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SPECHT V. PATTERSON, 386 U. S. 605 (1967)

U.S. Supreme Court

Specht v. Patterson, 386 U.S. 605 (1967)

Specht v. Patterson

No. 831

Argued March 21, 1967

Decided April 11, 1967

386 U.S. 605


Petitioner was convicted of the crime of indecent liberties under a Colorado statute which provided a maximum sentence of 10 years, but he was sentenced under the Sex Offenders Act for an indeterminate term of from one day to life imprisonment. The Act may be applied if the trial court believes that a person convicted of specified sex offenses, "if at large, constitutes a threat of bodily harm to members of the public, or is an habitual offender and mentally ill." The requisite procedure, a complete psychiatric examination and a report thereof given to the trial judge before sentencing, was complied with in petitioner's case, but no hearing was held. The State Supreme Court approved the procedure, the Federal District Court dismissed a habeas corpus proceeding, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: The invocation of the Act, which entails the making of a new charge leading to criminal punishment, requires, under the Due Process Clause, that petitioner be present with counsel, have an opportunity to be heard, be confronted with witnesses against him, have the right to cross-examine and to offer evidence of his own, and that there be findings adequate to make meaningful any appeal that is allowed. Williams v. New York, 337 U. S. 241, distinguished. Pp. 386 U. S. 608-611.

357 F.2d 325, reversed.

Page 386 U. S. 606

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