In Illinois, a person deemed a Sexually Violent Person (“SVP”) in a civil trial can be detained indefinitely in treatment facilities that functionally serve as prisons. SVPs are not afforded the right to waive a jury trial, a right that criminal defendants enjoy. This results in SVPs facing juries that treat sex offenders as monsters or sub-humans, due to often sensationalistic media coverage and the use of sex offenders as boogeymen in political campaigns. The lack of a jury trial waiver results in more individuals being deemed SVPs, depriving many of their liberty without the due process of law, a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Commitment Through Fear: Mandatory Jury Trials and Substantive Due Process Violations in the Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders in Illinois,
Chi.-Kent L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/cklawreview/vol93/iss2/12