Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, August 23, 2019

Fifth District upholds finding that man is sexually violent person

By Charmaine Little | May 4, 2018

MOUNT VERNON — The Fifth District Appellate Court has upheld a finding by a circuit court that a man convicted of rape and other crimes is a sexually violent person.

The appellate court ruled April 27 that the state provided sufficient evidence that Hal Holt is a sexually violent person (SVP) and that he should be monitored in institutional care. The court wrote in the order that a Frye hearing to determine the admissibility of scientific evidence was not required concerning Holt’s mental state.

The Fifth District also stated the Madison County trial court “did not abuse its discretion” when it blocked Holt’s legal team from bringing in evidence from the court’s initial rejection of the Frye hearing. The appellate court also pointed out Holt, who argued his counsel was unproductive, did not provide sufficient evidence to support the claim.

Holt had challenged Associate Judge Clarence Harrison's ruling that he is an SVP and needed to be placed in an institution under the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) in line with the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (SVP Act).

In September 1983, he was convicted of rape, deviate sexual assault, armed robbery and aggravated kidnapping, according to background information in the ruling. A federal court convicted him of armed robbery offenses as well. He was sentenced to 30 years for the aggravated charges and 25 years for the robberies served concurrently. He was released under mandatory supervised release (MSR) on Nov. 13, 2012.

After Dr. Martha Bellew-Smith assessed Holt in October 2012 to decide whether he was an SVP, the state determined Holt was an SVP and said he should be committed to a DHS center under the notion that he had the power to harm others in the future, background information in the ruling said. Once he was placed in a DHS facility, he requested a Frye hearing with claims that his mental condition was not “sufficiently established” enough to be ordered to a DHS facility. DHS sex offender evaluator Dr. Richard Travis also assessed Holt and his potential SVP status.

Holt responded and requested the court toss out the state’s SVP petition, arguing he was not an SVP and requested the Frye hearing that was ultimately denied.  

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Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court