Updated on December 21, 2019
Updated Transitional Release Requirements
Issue: Is the State required to prove “serious difficulty in controlling behavior,” when arguing a person does not meet the qualifications for transitional release?
Answer: Yes. The State must prove “serious difficulty in controlling behavior.”
Facts: In 2018, Richard A. Quillen challenged the State’s annual finding that he did not meet the criteria for transitional release under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act. At trial, the jury found the State met its burden to prove that Quillen did not meet the criteria for transitional release. Quillen appealed, arguing the district court deprived him of due process when they overruled his objection to the jury instructions.
Discussion: To commit a person under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act the State must prove under Kan. Stat. Ann. § 59-29a08(g) that: (1) the person has been convicted of or charged with a sexually violent offense; (2) the person suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder; and (3) that mental abnormality or personality disorder makes the person likely to commit repeated acts of sexual violence. The Kansas Court of Appeals agreed with Quillen, holding the State was required to prove that Quillen’s “mental abnormality or personality disorder makes it seriously difficult for him to control his dangerous behavior.” The Kansas Legislature amended the definition of a sexually violent predator under Kan. Stat. Ann. § 59-29a02(a) to include this element, but that definition, only governs initial commitment hearings, not transitional release hearings. The Court held that the elements at initial commitment hearings and hearings on transitional release are the same. Therefore, the State was required to prove “serious difficulty in controlling behavior,” and the jury instructions should have reflected that.
Kansas v. Crane, 534 U.S. 407 (2002).
In re Care & Treatment of Williams, 253 P.3d 327, 333 (Kan. 2011).
Kan. Stat. Ann. § 59-29a08(g) (Supp. 2018).
Kan. Stat. Ann. § 59-29a02(a) (Supp. 2018).