The Latest Hypocrisy in SVP Expert Testimony

January 26, 2015 10:37 PM

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Sexually Violent Predator laws in 20 states are an exception. Indefinite preventive detention in a psychiatric facility (really a prison in all but name) is permitted if the individual has committed a violent sexual crime and has a mental disorder that predisposes to its repetition. The US Supreme Court in a narrow 5-4 decision found this to be constitutional, but explicitly only if the perpetrator has a definite mental disorder that would distinguish him from the much more common opportunistic criminal rapist. No mental disorder, no preventive detention.

In an attempt to facilitate preventive detention under SVP commitment statutes, many state evaluators blatantly misused the inherently unreliable Paraphilia Not Otherwise Specified as a qualifying diagnosis in cases that involved no more than typical, opportunistic rape. Until recently, juries bough...

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