Sexually Dangerous Person/Sexually Violent Person Defense

A significant portion of Mr. Nieman’s practice involves representing persons who the State is seeking to civilly commit under Illinois’ Sexually Dangerous Persons (SDP) and Illinois’ Sexually Violent Persons (SVP) laws. Mr. Nieman also represents individuals who have already been committed under these laws.

Illinois SDP and SVP laws are slightly different but have the same statutory aim: civilly commit individuals the State has alleged to be sexually dangerous or sexually violent for what could be the rest of the individual’s life. 


SDP Commitment

SDP commitment is distinct from SVP commitment in some important ways. First SDPs are committed in lieu of a criminal prosecution. The local State’s Attorneys office can chose to file an SDP commitment petition instead of criminal charges in a given case. If the State is successful in civilly committing the defendant, then the State’s Attorney’s office will typically dismiss the underlying criminal case that originally brought the defendant into court. Then the committed SDP will be placed at Big Muddy River Correctional Center for treatment. The SDP will remain in DOC custody until he is released on a very intensive form of supervised release after what is usually many years of treatment at the facility. The local State’s Attorney’s office initiates and generally handles the periodic reviews of SDP cases.


SVP commitment

SVP commitment, on the other hand, generally comes after an individual has been convicted of a sex offense and has been sent to prison. By law, all sex offenders in DOC must be screened for SVP commitment prior to being released. If an inmate meets the criteria for SVP commitment, the Attorney General’s office will file a commitment petition right before the inmate is to be released. The inmate will then be released from DOC custody into custody of the trial court where the SVP petition was filed, and he will then stand trial on that petition. If the State successfully commits an SDP, then the inmate will be placed at a DHS-run Treatment and Detention Facility in Rushville, IL. The SVP will remain there until released on conditional release, which is a form of very intensive supervised release. The Attorney General’s office initiates and generally handles the periodic reviews of SDP cases.



Aside from successfully defeating an SVP petition prior to commitment, the second best result would be to win a client’s release from the secure treatment facilities at Big Muddy River and the Rushville TDF. Then, eventually, to win full discharge from the SDP and SVP programs. Securing release from the facility or discharge from the SDP and SVP programs requires the assistance of a skilled and knowledgeable attorney in this area. If your loved one is facing commitment under the SDP or SVP laws or has already been committed and is seeking release, please contact Nate Nieman for a free consultation to see how he can help.

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Free Case Evaluation

Free Case Evaluation

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