Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 37.2. Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
8/22/2017

Chapter 9. Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators.

§ 37.2-900. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

"Defendant" means any person charged with a sexually violent offense who is deemed to be an unrestorably incompetent defendant pursuant to § 19.2-169.3 and is referred for commitment review pursuant to this chapter.

"Department" means the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Corrections.

"Mental abnormality" or "personality disorder" means a congenital or acquired condition that affects a person's emotional or volitional capacity and renders the person so likely to commit sexually violent offenses that he constitutes a menace to the health and safety of others.

"Respondent" means the person who is subject of a petition filed under this chapter.

"Sexually violent offense" means a felony under (i) former § 18-54, former § 18.1-44, subdivision 5 of § 18.2-31, § 18.2-61, 18.2-67.1, or 18.2-67.2; (ii) § 18.2-48 (ii), 18.2-48 (iii), 18.2-63, 18.2-64.1, or 18.2-67.3; (iii) subdivision 1 of § 18.2-31 where the abduction was committed with intent to defile the victim; (iv) § 18.2-32 when the killing was in the commission of, or attempt to commit rape, forcible sodomy, or inanimate or animate object sexual penetration; (v) the laws of the Commonwealth for a forcible sexual offense committed prior to July 1, 1981, where the criminal behavior is set forth in § 18.2-67.1 or 18.2-67.2, or is set forth in § 18.2-67.3; or (vi) conspiracy to commit or attempt to commit any of the above offenses.

"Sexually violent predator" means any person who (i) has been convicted of a sexually violent offense, or has been charged with a sexually violent offense and is unrestorably incompetent to stand trial pursuant to § 19.2-169.3; and (ii) because of a mental abnormality or personality disorder, finds it difficult to control his predatory behavior, which makes him likely to engage in sexually violent acts.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.1; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2005, cc. 716, 914; 2006, cc. 863, 914; 2007, c. 876; 2009, cc. 740, 813, 840.

§ 37.2-900.1. Office of Sexually Violent Predator Services.

There is hereby established within the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the Office of Sexually Violent Predator Services for the purpose of administering the duties of the Department under this chapter.

2006, cc. 681, 914; 2009, cc. 813, 840.

§ 37.2-901. Civil proceeding; rights of respondents; discovery.

In hearings and trials held pursuant to this chapter, respondents shall have the following rights:

1. To receive adequate notice of the proceeding.

2. To be represented by counsel.

3. To remain silent or to testify.

4. To be present during the hearing or trial.

5. To present evidence and to cross-examine witnesses.

6. To view and copy all petitions and reports in the court file.

In no event shall a respondent be permitted, as a part of any proceedings under this chapter, to raise challenges to the validity of his prior criminal or institutional convictions, charges, or sentences, or the computation of his term of confinement.

In no event shall a respondent be permitted to raise defenses or objections based on defects in the institution of proceedings under this chapter unless such defenses or objections have been raised in a written motion to dismiss, stating the legal and factual grounds therefor, filed with the court at least 14 days before the hearing or trial.

All proceedings conducted hereunder are civil proceedings. However, no discovery shall be allowed prior to the probable cause hearing. After the probable cause hearing, no discovery other than that provided in this section shall be allowed without prior leave of the court. Counsel for the respondent and any expert employed or appointed pursuant to this chapter may possess and copy the victim impact statement or presentence or postsentence report. In no event shall the respondent be permitted to retain or copy a victim impact statement or presentence or postsentence report.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.2; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2005, cc. 716, 914; 2007, c. 876; 2009, c. 740; 2011, cc. 446, 448.

§ 37.2-902. Commitment Review Committee; membership.

A. The Director shall establish a Commitment Review Committee (CRC) to screen, evaluate, and make recommendations regarding prisoners and defendants for the purposes of this chapter. The CRC shall be under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. Members of the CRC and any licensed psychiatrists or licensed clinical psychologists providing examinations under subsection B of § 37.2-904 shall be immune from personal liability while acting within the scope of their duties except for gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

B. The CRC shall consist of seven members to be appointed as follows: (i) three full-time employees of the Department of Corrections, appointed by the Director; (ii) three full-time employees of the Department, appointed by the Commissioner, at least one of whom shall be a psychiatrist or psychologist licensed to practice in the Commonwealth who is skilled in the diagnosis and risk assessment of sex offenders and knowledgeable about the treatment of sex offenders; and (iii) one assistant or deputy attorney general, appointed by the Attorney General. Initial appointments by the Director and the Commissioner shall be for terms as follows: one member each for two years, one member each for three years, and one member each for four years. The initial appointment by the Attorney General shall be for a term of four years. Thereafter, all appointments to the CRC shall be for terms of four years, and vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired terms. Four members shall constitute a quorum.

C. The CRC shall meet at least monthly and at other times as it deems appropriate. The CRC shall elect a chairman from its membership to preside during meetings.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.3; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2005, c. 716; 2007, c. 876; 2009, c. 740; 2011, c. 42.

§ 37.2-903. Database of prisoners convicted of sexually violent offenses; maintained by Department of Corrections; notice of pending release to CRC.

A. The Director shall establish and maintain a database of each prisoner in his custody who is (i) incarcerated for a sexually violent offense or (ii) serving or will serve concurrent or consecutive time for another offense in addition to time for a sexually violent offense. The database shall include the following information regarding each prisoner: (a) the prisoner's criminal record and (b) the prisoner's sentences and scheduled date of release. A prisoner who is serving or will serve concurrent or consecutive time for other offenses in addition to his time for a sexually violent offense shall remain in the database until such time as he is released from the custody or supervision of the Department of Corrections or Virginia Parole Board for all of his charges. Prior to the initial assessment of a prisoner under subsection C, the Director shall order a national criminal history records check to be conducted on the prisoner.

B. Each month, the Director shall review the database and identify all such prisoners who are scheduled for release from prison within 10 months from the date of such review or have been referred to the Director by the Virginia Parole Board under rules adopted by the Board (i) who receive a score of five or more on the Static-99 or a similar score on a comparable, scientifically validated instrument designated by the Commissioner, (ii) who receive a score of four on the Static-99 or a similar score on a comparable, scientifically validated instrument if the sexually violent offense mandating the prisoner's evaluation under this section was a violation of § 18.2-61, 18.2-67.1, 18.2-67.2, or 18.2-67.3 where the victim was under the age of 13, or (iii) whose records reflect such aggravating circumstances that the Director determines the offender appears to meet the definition of a sexually violent predator. The Director may exclude from referral prisoners who are so incapacitated by a permanent and debilitating medical condition or a terminal illness so as to represent no threat to public safety.

C. If the Director and the Commissioner agree that no specific scientifically validated instrument exists to measure the risk assessment of a prisoner, the prisoner may instead be screened by a licensed psychiatrist, licensed clinical psychologist, or a licensed mental health professional certified by the Board of Psychology as a sex offender treatment provider pursuant to § 54.1-3600 for an initial determination of whether or not the prisoner may meet the definition of a sexually violent predator.

D. The Commissioner shall forward to the Director the records of all defendants who have been charged with a sexually violent offense and found unrestorably incompetent to stand trial, and ordered to be screened pursuant to § 19.2-169.3. The Director, applying the procedure identified in subsection B, shall identify those defendants who shall be referred to the CRC for assessment.

E. Upon the identification of such prisoners and defendants screened pursuant to subsections B, C, and D, the Director shall forward their names, their scheduled dates of release, court orders finding the defendants unrestorably incompetent, and copies of their files to the CRC for assessment.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.4; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2005, cc. 716, 914; 2006, cc. 863, 914; 2007, c. 876; 2009, c. 740; 2010, c. 389; 2012, cc. 668, 800.

§ 37.2-904. CRC assessment of prisoners or defendants eligible for commitment as sexually violent predators; mental health examination; recommendation.

A. Within 180 days of receiving from the Director the name of a prisoner or defendant who has been assessed by the Director pursuant to § 37.2-903, the CRC shall (i) complete its assessment of the prisoner or defendant for possible commitment pursuant to subsection B and (ii) forward its written recommendation regarding the prisoner or defendant to the Attorney General pursuant to subsection C.

B. CRC assessments of eligible prisoners or defendants shall include a mental health examination, including a personal interview, of the prisoner or defendant by a licensed psychiatrist or a licensed clinical psychologist who is designated by the Commissioner, skilled in the diagnosis and risk assessment of sex offenders, knowledgeable about the treatment of sex offenders, and not a member of the CRC. If the prisoner's or defendant's name was forwarded to the CRC based upon an evaluation by a licensed psychiatrist or licensed clinical psychologist, a different licensed psychiatrist or licensed clinical psychologist shall perform the examination for the CRC. The licensed psychiatrist or licensed clinical psychologist shall determine whether the prisoner or defendant is a sexually violent predator, as defined in § 37.2-900, and forward the results of this evaluation and any supporting documents to the CRC for its review.

The CRC assessment may be based on:

An actuarial evaluation, clinical evaluation, or any other information or evaluation determined by the CRC to be relevant, including but not limited to a review of (i) the prisoner's or defendant's institutional history and treatment record, if any; (ii) his criminal background; and (iii) any other factor that is relevant to the determination of whether he is a sexually violent predator.

C. Following the examination and review conducted pursuant to subsection B, the CRC shall recommend that the prisoner or defendant (i) be committed as a sexually violent predator pursuant to this chapter; (ii) not be committed, but be placed in a conditional release program as a less restrictive alternative; or (iii) not be committed because he does not meet the definition of a sexually violent predator. To assist the Attorney General in his review, the Department of Corrections, the CRC, and the psychiatrist or psychologist who conducts the mental health examination pursuant to this section shall provide the Attorney General with all evaluation reports, prisoner records, criminal records, medical files, and any other documentation relevant to determining whether a prisoner or defendant is a sexually violent predator.

D. Pursuant to clause (ii) of subsection C, the CRC may recommend that a prisoner or defendant enter a conditional release program if it finds that (i) he does not need inpatient treatment, but needs outpatient treatment and monitoring to prevent his condition from deteriorating to a degree that he would need inpatient treatment; (ii) appropriate outpatient supervision and treatment are reasonably available; (iii) there is significant reason to believe that, if conditionally released, he would comply with the conditions specified; and (iv) conditional release will not present an undue risk to public safety.

E. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any mental health professional employed or appointed pursuant to subsection B or § 37.2-907 shall be permitted to copy and possess any presentence or postsentence reports and victim impact statements. The mental health professional shall not disseminate the contents of the reports or the actual reports to any person or entity and shall only utilize the reports for use in examinations, creating reports, and testifying in any proceedings pursuant to this article.

F. If the CRC deems it necessary to have the services of additional experts in order to complete its review of the prisoner or defendant, the Commissioner shall appoint such qualified experts as are needed.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.5; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2004, c. 764; 2005, cc. 716, 914; 2006, cc. 863, 914; 2007, c. 876; 2009, c. 740; 2011, c. 42; 2012, cc. 668, 800.

§ 37.2-905. Review of prisoners convicted of a sexually violent offense; review of unrestorably incompetent defendants charged with sexually violent offenses; petition for commitment; notice to Department of Corrections or referring court regarding disposition of review.

A. Upon receipt of a recommendation by the CRC regarding an eligible prisoner or an unrestorably incompetent defendant for review pursuant to § 19.2-169.3, the Attorney General shall have 90 days to conduct a review of the prisoner or defendant and (i) file a petition for the civil commitment of the prisoner or defendant as a sexually violent predator and stating sufficient facts to support such allegation or (ii) notify the Director and Commissioner, in the case of a prisoner, or the referring court and the Commissioner, in the case of an unrestorably incompetent defendant, that he will not file a petition for commitment. Petitions for commitment shall be filed in the circuit court for the judicial circuit or district in which the prisoner was last convicted of a sexually violent offense or in the circuit court for the judicial circuit or district in which the defendant was deemed unrestorably incompetent and referred for commitment review pursuant to § 19.2-169.3.

B. If the Attorney General decides not to file a petition for the civil commitment of a prisoner or defendant, or if a petition is filed but is dismissed for any reason, the Attorney General and the Director may share any relevant information with the probation and parole officer who is to supervise the prisoner and with the Department to the extent allowed by state and federal law.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.6; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2004, c. 764; 2005, cc. 716, 914; 2006, cc. 863, 914; 2007, c. 876; 2009, c. 740.

§ 37.2-905.1. Substantial compliance.

The provisions of §§ 37.2-903, 37.2-904, and 37.2-905 are procedural and not substantive or jurisdictional. Absent a showing of failure to follow these provisions as a result of gross negligence or willful misconduct, it shall be presumed that there has been substantial compliance with these provisions.

2007, c. 876; 2009, c. 740.

§ 37.2-905.2. Access to records.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law and for the purpose of performing their duties and obligations under this chapter, the Department of Corrections, the Commitment Review Committee, the Department, and the Office of the Attorney General are authorized to possess, copy, and use all records, including records under seal, from all state and local courts, clerks, departments, agencies, boards, and commissions, including but not limited to offices of attorneys for the Commonwealth, the Virginia State Police, local police and sheriffs departments, local schools, institutions of higher education, the Department of Juvenile Justice, court services units, community services boards, the Department, state and local departments of social services, and probation and parole districts. Upon request, the records, documents, notes, recordings, or other information of any kind shall be provided to the Department of Corrections, the Commitment Review Committee, the Department, or the Office of the Attorney General within 20 days of receiving such request.

B. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Department of Corrections, the Commitment Review Committee, the Department, and the Office of the Attorney General may possess, copy, and use presentence reports, postsentence reports, and victim impact statements, including records under seal, for all lawful purposes under this chapter.

2007, c. 876; 2009, c. 740.

§ 37.2-906. Probable cause hearing; procedures.

A. Upon the filing of a petition alleging that the respondent is a sexually violent predator, the circuit court shall (i) forthwith order that until a final order is entered in the proceeding, in the case of a prisoner, he remain in the secure custody of the Department of Corrections or, in the case of a defendant, he remain in the secure custody of the Department and (ii) schedule a hearing within 90 days to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that the respondent is a sexually violent predator. The respondent may waive his right to a hearing under this section. A continuance extending the case beyond the 90 days may be granted to either the Attorney General or the respondent upon good cause shown or by agreement of the parties. The clerk shall mail a copy of the petition to the attorney appointed or retained for the respondent and to the person in charge of the facility in which the respondent is then confined. The person in charge of the facility shall cause the petition to be delivered to the respondent and shall certify the delivery to the clerk. In addition, a written explanation of the sexually violent predator involuntary commitment process and the statutory protections associated with the process shall be given to the respondent at the time the petition is delivered.

B. Any hearing or proceeding under this section may be conducted using a two-way electronic video and audio communication system to provide for the appearance of any parties and witnesses. Any two-way electronic video and audio communication system shall meet the standards set forth in subsection B of § 19.2-3.1.

C. Prior to any hearing under this section, the judge shall ascertain if the respondent is represented by counsel and, if he is not represented by counsel, the judge shall appoint an attorney to represent him. However, if the respondent requests an opportunity to employ counsel, the court shall give him a reasonable opportunity to employ counsel at his own expense.

D. A respondent who has refused to cooperate with a mental health examination required pursuant to § 37.2-904 may, within 21 days of the retention of counsel or appointment of counsel, rescind his refusal and elect to cooperate with the mental health examination. Counsel for the respondent shall provide written notice of the respondent's election to cooperate with the mental health examination to the court and the attorney for the Commonwealth within 30 days of the retention or appointment of counsel, and the probable cause hearing shall be stayed until 30 days after receipt of the mental health examiner's report. The mental health examination shall be conducted in accordance with subsection B of § 37.2-904. Results of the evaluation shall be filed with the court and copies of the results shall be provided to counsel for the parties. The mental health examiner's itemized account of expenses, duly sworn to, shall be presented to the court and, when allowed, shall be certified to the Supreme Court for payment out of the state treasury and shall be charged against the appropriations made to pay criminal charges.

In the event that a respondent refuses to cooperate with the mental health examination required by § 37.2-904 or fails or refuses to cooperate with the mental health examination following rescission of his refusal pursuant to this subsection, the court shall admit evidence of such failure or refusal and shall bar the respondent from introducing his own expert psychiatric and psychological evidence.

E. At the probable cause hearing, the judge shall (i) verify the respondent's identity and (ii) determine whether probable cause exists to believe that he is a sexually violent predator. The existence of any prior convictions or charges may be shown with affidavits or documentary evidence. The details underlying the commission of an offense or behavior that led to a prior conviction or charge may be shown by affidavits or documentary evidence, including but not limited to, hearing and/or trial transcripts, probation and parole and sentencing reports, police and sheriffs' reports, and mental health evaluations. If he meets the qualifications set forth in subsection B of § 37.2-904, the expert witness may be permitted to testify at the probable cause hearing as to his diagnosis, his opinion as to whether the respondent meets the definition of a sexually violent predator, his recommendations as to treatment, and the basis for his opinions. Such opinions shall not be dispositive of whether the respondent is a sexually violent predator.

F. In the case of a prisoner in the custody of the Department of Corrections, if the judge finds that there is not probable cause to believe that the respondent is a sexually violent predator, the judge shall dismiss the petition, and the respondent shall remain in the custody of the Department of Corrections until his scheduled date of release from prison. In the case of a defendant, if the judge finds that there is not probable cause to believe the respondent is a sexually violent predator, the judge shall dismiss the petition and order that the respondent be discharged, involuntarily admitted pursuant to §§ 37.2-814 through 37.2-819, or certified for admission pursuant to § 37.2-806.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.7; 2001, c. 776; 2004, c. 764; 2005, c. 716; 2006, cc. 863, 914; 2007, c. 876; 2009, c. 740; 2011, cc. 446, 448; 2012, cc. 121, 246.

§ 37.2-907. Right to assistance of experts; compensation.

A. Upon a finding of probable cause the judge shall ascertain if the respondent is requesting expert assistance. If the respondent requests expert assistance and has not employed an expert at his own expense, the judge shall appoint such experts as he deems necessary. However, if the respondent refused to cooperate with the mental health examination required pursuant to § 37.2-904 or failed or refused to cooperate with a mental health examination following rescission of a refusal pursuant to § 37.2-906, any expert appointed to assist the respondent shall not be permitted to testify at trial nor shall any report of any such expert be admissible. Any expert employed or appointed pursuant to this section shall be a licensed psychiatrist or licensed clinical psychologist who is skilled in the diagnosis and risk assessment of sex offenders and knowledgeable about the treatment of sex offenders, and who is not a member of the CRC. Any expert employed or appointed pursuant to this section shall have reasonable access to all relevant medical and psychological records and reports pertaining to the respondent. No such expert shall be permitted to testify as a witness on behalf of the respondent unless that expert has prepared a written report detailing his findings and conclusions and has submitted his report, along with all supporting data, to the court, the Attorney General, and counsel for the respondent. Such report shall be submitted no less than 45 days prior to the trial of the matter unless a different time period is agreed to by the parties.

B. Each psychiatrist, psychologist, or other expert appointed by the court to render professional service pursuant to this chapter who is not regularly employed by the Commonwealth, except by the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, shall receive a reasonable fee for such service. The fee shall be determined in each instance by the court that appointed the expert, in accordance with guidelines established by the Supreme Court after consultation with the Department. The fee shall not exceed $5,000. However, in addition, if any such expert is required to appear as a witness in any hearing held pursuant to this chapter, he shall receive mileage and a fee of $750 for each day during which he is required to serve. An itemized account of expenses, duly sworn to, shall be presented to the court, and, when allowed, shall be certified to the Supreme Court for payment out of the state treasury, and shall be charged against the appropriations made to pay criminal charges. Allowance for the fee and for the per diem authorized shall also be made by order of the court, duly certified to the Supreme Court, for payment out of the appropriation to pay criminal charges.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.8; 2001, c. 776; 2004, c. 764; 2005, c. 716; 2006, cc. 863, 914; 2007, c. 876; 2009, c. 740; 2011, cc. 42, 446, 448.

§ 37.2-908. Trial; right to trial by jury; standard of proof; discovery.

A. Within 120 days after the completion of the probable cause hearing held pursuant to § 37.2-906, the court shall conduct a trial to determine whether the respondent is a sexually violent predator. A continuance extending the case beyond the 120 days may be granted to either the Attorney General or the respondent upon good cause shown or by agreement of the parties.

B. The Attorney General or the respondent shall have the right to a trial by jury. Seven persons from a panel of 13 shall constitute a jury in such cases. If a jury determines that the respondent is a sexually violent predator, a unanimous verdict shall be required. If no demand is made by either party for a trial by jury, the trial shall be before the court.

C. The court or jury shall determine whether, by clear and convincing evidence, the respondent is a sexually violent predator. If the court or jury does not find clear and convincing evidence that the respondent is a sexually violent predator, the court shall, in the case of a prisoner, direct that he be returned to the custody of the Department of Corrections. The Department of Corrections shall immediately release him if his scheduled release date has passed, or hold him until his scheduled release date. In the case of a defendant, if the court or jury does not find by clear and convincing evidence that he is a sexually violent predator, the court shall order that he be discharged, involuntarily admitted pursuant to §§ 37.2-814 through 37.2-819, or certified for admission pursuant to § 37.2-806.

If he meets the qualifications set forth in subsection B of § 37.2-904 or 37.2-907, any expert witness may be permitted to testify at the trial as to his diagnosis, his opinion as to whether the respondent meets the definition of a sexually violent predator, his recommendation as to treatment, and the basis for his opinions. Such opinions shall not be dispositive of whether the respondent is a sexually violent predator.

D. If the court or jury finds the respondent to be a sexually violent predator, the court shall then determine that the respondent shall be committed or continue the trial for not less than 45 days nor more than 60 days pursuant to subsection E. A continuance extending the case beyond the 60 days may be granted to either the Attorney General or the respondent upon good cause shown or by agreement of the parties. In making its determination, the court may consider (i) the nature and circumstances of the sexually violent offense for which the respondent was charged or convicted, including the age and maturity of the victim; (ii) the results of any actuarial test, including the likelihood of recidivism; (iii) the results of any diagnostic tests previously administered to the respondent under this chapter; (iv) the respondent's mental history, including treatments for mental illness or mental disorders, participation in and response to therapy or treatment, and any history of previous hospitalizations; (v) the respondent's present mental condition; (vi) the respondent's disciplinary record and types of infractions he may have committed while incarcerated or hospitalized; (vii) the respondent's living arrangements and potential employment if he were to be placed on conditional release; (viii) the availability of transportation and appropriate supervision to ensure participation by the respondent in necessary treatment; and (ix) any other factors that the court deems relevant. If after considering the factors listed in § 37.2-912, the court finds that there is no suitable less restrictive alternative to involuntary secure inpatient treatment, the judge shall by written order and specific findings so certify and order that the respondent be committed to the custody of the Department for appropriate inpatient treatment in a secure facility designated by the Commissioner. Respondents committed pursuant to this chapter are subject to the provisions of § 19.2-174.1 and Chapter 11 (§ 37.2-1100 et seq.).

E. If the court determines to continue the trial to receive additional evidence on possible alternatives to commitment, the court shall require the Commissioner to submit a report to the court, the Attorney General, and counsel for the respondent suggesting possible alternatives to commitment. The court shall then reconvene the trial and receive testimony on the possible alternatives to commitment. At the conclusion of testimony on the possible alternatives to commitment, the court shall consider: (i) the treatment needs of the respondent; (ii) whether less restrictive alternatives to commitment have been investigated and deemed suitable; (iii) whether any such alternatives will accommodate needed and appropriate supervision and treatment plans for the respondent, including but not limited to, therapy or counseling, access to medications, availability of travel, and location of proposed residence; and (iv) whether any such alternatives will accommodate needed and appropriate regular psychological or physiological testing, including but not limited to, penile plethysmograph testing or sexual interest testing. If the court finds these criteria are adequately addressed and the court finds that the respondent meets the criteria for conditional release set forth in § 37.2-912, the court shall order that the respondent be returned to the custody of the Department of Corrections to be processed for conditional release as a sexually violent predator pursuant to his conditional release plan. The court shall also order the respondent to be subject to electronic monitoring of his location by means of a GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking device, or other similar device, at all times while he is on conditional release. Access to anti-androgen medications or other medication prescribed to lower blood serum testosterone shall not be used as a primary reason for determining that less restrictive alternatives are appropriate pursuant to this chapter.

F. The Department shall recommend a specific course of treatment and programs for provision of such treatment and shall monitor the respondent's compliance with such treatment as may be ordered by the court under this section, unless the respondent is on parole or probation, in which case the parole or probation officer shall monitor his compliance.

G. In the event of a mistrial, the court shall direct that the prisoner remain in the secure custody of the Department of Corrections or the defendant remain in the secure custody of the Department until another trial is conducted. Any subsequent trial following a mistrial shall be held within 90 days of the previous trial.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.9; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2004, c. 764; 2005, cc. 716, 914; 2006, cc. 863, 914; 2007, c. 876; 2009, c. 740.

§ 37.2-909. Placement of committed respondents.

A. Any respondent committed pursuant to this chapter shall be placed in the custody of the Department for control, care, and treatment until such time as the respondent's mental abnormality or personality disorder has so changed that the respondent will not present an undue risk to public safety. The Department shall provide such control, care, and treatment at a secure facility operated by it or may contract with private or public entities, in or outside of the Commonwealth, or with other states to provide comparable control, care, or treatment. At all times, respondents committed for control, care, and treatment by the Department pursuant to this chapter shall be kept in a secure facility. Respondents committed under this chapter shall be segregated by sight and sound at all times from prisoners in the custody of a correctional facility. The Commissioner may make treatment and management decisions regarding committed respondents in his custody without obtaining prior approval of or review by the committing court.

B. Prior to the siting of a new facility or the designation of an existing facility to be operated by the Department for the control, care, and treatment of committed respondents, the Commissioner shall notify the state elected officials for and the local governing body of the jurisdiction of the proposed location, designation, or expansion of the facility. Upon receiving such notice, the local governing body of the jurisdiction of the proposed site or where the existing facility is located may publish a descriptive notice concerning the proposed site or existing facility in a newspaper of general circulation in the jurisdiction.

The Commissioner also shall establish an advisory committee relating to any facility for which notice is required by this subsection or any facility being operated for the purpose of the control, care, and treatment of committed respondents. The advisory committee shall consist of state and local elected officials and representatives of community organizations serving the jurisdiction in which the facility is proposed to be or is located. Upon request, the members of the appropriate advisory committee shall be notified whenever the Department increases the number of beds in the relevant facility.

C. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, when any respondent is committed under this article, the Department of Corrections and the Office of the Attorney General shall provide to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, a copy of all relevant criminal history information, medical and mental health records, presentence or postsentence reports and victim impact statements, and the mental health evaluations performed pursuant to subsection B of § 37.2-904 and § 37.2-907, for use in the treatment and evaluation of the committed respondent.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.10; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2004, c. 707; 2005, cc. 716, 914; 2009, cc. 740, 813, 840.

§ 37.2-910. Review of continuation of secure inpatient treatment hearing; procedure and reports; disposition.

A. The committing court shall conduct a hearing 12 months after the date of commitment to assess each respondent's need for secure inpatient treatment. A hearing for assessment shall be conducted at yearly intervals for five years and at biennial intervals thereafter. The court shall schedule the matter for hearing as soon as possible after it becomes due, giving the matter priority over all pending matters before the court. A continuance extending the review may be granted to either the Attorney General or the respondent upon good cause shown or by agreement of the parties. Whenever practicable, the hearing for assessment shall be conducted using a two-way electronic video and audio communication system that meets the standards set forth in subsection B of § 19.2-3.1.

B. Prior to the hearing, the Commissioner shall provide to the court a report reevaluating the respondent's condition and recommending treatment. The report shall be prepared by a licensed psychiatrist or a licensed clinical psychologist skilled in the diagnosis and risk assessment of sex offenders and knowledgeable about the treatment of sex offenders. If the Commissioner's report recommends discharge or the respondent requests discharge, the respondent's condition and need for secure inpatient treatment shall be evaluated by a second person with such credentials who is not currently treating the respondent. Any professional person who conducts a second evaluation of a respondent shall submit a report of his findings to the court and the Commissioner. A copy of any report submitted pursuant to this subsection shall be sent to the Attorney General and to any attorney appointed or retained for the respondent.

C. The burden of proof at the hearing shall be upon the Commonwealth to prove to the court by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent remains a sexually violent predator.

D. If the court finds, based upon the report and other evidence provided at the hearing, that the respondent is no longer a sexually violent predator, the court shall release the respondent from secure inpatient treatment. If the court finds that the respondent remains a sexually violent predator, it shall order that he remain in the custody of the Commissioner for secure inpatient hospitalization and treatment or that he be conditionally released. To determine if the respondent shall be conditionally released, the court shall determine if the respondent meets the criteria for conditional release set forth in § 37.2-912. If the court orders that the respondent be conditionally released, the court shall allow the Department no less than 30 days and no more than 60 days to prepare a conditional release plan. Any such plan must be able to accommodate needed and appropriate supervision and treatment plans for the respondent, including but not limited to, therapy or counseling, access to medications, availability of travel, location of residence, and regular psychological monitoring of the respondent if called for, including polygraph examinations, penile plethysmograph testing, or sexual interest testing, if necessary. Access to anti-androgen medications or other medication prescribed to lower blood serum testosterone shall not be used as a primary reason for determining that less restrictive alternatives are appropriate pursuant to this chapter. In preparing the conditional release plan, the Department shall notify the attorney for the Commonwealth, the chief law-enforcement officer, and the governing body for the locality that is the proposed location of the respondent's residence upon his conditional release.

If the court places the respondent on conditional release, the court shall order the respondent to be subject to electronic monitoring of his location by means of a GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking device, or other similar device, at all times while he is on conditional release.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.11; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2005, c. 716; 2006, cc. 698, 730, 863, 914; 2007, c. 876; 2011, cc. 42, 446, 448; 2013, c. 258; 2015, c. 662.

§ 37.2-911. Petition for release; hearing; procedures.

A. The Commissioner may petition the committing court for conditional release of the committed respondent at any time he believes the committed respondent's condition has so changed that he is no longer in need of secure inpatient treatment. The Commissioner may petition the committing court for unconditional release of the committed respondent at any time he believes the committed respondent's condition has so changed that he is no longer a sexually violent predator. The petition shall be accompanied by a report of clinical findings supporting the petition and by a conditional release or discharge plan, as applicable, prepared by the Department. The committed respondent may petition the committing court for release only once in each year in which no annual judicial review is required pursuant to § 37.2-910. The party petitioning for release shall transmit a copy of the petition to the Attorney General, the Commissioner, and the attorney for the Commonwealth for the locality that is the proposed location of the respondent's residence upon his conditional release.

B. Upon the submission of a petition pursuant to this section, the committing court shall conduct the proceedings according to the procedures set forth in § 37.2-910.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.12; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2005, c. 716; 2009, c. 740; 2015, c. 662.

§ 37.2-912. Conditional release; criteria; conditions; reports.

A. At any time the court considers the respondent's need for secure inpatient treatment pursuant to this chapter, it shall place the respondent on conditional release if it finds that (i) he does not need secure inpatient treatment but needs outpatient treatment or monitoring to prevent his condition from deteriorating to a degree that he would need secure inpatient treatment; (ii) appropriate outpatient supervision and treatment are reasonably available; (iii) there is significant reason to believe that the respondent, if conditionally released, would comply with the conditions specified; and (iv) conditional release will not present an undue risk to public safety. In making its determination, the court may consider (i) the nature and circumstances of the sexually violent offense for which the respondent was charged or convicted, including the age and maturity of the victim; (ii) the results of any actuarial test, including the likelihood of recidivism; (iii) the results of any diagnostic tests previously administered to the respondent under this chapter; (iv) the respondent's mental history, including treatments for mental illness or mental disorders, participation in and response to therapy or treatment, and any history of previous hospitalizations; (v) the respondent's present mental condition; (vi) the respondent's response to treatment while in secure inpatient treatment or on conditional release, including his disciplinary record and any infractions; (vii) the respondent's living arrangements and potential employment if he were to be placed on conditional release; (viii) the availability of transportation and appropriate supervision to ensure participation by the respondent in necessary treatment; and (ix) any other factors that the court deems relevant. The court shall subject the respondent to the orders and conditions it deems will best meet his need for treatment and supervision and best serve the interests of justice and society. In all cases of conditional release, the court shall order the respondent to be subject to electronic monitoring of his location by means of a GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking device, or other similar device, at all times while he is on conditional release.

The Department or, if the respondent is on parole or probation, the respondent's parole or probation officer shall implement the court's conditional release orders and shall submit written reports to the court on the respondent's progress and adjustment in the community no less frequently than every six months. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is authorized to contract with the Department of Corrections to provide services for the monitoring and supervision of sexually violent predators who are on conditional release.

The Department or, if the respondent is on parole or probation, the respondent's parole or probation officer shall send a copy of each written report submitted to the court and copies of all correspondence with the court pursuant to this section to the Attorney General and the Commissioner.

B. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, when any respondent is placed on conditional release under this article, the Department of Corrections and the Office of the Attorney General shall provide to the Department, or if the respondent is on parole or probation, the respondent's parole or probation officer, all relevant criminal history information, medical and mental health records, presentence and postsentence reports and victim impact statements, and the mental health evaluations performed pursuant to this chapter, for use in the management and treatment of the respondent placed on conditional release. Any information or document provided pursuant to this subsection shall not be subject to disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.13; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2005, cc. 716, 914; 2006, cc. 698, 730, 863, 914; 2007, c. 876; 2009, cc. 740, 813, 840.

§ 37.2-913. Emergency custody of conditionally released respondents; revocation of conditional release.

A. A judicial officer may issue an emergency custody order, upon the sworn petition of any responsible person or upon his own motion, based upon probable cause to believe that a respondent on conditional release within his judicial district has violated the conditions of his release and is no longer a proper subject for conditional release. The judicial officer shall forward a copy of the petition and the emergency custody order to the circuit court that conditionally released the respondent, the Attorney General, the Department, and the attorney for the Commonwealth for the locality that is the location of the respondent's residence. Petitions and orders for emergency custody of conditionally released respondents pursuant to this section may be filed, issued, served, or executed by electronic means, with or without the use of two-way electronic video and audio communication, and returned in the same manner with the same force, effect, and authority as an original document. All signatures thereon shall be treated as original signatures.

B. The emergency custody order shall require a law-enforcement officer to take the respondent into custody immediately. A law-enforcement officer may lawfully go to or be sent beyond the territorial limits of the county, city, or town in which he serves to any point in the Commonwealth for the purpose of executing an emergency custody order pursuant to this section. The respondent shall be transported to a secure facility specified by the Department where a person designated by the Department who is skilled in the diagnosis and risk assessment of sex offenders and knowledgeable about the treatment of sex offenders shall, as soon as practicable, perform a mental health examination of the respondent, including a personal interview. The mental health evaluator shall consider the criteria in § 37.2-912 and shall opine whether the respondent remains suitable for conditional release. The evaluator shall report his findings and conclusions in writing to the Department, the Office of the Attorney General, counsel for the respondent, and the court in which the petition was filed. The evaluator's report shall become part of the record in the case.

C. The respondent on conditional release shall remain in custody until a hearing is held in the circuit court that conditionally released the respondent on the motion or petition to determine if he should be returned to the custody of the Commissioner. The hearing shall be given priority on the court's docket.

D. The respondent's failure to comply with the conditions of release, including outpatient treatment, may be admitted into evidence. The evaluator designated in subsection B may be permitted to testify at the hearing as to his diagnosis, his opinion as to whether the respondent remains suitable for conditional release, his recommendation as to treatment and supervision, and the basis for his opinions. If upon hearing the evidence, the court finds that the respondent on conditional release has violated the conditions of his release and that the violation of conditions was sufficient to render him no longer suitable for conditional release, the court shall revoke his conditional release and order him returned to the custody of the Commissioner for secure inpatient treatment. The respondent may petition the court for re-release pursuant to the conditions set forth in § 37.2-911 no sooner than six months from his return to custody. The respondent petitioning for re-release shall transmit a copy of the petition to the Attorney General, the Commissioner, and the attorney for the Commonwealth for the locality that is the proposed location of the respondent's residence.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.14; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2005, cc. 51, 716; 2009, c. 740; 2011, c. 42; 2015, c. 662.

§ 37.2-914. Modification or removal of conditions; notice; objections; review.

A. The court that placed the person on conditional release may modify conditions of release or remove conditions placed on release pursuant to § 37.2-912, upon petition of the Department, the supervising parole or probation officer, the Attorney General, or the person on conditional release or upon its own motion based on reports of the Department or the supervising parole or probation officer. However, the person on conditional release may petition only annually commencing six months after the conditional release order is issued. Upon petition, the court shall require the Department or, if the person is on parole or probation, the person's parole or probation officer to provide a report on the person's progress while on conditional release. The party petitioning for release shall transmit a copy of the petition to the Attorney General, the Commissioner, and the attorney for the Commonwealth for the locality that is the location of the respondent's residence.

B. As it deems appropriate based on the Department's or parole or probation officer's report and any other evidence provided to it, the court may issue a proposed order for modification or removal of conditions. The court shall provide notice of the order and their right to object to it within 21 days of its issuance to the person, the Department or parole or probation officer, the Attorney General, and the attorney for the Commonwealth for the locality that is the location of the respondent's residence. The proposed order shall become final if no objection is filed within 21 days of its issuance. If an objection is so filed, the court shall conduct a hearing at which the person on conditional release, the Attorney General, the Department or the parole or probation officer, and the attorney for the Commonwealth for the locality that is the location of the respondent's residence shall have an opportunity to present evidence challenging the proposed order. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court shall issue an order specifying conditions of release or removing existing conditions of release.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.15; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2005, c. 716; 2009, c. 740; 2015, c. 662.

§ 37.2-915. Representation of Commonwealth and person subject to commitment; nature of proceedings.

The Attorney General shall represent the Commonwealth in all proceedings held pursuant to this chapter. The Attorney General shall receive prior written notice of all proceedings held under this chapter in which he is to represent the Commonwealth.

The court shall appoint counsel for the person subject to commitment or conditional release pursuant to subsection C of § 37.2-906 unless the person waives his right to counsel. The court shall consider appointment of the person who represented the person in previous proceedings.

All proceedings held under this chapter shall be civil proceedings.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.16; 2001, c. 776; 2003, cc. 989, 1018; 2005, c. 716; 2012, cc. 121, 246.

§ 37.2-916. Authority of Commissioner; delegation to board; liability.

For the purposes of carrying out the duties of this chapter, the Commissioner may appoint an advisory board composed of persons with demonstrated expertise in such matters. The Department shall assist the board in its administrative and technical duties. The membership of the board shall include (i) a citizen appointed by the Commissioner, (ii) a psychiatrist or psychologist licensed to practice in the Commonwealth who is skilled in the diagnosis of mental abnormalities and personality disorders associated with violent sex offenders and who is a full-time employee of the Department of Corrections, to be appointed by its director, (iii) a member of the Department of State Police, and (iv) such other members as deemed appropriate by the Commissioner. Members of the board shall exercise their powers and duties without compensation, except that members of the board who are not state employees shall be reimbursed by the Department for their approved travel expenses to the meetings of this board at the approved state rate. Members of the board shall be immune from personal liability while acting within the scope of their duties except for intentional misconduct.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.17; 2001, c. 776; 2005, c. 716.

§ 37.2-917. Escape of persons committed; penalty.

Any person committed to the custody of the Commissioner pursuant to this chapter who escapes from custody shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.18; 2001, c. 776; 2005, c. 716.

§ 37.2-918. Persons on conditional release leaving Commonwealth; penalty.

Any person placed on conditional release pursuant to this chapter who leaves the Commonwealth without permission from the court that conditionally released the person or fails to return to the Commonwealth in violation of a court order shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

1999, cc. 946, 985, § 37.1-70.19; 2001, c. 776; 2005, c. 716; 2009, c. 740.

§ 37.2-919. Postrelease supervision of Department; commission of new criminal offense by person committed to Department.

A. If a person committed to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, whether in involuntary secure inpatient treatment or on conditional release, who is also on probation, parole, or postrelease supervision, fails to comply with any conditions established by the Department, or fails to comply with the terms of a treatment plan, the Department shall so notify the Department of Corrections or the person's probation and parole officer.

B. If a person committed to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is arrested for a felony or Class 1 or 2 misdemeanor offense, he shall be transported to a judicial officer forthwith for a bond determination in accordance with the provisions of § 19.2-80. If the judicial officer admits the accused to bail, he shall, upon his admission to bail, be immediately transported back into the custody of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. If, after trial for this offense, no active period of incarceration is imposed, or if the person is acquitted or the charges are withdrawn or dismissed, he shall be returned to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services pursuant to his commitment. If a period of active incarceration of 12 months or longer is imposed or any suspended sentence is revoked resulting in the person being returned to the Department of Corrections for a period of active incarceration of 12 months or longer, the person shall not be entitled to an annual or biennial review hearing pursuant to § 37.2-910 until 12 months after he has been returned to the custody of the Commissioner. Such reincarceration shall toll the provisions of § 37.2-910.

2005, cc. 716, 914; 2006, cc. 863, 914; 2009, cc. 813, 840.

§ 37.2-920. Appeal by Attorney General; emergency custody order.

In any case in which the Attorney General successfully appeals the trial court's denial of probable cause, denial of civil commitment or conditional release, or discharge or placement on conditional release after an annual review hearing, upon the issuance of the mandate by the Supreme Court of Virginia, the trial court shall immediately issue an emergency custody order to any local law-enforcement official to have the person taken into custody and held in the local correctional facility, pending further appropriate proceedings.

2006, cc. 863, 914.

§ 37.2-921. Department to give notice of Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry requirements to certain persons.

A. Prior to the release or discharge of any committed respondent for whom registration with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry is required pursuant to Chapter 9 (§ 9.1-900 et seq.) of Title 9.1, the Department shall give notice to the committed respondent of his duty to register with the State Police. A person required to register shall register, submit to be photographed as part of the registration, and provide information regarding place of employment, if available, to the Department. The Department shall also obtain from that person all necessary registration information, including fingerprints and photographs of a type and kind approved by the Department of State Police, inform the person of his duties regarding reregistration and change of address, and inform the person of his duty to register. The Department shall forward the registration information to the Department of State Police on the date of the committed respondent's release or discharge.

B. Whenever a person required to register has failed to comply with the provisions of subsection A, the Department shall promptly investigate or request the State Police promptly investigate and, if there is probable cause to believe a violation has occurred, obtain a warrant or assist in obtaining an indictment charging a violation of § 18.2-472.1 in the jurisdiction in which the person was released or discharged. The Department shall notify the State Police forthwith of such actions taken pursuant to this section.

C. The Department shall notify the State Police immediately upon discovering the escape of any committed respondent for whom registration with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry is required pursuant to Chapter 9 (§ 9.1-900 et seq.) of Title 9.1.

2010, c. 858.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

The Virginia General Assembly is offering access to the Code of Virginia on the Internet as a service to the public. We are unable to assist users of this service with legal questions nor respond to requests for legal advice or the application of the law to specific facts. Therefore, to understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.

The Code of Virginia online database excludes material copyrighted by the publisher, Michie, a division of Matthew Bender. Copyrighted material includes annotations and revisors' notes, which may be found in the print version of the Code of Virginia. Annotated print copies of the Code of Virginia are available in most Virginia public library systems, from LexisNexis (1-800-446-3410), and from West, a Thomson-Reuters business (1-800-344-5008).