Schmidt v. McCullough, No. 14-3651 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 1990 Schmidt, then age 27, was convicted in a Wisconsin state court of raping a woman multiple times, burglarizing her apartment, falsely imprisoning her, and intimidating her as a witness. He was sentenced to prison and paroled in 2003. His parole was revoked five years later as a result of violation of its terms: he viewed sexually explicit materials on the Internet and was expelled from a treatment program for sexually violent persons. He returned to prison. As his sentence was drawing to an end, the state had him tried civilly on the ground that he was a sexually violent person as a consequence of mental disorder. Pursuant to Wis. Stat. 980.06, he was committed for an indefinite period to a secure treatment center. In 2014, having appealed the civil commitment unsuccessfully in the state courts, Schmidt sought federal habeas corpus, claiming that the state violated his due process rights by presenting the jury with evidence of his past sexual misconduct, the prejudicial effect of which outweighed its probative value. The district court dismissed for failure to exhaust state remedies. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, stating that Schmidt’s constitutional rights were not infringed by the presentation at his civil commitment trial of the detailed first-person accounts of his crimes.