United States v. Searcy, No. 16-6833 (4th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
A civil commitment hearing under the Adam Walsh Act, 18 U.S.C. 4248, was not a "civil action" as that term is used in 18 U.S.C. 1658(a). The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's civil commitment order under the Act and rejected petitioner's claim that the four-year catch-all statute of limitations Congress enacted for civil actions under section 1658(a) applied to his case. The court reasoned that the statutory requirement that a civil commitment proceeding be initiated against a person while he is in federal custody amounts to a de facto statute of limitations that provides the same finality and certainty as a conventional limitation without implicating the concerns that arise from statutes totally silent as to timing. Therefore, the timing of a civil commitment proceeding was otherwise provided by law.