Civil Commitment Upheld, Allegedly Stared at Young Boys

Bismarck Tribune

North Dakota’s Supreme Court upheld a Grand Forks man's commitment to the state mental hospital for treatment as a sexual predator.

The court's decision Thursday was split. Justice Carol Ronning Kapsner says there isn’t enough evidence to conclude Christopher Midgett was a predator.

When psychologists decided to put Midgett into the hospital, they cited two instances where Midgett allegedly stared at young boys. Kapsner says that isn’t enough evidence to lock someone up indefinitely for treatment.

Midgett was confined as a juvenile in Texas for molesting a 5-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy. Court records say he was 13 when he was confined. He’s now 25 years old.

Midgett’s attorney says he should have been allowed to question the witnesses who accused him of staring at boys. The Supreme Court’s justices agree that Midgett’s right to confront his accusers doesn’t apply during civil commitment proceedings. [Ed: This is reminiscent of the so-called "rape stare" allegation Atascadero (CA) female staff employ to sabotage patient's records. The scary thing is, there is nothing surprising or out of the ordinary in a man being civilly committed for life on the basis of "staring" in our country today. Indeed, it is now commonplace. The other important point here is that, despite the fact that the defendant is in the process of losing his freedom completely, civil commitment procedures accord the defendant far fewer rights than they would have in a criminal proceeding. This is all predicated on the conceit that he is "not being punished" by being civilly confined but rather he is "undergoing treatment" and "society is being safeguarded". Please, dear Lord, save us from our protectors!]

No comments: