An Illustration of the Theoretical Relationship between Civil Commitment Standards and Procedures

The Standard of Proof Problem
  • David B. Wexler
Part of the Perspectives in Law & Psychology book series (PILP, volume 4)


With the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Addington v. Texas,1 the procedural issue of the required standard of proof in civil commitment cases finally came to the fore. Addington was involuntarily committed by a Texas court for an indefinite period of time. His commitment was upheld by the Texas Supreme Court, which held constitutionally sufficient a “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof. When his case reached the United States Supreme Court, Addington argued that his committability must be supported by evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The Supreme Court settled on an intermediate standard and accordingly required “clear and convincing” proof of committability.


Mental Health Professional Violent Behavior Reasonable Doubt Civil Commitment United States Supreme 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • David B. Wexler
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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