This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of:
Donald Duane Hill.
Filed May 23, 2006
Affirmed; motion granted
Aitkin County District Court
File No. P7-05-00121
Erik Albert Christensen,
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, Noah A. Cashman, Assistant
Attorney General, 900 Bremer Tower,
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Lansing, Judge; and Shumaker, Judge.
In this appeal from an indeterminate civil commitment as a sexually dangerous person, appellant argues that the commitment should be reversed because (1) the district court’s findings are based on appellant’s stipulation without any expert testimony, (2) the district court erred by failing to allow appellant to withdraw his stipulation and by finding that appellant has engaged in a course of harmful sexual conduct, and (3) the court-appointed examiners did not diagnose appellant with the requisite personality or mental disorder. Because the district court’s findings are supported by the evidence and because the district court did not abuse its discretion by failing to allow appellant to withdraw his stipulation, we affirm. Respondent’s motion to strike the portions of appellant’s brief referring to matters outside of the record on appeal is granted.
In February 2005, Aitkin County Social Services petitioned to commit appellant Donald Hill as a sexually dangerous person (SDP) and a sexual psychopathic personality (SPP), as defined by Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subds. 18b, 18c (2004). The district court appointed James Alsdurf, M.D., and Paul Reitman, M.D., to examine appellant and to submit written reports addressing appellant’s condition and need for hospitalization and/or treatment. Each physician submitted a report to the district court indicating both that appellant suffers from disorders that make him unable to control his sexual impulses and that he is highly likely to engage in future harmful sexual acts.
When the matter came before the district court in May 2005, appellant entered into a stipulation for initial commitment to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) as an SDP. In the stipulation, appellant reserved his right to a review hearing under Minn. Stat. § 253B.18, subd. 2 (2004), agreeing that “the only issue [at the review hearing] will be whether anything has changed since the time of my initial commitment that would make the initial commitment inappropriate.” Pursuant to the stipulation, the district court entered an interim order committing appellant to the MSOP as an SDP.
MSOP evaluated appellant and submitted a treatment report, and the review hearing took place in September 2005. After refusing to personally attend the hearing, appellant provided testimony by means of interactive television. At the hearing, appellant moved to withdraw his stipulation based on his claim that he had recently moved to withdraw an Alford plea that he made in a criminal case two years earlier. The state objected, and the court denied the motion, ruling that only changes in appellant’s mental condition would be addressed and that the initial commitment would not be relitigated. Concluding that appellant continued to meet the statutory requirements for commitment, the court ordered appellant indeterminately committed as an SDP. This appeal follows.
review the district court’s factual findings for clear error, deferring to the
district court’s credibility determinations and its resolution of conflicting
As an initial matter, we address respondent’s motion to
strike portions of appellant’s brief because of its reference to matters
outside of the record on appeal. “The
papers filed in the trial court, the exhibits, and the transcript of the
proceedings, if any, shall constitute the record on appeal in all cases.”
Appellant argues that the district court’s determination
that he is an SDP is clearly erroneous because the supporting findings are based
on appellant’s stipulation without any testimony by court-appointed examiners. Pointing in particular to the fact that the court did not hear
testimony from the court-appointed examiners, appellant cites caselaw that
notes that “[t]he court’s
evaluation of expert testimony is of particular significance.” In re Pirkl, 531 N.W.2d 902, 908 (
Respondent argues that the record contains clear and convincing evidence supporting appellant’s commitment as an SDP and that appellant’s argument is specious in light of the more than one-thousand pages that make up the stipulated exhibits and appellant’s own admission that he meets the criteria for commitment as an SDP.
While expert evaluation and testimony is clearly important in the commitment process, appellant fails to cite any authority for the proposition that expert testimony is a prerequisite to commitment, particularly under these circumstances. Appellant’s argument is especially curious given the facts that he admitted to the petition for commitment as an SDP and his explicit waiver of his right to have any witnesses testify at his commitment hearing. We note that the district court’s order for initial commitment contains more than 170 findings of fact that are based on the petition, the court-appointed examiners’ reports, the exhibits, and appellant’s stipulation. And the order for indeterminate commitment is also based on appellant’s treatment report completed by the MSOP.
light of appellant’s failure to cite any authority in support of his argument
that expert testimony is a prerequisite to commitment under these circumstances
and appellant’s explicit waiver of his right to have witnesses testify, we
cannot conclude that the district court erred by civilly committing appellant
without first hearing expert testimony. See
Appellant argues that the district court erred by failing to allow appellant to withdraw his stipulation at the review hearing and that the evidence does not support the district court’s finding that he has engaged in a course of harmful sexual conduct.
1. The stipulation
A stipulation “cannot ordinarily be repudiated or
withdrawn from by one party without the consent of the other, except by leave
of the court for cause shown.” Gran
v. City of
To determine whether the stipulation was entered into voluntarily and intelligently, we look both to the language of the stipulation itself and to appellant’s testimony concerning the stipulation. The pertinent stipulation language shows that appellant voluntarily and intelligently entered into the stipulation:
4. I understand the nature of the Petition in this matter.
5. Specifically, I understand that the Petition seeks my indeterminate commitment as a “sexually dangerous person” as defined in Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subd. 18c (2004) and a “sexual psychopathic personality” as defined in Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subd. 18b (2004).
6. I am represented by an attorney . . . .
a. I believe that I have had sufficient time to discuss my case with my attorney.
b. I am satisfied that my attorney is fully informed as to the facts of this case.
c. My attorney has discussed possible defenses to the Petition that I might have. I understand these possible defenses and how they could affect the outcome of this proceeding.
d. I am satisfied that my attorney has represented all of my interests and has fully advised me.
7. I do not have a mental disorder which interferes with my ability to make a fully informed decision with regard to entering into a stipulation in this case. As a result, I fully understand the nature of these proceedings and the contents of the Petition.
Appellant’s testimony also shows that he understood and voluntarily consented to the stipulation. Appellant’s attorney questioned appellant about each provision of the stipulation, and appellant acknowledged his understanding and agreement with each provision. Counsel for appellant also asked, “Donald, would you state for the record that you entered the agreement freely and voluntarily, under your own will?” to which appellant responded, “Yes, I have.”
Thus, the language of the stipulation, together with appellant’s testimony about its contents, make it quite clear that appellant both knew and understood the legal consequences of the stipulation. There is no indication that the stipulation was based on fraud or duress, nor does equity or good conscience dictate that the stipulation not stand. There is no indication that the district court abused its discretion in failing to allow appellant to withdraw his stipulation.
2. The district court’s finding that appellant has engaged in a course of harmful sexual conduct
The district court must be presented with clear and convincing evidence that the standards for commitment as an SDP are met. Minn. Stat. § 253B.18, subd. 1(a) (2004); see Minn. Stat. § 253B.185, subd. 1 (2004) (providing that Minn. Stat. § 253B.18 applies to SDP commitments). “A ‘sexually dangerous person’ means a person who (1) has engaged in a course of harmful sexual conduct as defined in subdivision 7a; (2) has manifested a sexual, personality, or other mental disorder or dysfunction; and (3) as a result, is likely to engage in acts of harmful sexual conduct as defined in subdivision 7a.” Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subd. 18c(a) (2004).
7a defines harmful sexual conduct as “sexual conduct that creates a substantial
likelihood of serious physical or emotional harm to another” and imposes a
rebuttable presumption that acts constituting criminal sexual conduct in the
first through fourth degrees create a substantial likelihood that the victim
will suffer serious physical or emotional harm.
Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subd. 7a(a), (b) (2004). There is no requirement that a victim suffer
actual emotional or physical harm. Martin,
661 N.W.2d at 639. Nor is there a
requirement that the offender be convicted for the conduct. In re Ramey, 648 N.W.2d 260, 268
(Minn. App. 2002), review denied (
The district court concluded that appellant has engaged in a course of harmful sexual conduct based on findings that appellant had (1) acted as a lookout while juvenile P.L.H. was sexually assaulted, for which he was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct; (2) acted as a lookout while juvenile L.K.D. was sexually molested, for which he was charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct ; (3) sexually assaulted 14-year-old K.B., for which he pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct; (4) assaulted 16-year-old L.D.F. with a weapon for sexual purposes; (5) kidnapped and repeatedly sexually assaulted L.D.F., for which he was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct; and (6) sexually assaulted B.T.
district court noted that both court-appointed examiners “agree that
[appellant] has engaged in a course of harmful sexual conduct.” In particular, Dr. Reitman reported that
appellant’s actions “would likely cause the victims serious harm, predominately
psychological and physical harm” and that his “victims are likely to suffer
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Traumatization
Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Alcoholism, Personality Disorder, and
would have a much higher rate of suicidal ideation.” The district court also noted evidence that
K.B. “had tried to hurt herself by cutting her wrists and taking pills because
of the sexual assault” and that she had been admitted to the hospital for
suicide attempts. Finally, the court
noted that appellant’s acts carry a presumption of harm under
While appellant admits that his sexual conduct with K.B. falls within the statutory definition of harmful sexual conduct, he maintains that his sexual behavior with the remainder of his victims does not. But the evidence shows, and appellant admitted in his stipulation, that his “convictions for criminal sexual conduct and the other acts of sexual misconduct set forth in the exhibits submitted by Petitioner evidence a course of harmful sexual conduct causing serious physical and emotional harm to others.” We conclude that the evidence supports the district court’s conclusion that appellant has engaged in a course of harmful sexual conduct.
Appellant contends that the record does not support the district court’s conclusion that he suffers from a mental or personality disorder that renders him unable to control his sexual impulses and makes it highly likely that he will engage in future harmful sexual acts. Appellant specifically contends that the court-appointed examiners did not diagnose appellant with such a disorder. Indeed, the supreme court has noted
that the SDP Act allows civil commitment of sexually dangerous persons who have engaged in a prior course of sexually harmful behavior and whose present disorder or dysfunction does not allow them to adequately control their sexual impulses, making it highly likely that they will engage in harmful sexual acts in the future.
Linehan, 594 N.W.2d 867, 876 (
Appellant’s contention lacks merit. Dr. Alsdurf diagnosed appellant with sexual paraphilia, polysubstance abuse/dependence in forced remission, depression, and antisocial personality disorder. Dr. Alsdurf specifically concluded that appellant’s disorders and dysfunctions do “not allow him to adequately control his sexual impulses and behavior” and that appellant is “highly likely to engage in acts of harmful sexual conduct.” Dr. Reitman diagnosed appellant with sexual sadism, paraphilia, poly drug and alcohol dependence in remission in a controlled setting, major depressive disorder, anti-social personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. Dr. Reitman also concluded that appellant’s disorders “do not allow him to adequately control his sexual impulses and/or behaviors” and that appellant is “highly likely to engage in future acts of harmful sexual conduct.”
We conclude that the record supports the district court’s determination that appellant suffers from a mental or personality disorder that makes him unable to control his sexual impulses and makes it highly likely that he will engage in future harmful sexual acts.
Affirmed; motion granted.