United States v. Caporale, No. 12-6832

Decided: December 6, 2012

The government appealed the judgment of the district court directing that Patrick Caporale be granted supervised release from the custody of the Bureau of Prisons. The appellate court affirmed the district court’s judgment.

Caporale finished serving his prison sentence for child molestation in 2008, but remained incarcerated while the government sought to have him declared a “sexually dangerous person” under the Walsh Act. Under the Walsh Act, a person is sexually dangerous to others where he or she “suffers from a serious mental illness, abnormality, or disorder [such that he or she] would have serious difficulty in refraining from sexually violent conduct or child molestation if released.”

After an evidentiary hearing on the matter, the district court ruled that the government failed to prove that Caporale suffers from a serious mental illness, abnormality, or disorder. The district court also found that the government failed to prove that Caporale would experience serious difficulty in refraining from sexually violent conduct or child molestation if released. As such, even if the district court had found that Caporale suffers from a qualifying mental impairment, he would not be “sexually dangerous” to others such that his incarceration is required under the Walsh Act.

The appellate court disagreed with the district court’s first determination, finding that Caporale does suffer from a qualifying mental impairment, but agreed that the government fell short of carrying its burden to demonstrate a relative likelihood that Caporale will reoffend. Thus, the court affirmed the district court’s holding directing Caporale’s supervised release on the basis that the government failed to prove that Caporale is a “sexually dangerous” person under the Walsh Act.

Full Opinion

– Kassandra Moore

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