Argued: May 8, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of North Carolina, at Raleigh. James C. Dever III,
District Judge. (5:17-hc-02162-D)
Benjamin M. Shultz, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D.C., for Appellant.
Lee DiLauro, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Raleigh,
North Carolina, for Appellee.
H. Hunt, Assistant Attorney General, Mark B. Stern, Civil
Division, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington,
D.C.; Robert J. Higdon, Jr., United States Attorney, OFFICE
OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Raleigh, North Carolina, for
Alan DuBois, Federal Public Defender, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL
PUBLIC DEFENDER, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.
NIEMEYER, DIAZ, and RICHARDSON, Circuit Judges.
NIEMEYER, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
its filing of a certificate in the district court that Oliver
White is a "sexually dangerous person," the
government commenced this civil proceeding under 18 U.S.C.
§ 4248 to commit White to the custody of the Attorney
General. After ordering and receiving a mental examination of
White, the district court found that White was "mentally
incompetent to understand the nature and consequences of the
section 4248 proceeding against him and to assist properly in
his defense in the section 4248 proceeding" and
therefore dismissed the proceeding. A proceeding under §
4248 would have required the government to prove that White
(1) "engaged or attempted to engage in sexually violent
conduct or child molestation," (2) "suffers from a
serious mental illness, abnormality, or disorder," and
(3) "would have serious difficulty in refraining from
sexually violent conduct or child molestation if
released." Id. § 4247(a)(5), (6). The
district court held that § 4248 "permits a court to
dismiss a section 4248 proceeding against an incompetent
person who contests all three elements" and
alternatively that "permitting such a [§ 4248
proceeding] and ensuing commitment would violate procedural
due process as applied to that person."
appeal, the government contends that the district court erred
in both rulings, and we agree. We therefore reverse the
district court's judgment and remand with instructions to
conduct a hearing on the § 4248 proceeding initiated
now 31, is an intellectually disabled Native American man who
was born in Crow Agency, Montana. His biological mother could
not care for him because she abused alcohol and drugs, and he
suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome. With an IQ of 55 or 56
and elementary math and reading skills, he struggled in
school and in gaining employment. As one doctor summarized,
White's "thought process was clearly impoverished,
his mood was confused, [and] his affect was shallow."
2009, when White was 21, a federal grand jury in the District
of Montana indicted him for the sexual abuse of four female
minors under the age of 12. The government, however,
dismissed the charges as part of a deferred prosecution
agreement in which ...