Document Type


Publication Date



The recent creation of the sexual predator as a legal concept raises critical questions about our criminal justice system. This Article explores the development of the "sexual predator" category and discusses how this new category of criminal fits within the existing judicial system. This Article begins by examining the origins of Rules 413-415. Second, this Article explores the recent federal court cases that provide the first interpretations and applications of Rules 413-415. Third, this Article discusses the origins of state sexual predator confinement statutes.Fourth, this Article discusses the Supreme Court's 1997 decision, Kansas v. Hendricks, upholding the constitutionality of the Kansas Sexually Violent Predators Act. Fifth, this Article demonstrates that there is no reliable empirical evidence to support the core factual, legal, and psychological assumptions that underlie the very concept of a sexual predator, by reviewing the most recent and relevant data on predictions of sexual violence, recidivism, and criminal specialization. Finally, this Article argues that, taken together, Rules 413-415 and Kansas v. Hendricks, reflect a legislative and judicial reaction to the current demonization of one type of violence. This response disregards the accuracy and effectiveness of these new legal schemes" and threatens to undermine the consistent and fair application of our criminal laws.