Argued: Oct. 30, 2013.
James Edward Todd, Jr., Office of the Federal Public defender, Greenville, North Carolina, for Appellant.
Michael Gordon James, Office of the United States Attorney, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.
Thomas P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender, G. Alan DuBois, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Office of the Federal Public Defender, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant.
Thomas G. Walker, United States Attorney, Rudy A. Renfer, Assistant United States Attorney, Office of the United States Attorney, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.
Before SHEDD and THACKER, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge.
Affirmed by published opinion. Senior Judge HAMILTON wrote the opinion in which Judge SHEDD and Judge THACKER joined.
HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge:
Below, following a hearing, the district court found that Vernon Dale Wood (Wood) was a " sexually dangerous person" under the Adam Walsh Act, 18 U.S.C. § 4248 (the Act). As a result, the district court committed Wood to the custody of the Attorney General of the United States. Wood appeals, and we affirm.
The Act provides for the civil commitment of a " sexually dangerous person" following the expiration of their federal prison sentences. Id. § 4248(a). A sexually dangerous person is one " who has engaged or attempted to engage in sexually violent conduct or child molestation and who is sexually dangerous to others." Id. § 4247(a)(5). A person is considered " sexually dangerous to others" if " the person suffers from a serious mental illness, abnormality, or disorder as a result of which he would have serious difficulty in refraining from sexually violent conduct or child molestation if released." Id. § 4247(a)(6).
The Attorney General, his designee, or the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) may initiate a § 4248 civil commitment proceeding in the district court for the district in which the person is confined by filing a certification that the person is sexually dangerous within the meaning of the Act. Id. § 4248(a). The filing automatically stays the release of the person from custody pending a hearing before the district court. Id.
Prior to the civil commitment hearing, the district court " may order that a psychiatric or psychological examination of the defendant be conducted, and that a psychiatric or psychological report be filed with the court." Id. § 4248(b). If the district court finds more than one examiner " appropriate," the district court may order additional examinations. Id. § 4247(b). Each examiner is designated by the district
court, " except ... upon the request of the defendant[,] an additional examiner may be selected by the defendant." Id.
To obtain a civil commitment order against a defendant, the government is required to establish three elements by clear and convincing evidence. Cf. id. § 4248(d) (" If, after the hearing, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person is a sexually dangerous person, the court shall commit the person to the custody of the Attorney General." ). First, the government is required to establish that the defendant has " engaged or attempted to engage in ... child molestation" in the past, Id. § 4247(a)(5). Next, the government is required to prove that the defendant currently " suffers from a serious mental illness, abnormality, or disorder," id. § 4247(a)(6). Finally, the government is required to show that the defendant, as a result of the illness, abnormality, or disorder, " would have serious difficulty in refraining from ... child molestation if released." Id.
Wood was born in July 1953. In 1976, he was arrested for promoting prostitution in the first and second degree, and simple assault, in Yakima County Superior Court in Yakima, Washington. The prostitution charges were subsequently dismissed, but Wood was convicted of the simple assault charge and received a suspended sentence of fifteen days.
In April 1977, Wood was arrested for promoting prostitution and compelling prostitution in Malheur County Circuit Court in Malheur, Oregon. He was found guilty of both counts and sentenced to eighteen months' imprisonment for the promoting prostitution count and sentenced to a consecutive term of three years' imprisonment for the compelling prostitution count. One of the women involved in these prostitution offenses was a sixteen-year old female.
In August 1987, Wood was charged with sexual abuse in the second degree in Polk County District Court in Polk, Iowa. In May 1989, he was found guilty of this offense, which involved intercourse with a ten-year old girl, and sentenced to twenty-five years' imprisonment. He was released from prison in January 2001.
On April 16, 2001, Wood was arrested and charged with failure to comply with sex offender registry requirements in Polk County District Court. He received a suspended sentence of ...