North Dakota Law Review

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In re G.R.H., 2008 ND 222, 758 N.W.2d 719
In In re G.R.H., the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s order rejecting G.R.H.’s petition for discharge from commitment as a sexually dangerous individual. G.R.H.’s previous criminal history, his confessions during treatment, his diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder and sexual attraction to adolescents, and his lack of self-control satisfied the definition of a sexually dangerous individual. G.R.H. disclosed he had contact with previously unknown adolescent victims during a homework exercise and polygraph at a treatment center. In her concurrence, Justice Kapsner labeled these disclosures as self-incriminating statements. Distinguishing In re G.R.H. from Allen v. Illinois, Justice Kapsner explained that North Dakota’s sexually dangerous individual commitment jurisprudence allows a trial court to consider both refusal to disclose and disclosure of additional sexually predatory conduct as evidence of the need to continue commitment. Additionally, North Dakota law currently prohibits the use of final determinations of civil commitments as evidence in subsequent criminal proceedings, but North Dakota law is silent as to the use of evidence considered in order to determine whether someone is a sexually dangerous individual. In re G.R.H. has fueled challenges to civil commitments of sexually dangerous individuals based upon the use of self-incriminating statements. The facts of In re G.R.H. reveal the need to amend the commitment statutes to limit the use of self-incriminating statements disclosed during treatment to the hearing for determination of a sexually dangerous individual and prohibit the use of those statements in subsequent criminal proceedings.

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