New York, 337 U.S. 241, distinguished. Pp. 608-611.

357 F.2d 325, reversed.

Michael A. Williams, by appointment of the Court, 385 U.S. 997, argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the brief was Hugh A. Burns.

John E. Bush, Assistant Attorney General of Colorado, argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief were Duke W. Dunbar, Attorney General, Frank E. Hickey, Deputy Attorney General, and John P. Moore, Assistant Attorney General.


We held in Williams v. New York, 337 U.S. 241, that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not require a judge to have hearings and to give a convicted person an opportunity to participate in those hearings when he came to determine the sentence to be imposed. We said:

"Under the practice of individualizing punishments, investigational techniques have been given an important role. Probation workers making reports of their investigations have not been trained to prosecute but to aid offenders. Their reports have been given a high value by conscientious judges who want to sentence persons on the best available information rather than on guesswork and inadequate information. To deprive sentencing judges of this kind of information would undermine modern penological procedural policies that have been cautiously adopted throughout the nation after careful consideration and experimentation. We must recognize that most of the information now relied upon by judges to guide them in the intelligent imposition of sentences would be unavailable if information were restricted to that given in open court by witnesses subject to cross-examination. And the modern probation report draws on information concerning every aspect of a defendant's life. The type and extent of this information make totally impractical if not impossible open court testimony with cross-examination. Such a procedure could endlessly delay criminal administration in a retrial of collateral issues." Id., 249-250.

That was a case where at the end of the trial and in the same proceeding the fixing of the penalty for first degree murder was involved — whether life imprisonment or death.

The question is whether the rule of the Williams case applies to this Colorado case where petitioner, having been convicted for indecent liberties under one Colorado statute that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40-2-32 (1963)) but not sentenced under it, may be sentenced under the Sex Offenders Act, Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 39-19-1 to 10 (1963), for an indeterminate term of from one day to life without notice and full hearing. The Colorado Supreme Court approved the procedure, when it was challenged by habeas corpus ( 153 Colo. 235, 385 P.2d 423) and on motion to set aside the judgment. 156 Colo. 12, 396 P.2d 838. This federal habeas corpus proceeding resulted, the Court of Appeals affirming dismissal of the writ, 357 F.2d 325. The case is here on a petition for certiorari, 385 U.S. 968.

The Sex Offenders Act may be brought into play if the trial court "is of the opinion that any . . . person [convicted of specified sex offenses], if at large, constitutes a threat of bodily harm to members of the public, or is an habitual offender and mentally ill." § 1. He then becomes punishable for an indeterminate term of from one day to life on the following conditions as specified in § 2:

"(2) A complete psychiatric examination shall have been made of him by the psychiatrists of the Colorado psychopathic hospital or by psychiatrists designated by the district court; and

"(3) A complete written report thereof submitted to the district court. Such report shall contain all facts and findings, together with recommendations as to whether or not the person is treatable under the provisions of this article; whether or not the person should be committed to the Colorado state hospital or to the state home and training schools as mentally ill or mentally deficient. Such report shall also contain the psychiatrist's opinion as to whether or not the person could be adequately supervised on probation."

This procedure was followed in petitioner's case; he was examined as required and a psychiatric report prepared and given to the trial judge prior to the sentencing. But there was no hearing in the normal sense, no right of confrontation and so on.

Petitioner insists that this procedure does not satisfy due process because it allows the critical finding to be made under § 1 of the Sex Offenders Act (1) without a hearing at which the person so convicted may confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses and present evidence of his own by use of compulsory process, if necessary; and (2) on the basis of hearsay evidence to which the person involved is not allowed access.

We adhere to Williams v. New York, supra; but we decline the invitation to extend it to this radically different situation. These commitment proceedings whether denominated civil or criminal are subject both to the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as we held in Baxstrom v. Herold, 383 U.S. 107, and to the Due Process Clause. We hold that the requirements of due process were not satisfied here.

The Sex Offenders Act does not make the commission of a specified crime the basis for sentencing. It makes one conviction the basis for commencing another proceeding under another Act to determine whether a person constitutes a threat of bodily harm to the public, or is an habitual offender and mentally ill. That is a new finding of fact ( Vanderhoof v. People, 152 Colo. 147, 149, 380 P.2d 903, 904) that was not an ingredient of the offense charged. The punishment under the second Act is criminal punishment even though it is designed not so much as retribution as it is to keep individuals from inflicting future harm. United States v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437, 458.

Provisions for probation are provided (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 39-19-5-(3) (1963)); and the Board of Parole has broad powers over the person sentenced. (Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 39-19-6 to 10 (1963)).

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in speaking of a comparable Pennsylvania statute said:

The Pennsylvania statute (Pa. Stat., Tit. 19, §§ 1166-1174 (1964)) provides that if a court is of the opinion that a person convicted before it of certain sex offenses "if at large, constitutes a threat of bodily harm to members of the public, or is an habitual offender and mentally ill," it may, "in lieu of the sentence now provided by law," sentence the person to a state institution for an indeterminate period, from one day to life. Pa. Stat., Tit. 19, § 1166 (1964). The sentence is imposed only after the defendant has undergone a psychiatric examination and the court has received a report containing all the facts necessary to determine whether it shall impose the sentence under the act. Pa. Stat., Tit. 19, § 1167 (1964). If the court, after receiving the report, "shall be of the opinion that it would be to the best interests of justice to sentence such person under the provisions of [the] act, he shall cause such person to be arraigned before him and sentenced to" a state institution designated by the Department of Welfare. Pa. Stat., Tit. 19, § 1170 (1964). After a person is sentenced under the act, the state Board of Parole has exclusive control over him. Pa. Stat., Tit. 19, § 1173 (1964).

"It is a separate criminal proceeding which may be invoked after conviction of one of the specified crimes. Petitioner therefore was entitled to a full judicial hearing before the magnified sentence was imposed. At such a hearing the requirements of due process cannot be satisfied by partial or niggardly procedural protections. A defendant in such a proceeding is entitled to the full panoply of the relevant protections which due process guarantees in state criminal proceedings. He must be afforded all those safeguards which are fundamental rights and essential to a fair trial, including the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him." Gerchman v. Maroney, 355 F.2d 302, 312.

We agree with that view. Under Colorado's criminal procedure, here challenged, the invocation of the Sex Offenders Act means the making of a new charge leading to criminal punishment. The case is not unlike those under recidivist statutes where an habitual criminal issue is "a distinct issue" ( Graham v. West Virginia, 224 U.S. 616, 625) on which a defendant "must receive reasonable notice and an opportunity to be heard." Oyler v. Boles, 368 U.S. 448, 452; Chandler v. Fretag, 348 U.S. 3, 8. Due process, in other words, requires that he be present with counsel, have an opportunity to be heard, be confronted with witnesses against him, have the right to cross-examine, and to offer evidence of his own. And there must be findings adequate to make meaningful any appeal that is allowed. The case is therefore quite unlike the Minnesota statute we considered in Minnesota v. Probate Court, 309 U.S. 270, where in a proceeding to have a person adjudged a "psychopathic personality" there was a hearing where he was represented by counsel and could compel the production of witnesses on his behalf. Id., at 275. None of these procedural safeguards we have mentioned is present under Colorado's Sex Offenders Act. We therefore hold that it is deficient in due process as measured by the requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pointer v. Texas, 380 U.S. 400.

The Minnesota statute (Chapter 369 of the Laws of Minnesota of 1939) provided that the laws relating to persons found to be insane were to apply to "persons having a psychopathic personality." It defined the term "psychopathic personality" as meaning the existence in a person of certain characteristics which rendered him "irresponsible for his conduct with respect to sexual matters and thereby dangerous to other persons." The statute was not criminal in nature, and was not triggered by a criminal conviction. A person found to have a "psychopathic personality" would be committed, just as a person found to be insane. See Mason's Minn. Stat. c. 74, § 8992-176 (1938 Supp.).

Reversed.

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN agrees with the conclusions reached by the Court, but upon the premises set forth in his opinion concurring in the result in Pointer v. Texas, 380 U.S. 400, 408.


Summaries of

Specht v. Patterson

U.S.
Apr 11, 1967
386 U.S. 605 (1967)

holding that convicted sex offender had a due process right not to be sentenced to a state mental hospital for a period beyond the expiration of his maximum criminal sentence, without a full judicial hearing "before the magnified sentence [is] imposed"

Summary of this case from McChesney v. Bastien

holding that a hearing with counsel was required before a sexual offender could be civilly committed

Summary of this case from State v. Leon

concluding that "petitioner, having been convicted . . . under one Colorado statute that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years" may not be "sentenced under [another Colorado statute] for an indeterminate term of from one day to life without notice and full hearing"

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Restrepo

concluding that "[this] case is therefore quite unlike the Minnesota statute" which provided "procedural safeguards" that were absent from the Colorado civil commitment statute

Summary of this case from In re Danforth

recognizing Williams as valid but declining to allow conviction as basis for sentence on second conviction

Summary of this case from Pratt v. State

In Specht v. Patterson, 386 U.S. 605 (1967), we held that due process in commitment proceedings, "whether denominated civil or criminal," id., at 608, requires "findings adequate to make meaningful any appeal that is allowed."

Summary of this case from McGautha v. California

In Specht v. Patterson, 386 U.S. 605, 606 (1967), the Court characterized Williams broadly as holding that the Fourteenth Amendment "did not require a judge to have hearings and to give a convicted person an opportunity to participate in those hearings when he came to determine the sentence to be imposed."

Summary of this case from McGautha v. California

In Specht v. Patterson, 386 U.S. 605, 87 S.Ct. 1209, 18 L.Ed.2d 326 (1967), the Court explained that due process protected a person who was convicted under one statute but sentenced to a longer term of imprisonment under another statute which required additional factfinding by the sentencing judge. See Specht, 386 U.S. at 608-10, 87 S.Ct. 1209. The Specht Court stated: "Due process... requires that [the convicted defendant] be present with counsel, have an opportunity to be heard, be confronted with witnesses against him, have the right to cross examine, and to offer evidence of his own.

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Fisher

In Specht, instead of being sentenced for the "indecent liberties" of which he was convicted, Specht was sentenced under Colorado's Sex Offenders Act, which authorized a sentence of one day to life "if the trial court `is of the opinion that any... person [convicted of specified sex offenses], if at large, constitutes a threat of bodily harm to members of the public, or is an habitual offender and mentally ill.'"

Summary of this case from Gill v. Ayers

In Specht, instead of being sentenced for the "indecent liberties" of which he was convicted, Specht was sentenced under Colorado's Sex Offenders Act, which authorized a sentence of one day to life "if the trial court `is of the opinion that any... person [convicted of specified sex offenses], if at large, constitutes a threat of bodily harm to members of the public, or is an habitual offender and mentally ill.'"

Summary of this case from Gill v. Ayers

In Specht v. Patterson, 386 U.S. 605 (1967), the Court held that due process was not satisfied where the petitioner was convicted under a state statute that carried a maximum sentence of 10 years but sentenced under another statute (the Sex Offenders Act) that allowed the trial court to sentence a convicted defendant to an indefinite term of one year to life if the court found that the person constituted a threat of bodily harm to the public or was a habitual offender and mentally ill.

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Grimaldo

In Specht, the Court held that where the defendant had been convicted under a sex offender statute carrying a 10-year maximum penalty, the state could not constitutionally sentence him without a hearing (with appropriate protections such as the right to counsel and to cross-examine witnesses) under a separate but related statute that permitted imposition of a sentence of 1 day to life based on proof that the defendant posed a threat of bodily harm to the public.

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Lombard

In Specht v. Patterson, 386 U.S. 605, 87 S.Ct. 1209, 18 L.Ed.2d 326 (1967), the Court required the application of the Confrontation Clause to the sentencing system at hand.

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Silverman

In Specht, the Court considered a statute which provided that, once convicted of specified sex offenses, a defendant could thereafter be convicted of a second crime and subjected to an additional sentence between one day and life imprisonment.

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Wise

requiring "procedural safeguards" of trial-type hearing before state may impose increased sentence under separate "Sex Offenders Act"

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Thompson

In Specht a Colorado statute exposed a defendant convicted of a sexual offense otherwise carrying a maximum penalty of ten years to an indefinite term to and including life imprisonment if the sentencing court made a post-conviction finding that the defendant posed "a threat of bodily harm to members of the public, or is an habitual offender and mentally ill."

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Mobley

In Specht the sentencing enhancement could have increased a sentence from ten years to life imprisonment, and in Kikumura the upward departure increased a sentence of about 30 months to 30 years.

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Mobley

In Patterson, the Court upheld a New York statute which placed on a defendant convicted of murder the burden of proving insanity as an affirmative defense.

Summary of this case from Nichols v. McCormick

In Specht, defendant was convicted for indecent liberties under one Colorado statute that carried a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Summary of this case from Nichols v. McCormick

In Specht, the Court examined the statutory sentencing procedure under Colorado's Sex Offenders Act. That Act was similar to the Special Dangerous Offenders Act in that it permitted a trial court to increase an otherwise maximum ten-year sentence to life imprisonment if the court determined that the person would "[constitute] a threat of bodily harm to members of the public, or is an habitual offender and mentally ill."

Summary of this case from U.S. v. Blade

In Specht the Court considered the due process rights of an individual who was convicted of a sex-related offense under one Colorado statute and who was then sentenced to an enhanced term of imprisonment pursuant to the Colorado Sex Offenders Act, Colo.Rev.Stat.Ann. §§ 39-19-1 to -10 (1963).

Summary of this case from United States v. Davis

sentencing under a statute that requires additional factual determination that defendant poses threat of harm to public invokes due process right to confront and cross-examine witnesses

Summary of this case from United States v. Weston

In Specht, the defendant attacked the constitutionality of the Colorado Sex Offenders Act which came into play if the trial court found, on the basis of a psychiatric examination, that the accused, who had been convicted of a specified sex offense, would constitute a threat of bodily harm to the public, or was an habitual offender and mentally ill.

Summary of this case from United States v. Bowdach

In Specht the Court held that an individual could not be sentenced under the Colorado Sex Offenders Act, a statute similar in purpose to the one before us, unless he was accorded the fundamental protections of due process.

Summary of this case from United States ex Rel. Stachulak v. Coughlin

In Specht v. Patterson, 386 U.S. 605, 87 S.Ct. 1209, 18 L.Ed.2d 326 (1967), the court held that the Colorado Sex Offenders Act was deficient in due process when measured by the requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Summary of this case from Painter v. Leeke
Case details for

Specht v. Patterson

Case Details

Full title:SPECHT v . PATTERSON, WARDEN, ET AL

Court:U.S.

Date published: Apr 11, 1967

Citations

386 U.S. 605 (1967)
87 S. Ct. 1209

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