Commitment Defense Unit
The Commitment Defense Unit represents indigent people throughout the State of Missouri against whom the government has initiated “civil” commitment proceedings based on the allegation that the citizen is a “sexually violent predator” (SVP). The unit was created in 1999 in response to Missouri’s sexually violent predator legislation. This legislation enables the State to incarcerate individuals after they have completed their sentences for eligible sex offenses, and allows for indefinite “civil” commitment upon a jury finding that an individual meets the legislative criteria of a SVP.
The unit has attorneys throughout the State of Missouri who exclusively represent clients facing commitment under Missouri’s SVP laws. The litigation is complex and sophisticated, requiring knowledge of mental health issues and the use of experts. Almost all cases handled by the unit result in jury trials. The unit employs experienced litigators with strong courtroom skills to represent people that the State is seeking to commit as SVPs.