McNeil v. Patuxent Institution,
407 U.S. 245 (1972)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McNeil v. Patuxent Institution, 407 U.S. 245 (1972)

McNeil v. Patuxent Institution

No. 71-5144

Argued April 20, 1972

Decided June 19, 1972

407 U.S. 245


Petitioner, who was given a five-year sentence, was referred under an ex parte order to the Patuxent Institution for examination to determine whether he should be committed for an indefinite term as a defective delinquent. In this proceeding for post-conviction relief, he challenge his confinement after expiration of that sentence as violative of due process. Respondent contends that petitioner's continued confinement is justified until petitioner cooperates with the examining psychiatrists and thus facilitates an assessment of his condition. The trial court denied relief, holding that a person confined under Maryland's Defective Delinquency Law may be detained until the statutory procedures for examination and report have been completed, regardless of whether or not the criminal sentence has expired.

Held: In the circumstances of this case, it is a denial of due process to continue to hold petitioner on the basis of an ex parte order committing him to observation without the procedural safeguards commensurate with a long-term commitment, Jackson v. Indiana, 406 U. S. 715; and without affording him those safeguards his further detention cannot be justified as analogous to confinement for civil contempt or for any other reason. Pp. 407 U. S. 247-252.


MARSHALL, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. DOUGLAS, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, p. 252.

Page 407 U. S. 246

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