Argued: May 11, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of North Carolina, at Raleigh. Malcolm J. Howard,
Senior District Judge. (5:09-hc-02164-H)
Joseph Brignac, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER,
Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant.
Michael Lockridge, BUREAU OF PRISONS, Butner, North Carolina,
P. McNamara, Federal Public Defender, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL
PUBLIC DEFENDER, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant.
Stuart Bruce, Acting United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Raleigh, North Carolina, for
GREGORY, Chief Judge, and DUNCAN and DIAZ, Circuit Judges.
Maclaren, who is civilly committed pursuant to the Adam Walsh
Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, 18 U.S.C. §
4248, appeals the district court's order denying his
motion for a discharge hearing. Because we conclude that the
district court applied an incorrect standard for determining
whether someone confined pursuant to the Adam Walsh Act is
entitled to a discharge hearing, we vacate the court's
judgment and remand so that it can apply the correct standard
in the first instance.
December 2009, the government certified Maclaren as a
sexually dangerous person pursuant to the Adam Walsh Act. In
February 2013, a court in the Eastern District of North
Carolina held that the government had met its burden of
proving by clear and convincing evidence that Maclaren was
subject to civil commitment pursuant to the Act and committed
him to the custody and care of the Attorney General.
order, the district court recounted Maclaren's personal
history and alleged sexual offense history before turning to the three elements that
the government must establish before obtaining a commitment
order. Those elements are "that the person (1) has
engaged or attempted to engage in sexually violent conduct or
child molestation, (2) suffers from a serious mental illness,
abnormality, or disorder, and (3) as a result, would have
serious difficulty refraining from ...