Argued January 28, 2016
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at Raleigh. (5:13-hc-02077-D). James C. Dever III, Chief District Judge.
ARGUED: Joshua Robbins, Brian Remondino, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF LAW, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellant.
Michael Lockridge, BUREAU OF PRISONS, Butner, North Carolina, for Appellee.
ON BRIEF: Stephen L. Braga, Appellate Litigation Clinic, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF LAW, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellant.
Thomas G. Walker, United States Attorney, R.A. Renfer, Jr., Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.
Before TRAXLER, Chief Judge, and AGEE and WYNN, Circuit Judges. Chief Judge Traxler wrote the opinion, in which Judge Agee and Judge Wynn joined.
TRAXLER, Chief Judge
Thomas Shane Matherly appeals from the district court's order granting summary judgment to the respondent (the " government" ) on his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. In the petition, Matherly challenges his prior civil commitment as a " sexually dangerous person" under 18 U.S.C. § 4248 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (the " Act" ). See United States v. Matherly, 514 Fed.Appx. 287 (4th Cir. 2013) (per curiam). For the following reasons, we affirm the district court's decision in part, and reverse and remand in part.
The Adam Walsh Act authorizes the civil commitment of, inter alia, " sexually dangerous person[s]" who are " in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons." 18 U.S.C. § 4248(a). The civil commitment process is initiated when the Attorney General, his designee, or the Director of the Bureau of Prisons (" BOP" ), certifies to the district court where the individual is confined that the individual " is a sexually dangerous person." Id. The certification automatically stays the inmate's release pending a hearing. See id.
A " sexually dangerous person" is defined as " a person who has engaged or attempted to engage in sexually violent conduct or child molestation and who is sexually dangerous to others." 18 U.S.C. § 4247(a)(5). A person is " 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." 18 U.S.C. § 4247(a)(6). This " serious difficulty" prong " refers to the degree of the person's 'volitional impairment,' which impacts the person's ability to refrain from acting upon his deviant sexual desires." United States v. Hall, 664 F.3d 456, 463 (4th Cir. 2012) (quoting Kansas v. Hendricks, 521 U.S. 346, 358, 117 S.Ct. 2072, 138 L.Ed.2d 501 (1997)).
" If, after [a] hearing, the [district] 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," either for release to a state civil commitment system or to a federal facility until it is determined that the person " is no longer sexually dangerous to others, or will not be sexually dangerous to others if released under a prescribed regimen of medical, psychiatric, or psychological care ...