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John W. Sweeney v. Bartow, 7th Cir. No. 01-1447, 7/8/10

7th Circuit decision

Abstention – SVP Proceeding

The Younger v. Harris abstention doctrine applies to pending ch. 980 proceedings.

What is true is that a person who is in state custody awaiting a determination by the state courts of the legality of his custody may seek federal habeas corpus to challenge that custody without being barred by the Younger doctrine if immediate federal intervention is necessary to prevent the challenge from becoming moot. That would be the case if the petitioner were complaining that the state proceeding had violated his right to a speedy trial or had placed him in double jeopardy. Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court, 410 U.S. 484, 489-92 (1973); Walck v. Edmondson, 472 F.3d 1227, 1232-34 (10th Cir. 2007); Stringer v. Williams, 161 F.3d 259, 262 (5th Cir. 1998). For then the eventual decision by the state court would come too late to secure his rights. That is not true of the petitioner’s right not to be subjected to an ex post facto law.

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