March 1, 1976
COUGHLIN ET AL
C.A. 7th Cir. Reported below: 520 F.2d 931.
[ 424 U.S. Page 947]
Motion of respondent for leave to proceed in forma pauperis granted. Certiorari denied. MR. JUSTICE STEVENS took no part in the consideration or decision of this motion and petition.
MR. JUSTICE WHITE, with whom MR. JUSTICE POWELL joins, dissenting.
On appeal from an order granting respondent a writ of habeas corpus, 369 F. Supp. 628 (ND Ill. 1973), the Court of Appeals held, United States ex rel. Stachulack v. Coughlin, 520 F.2d 931 (CA7 1975), that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires that the reasonable-doubt standard of proof be applied in judicial proceedings under the Illinois Sexually Dangerous Persons Act, Ill. Rev. Stat., c. 38, § 105-1.01 et seq. (1973), which authorizes the State to seek involuntary indeterminate commitment to a correctional institution in lieu of criminal prosecution of a person charged
[ 424 U.S. Page 948]
with a criminal offense and believed to be sexually dangerous within the meaning of the Act.
The question whether due process requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt in such proceedings has produced divergent conclusions in the Courts of Appeals. Compare Tippett v. Maryland, 436 F.2d 1153 (CA4 1971), cert. dismissed sub nom. Murel v. Baltimore City Criminal Court, 407 U.S. 355 (1972) (proof by a preponderance of the evidence), with In re Ballay, 157 U.S. App. D.C. 59, 482 F.2d 648 (1973), and United States ex rel. Stachulak v. Coughlin, supra (proof beyond a reasonable doubt).*fn* The question is important to the administration of justice in this country, and the Court should shoulder its responsibility to resolve the conflicting judgments.
I would grant the petition for a writ of certiorari and afford the case plenary consideration.