MN civil commitment

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: MN civil commitment.

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of: Brent Charles Nielsen. MN civil commitment

In this appeal from Ramsey County, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held that a county attorney has authority under Minn. Stat. 253D.09 to file a petition for the civil commitment of a proposed patient as a sexually dangerous person and as a sexual psychopathic personality even though the proposed patient is serving a life sentence with an indeterminate release date, as long as the county attorney determines that there is good cause to do so the statute.

The appellant had been convicted of murder while committing criminal sexual conduct in 1989, and was up for parole, at which time the Department of Corrections referred the case to the Ramsey County Attorney, which filed the petition a few weeks before the parole hearing. Parole was subsequently denied until at least 2017, and the appellant argued that the court lacked jurisdiction over the case, because he was not subject to release.

No. A14-1546 (Minn. Ct. App. Jan. 20, 2015).

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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