may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Arthur Dale Senty-Haugen.
Filed June 17, 1997
Ramsey County District Court
File No. PO940473
Steven R. Kufus, Suite 510 Spruce Tree Centre, 1600 University Avenue West, St. Paul, MN 55104 (for Appellant Arthur Dale Senty-Haugen)
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Kristi Swanson Wendorff, Assistant County Attorney, Suite 560 Government Center West, 50 West Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for Respondent Ramsey County)
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, Terri D. Yellowhammer, Assistant Attorney General, 900 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for Minnesota Department of Human Services)
Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Crippen, Judge.
The district court concluded that Arthur Dale Senty-Haugen is a sexual psychopathic personality and a sexually dangerous person and ordered him committed to the Minnesota Security Hospital at Moose Lake for an indeterminate period of time. On appeal, Senty-Haugen argues that the district court erred in failing to make sufficient findings regarding the availability of less restrictive alternative programs and in determining that the county was not obligated to provide funding for treatment at Alpha Human Services. We affirm.
In 1993, appellant Arthur Dale Senty-Haugen pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct and one count of witness tampering and was sentenced to an executed term of imprisonment. Before Senty-Haugen was released from prison, a petition was filed to commit him as a sexually dangerous person and as a psychopathic personality. At a pretrial conference, Senty-Haugen entered into an admission to the petition, under which he admitted the allegations in the petition, waived his right to an initial hearing, and agreed to enter St. Peter Security Hospital for a mandatory 60- to 90-day evaluation. The admission authorized Senty-Haugen to
pursue inpatient treatment and funding for sexual offenders at Alpha House or other Twin City inpatient program during his evaluation period at St. Peter Security Hospital.
The admission provided that if Senty-Haugen was accepted into an inpatient sex offender program and the treatment team at the Minnesota Security Hospital and other treatment professionals involved in Senty-Haugen's case approved the option, the district court would consider a dual commitment to the inpatient program and the Minnesota Security Hospital.
The treatment team at the Minnesota Security Hospital and other treatment professionals concluded Senty-Haugen was a candidate for treatment at Alpha. Also, while Senty-Haugen was in the St. Peter hospital, Douglas Williams, a licensed psychologist and the intake director for Alpha Human Services, evaluated Senty-Haugen to determine his eligibility for Alpha's residential sex offender treatment program. Williams concluded that Senty-Haugen was an acceptable candidate for the program. But at the final commitment hearing, Williams testified that Alpha would not accept Senty-Haugen unless funding was provided for his treatment.
Senty-Haugen filed a motion to join the Ramsey County Departments of Corrections and Human Services as parties to the commitment proceeding for the purpose of establishing who was responsible for paying for treatment at Alpha. The district court concluded that the county was not legally obligated to pay for treatment for Senty-Haugen at Alpha and denied the motion. The court noted that although the Ramsey County Department of Corrections did pay for treatment of probation clients at Alpha, the relationship between the Department and Alpha involved criminal defendants on probation, as distinguished from persons civilly committed.
At the final hearing on Senty-Haugen's commitment, Pat Kiland, a Ramsey County probation officer, testified that Ramsey County and Alpha had a contractual relationship under which Ramsey County paid for treatment of probation clients accepted at Alpha. She testified that Senty-Haugen was a probation client and would remain a probation client under Ramsey County's jurisdiction if he was committed. Kiland, however, did not know whether funding was available to pay for Senty-Haugen's treatment at Alpha.
D E C I S I O N
1. The district court's findings of fact must be affirmed unless clearly erroneous. Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.01; In re Monson, 478 N.W.2d 785, 788 (Minn. App. 1991). On appeal, the court will not weigh the evidence but will determine if the evidence as a whole presents substantial support for the district court's conclusions. In re Linehan, 557 N.W.2d 171, 189 (Minn. 1996), pet. for cert. filed (U.S. May 2, 1997) (No. 96-8876). Whether the record supports by clear and convincing evidence the district court's conclusions that a person meets the elements of the commitment statute is a question of law subject to de novo review. In re Linehan, 518 N.W.2d 609, 613 (Minn. 1994).
When a petition for commitment is filed, the court shall commit the person to the Minnesota Security Hospital or a treatment facility if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person is sexually dangerous or a sexual psychopath. Minn. Stat. § 253B.18, subd. 1 (1996); see Minn. Stat. § 253B.185, subd. 1 (1996) (Minn. Stat. § 253B.18, the procedure for committing mentally ill and dangerous persons, applies to commitment of sexual psychopaths and sexually dangerous persons unless otherwise provided). Following a review hearing, if the court finds that the person continues to be sexually dangerous or a sexual psychopath, the court shall order commitment for an indeterminate period. Minn. Stat. § 253B.18, subd. 1 (1996). "The court must find that there is no appropriate less restrictive alternative available." In re Pirkl, 531 N.W.2d 902, 910 (Minn. App. 1995) (citing Minn. R. Civ. Commitment 12.06). The proponent of commitment has the burden of proving that "there is no appropriate less restrictive alternative available." Minn. R. Civ. Commitment 12.06(b).
Senty-Haugen does not challenge the district court's determination that his commitment needed to be continued because he continued to be a sexual psychopath and a sexually dangerous person. He argues that the court erred by failing to make findings on less restrictive alternatives. The record supports the district court's finding that Senty-Haugen needed to be committed for treatment in a supervised program and that the program at the Minnesota Security Hospital was appropriate for treating him. Neither party presented evidence that any alternative to the Minnesota Security Hospital other than Alpha was appropriate for treating Senty-Haugen, and Alpha was unavailable due to lack of funding. Under these circumstances, when commitment to a supervised treatment program was necessary because Senty-Haugen continued to be a sexual psychopath and a sexually dangerous person, the district court was not required to make specific findings on the availability of less restrictive alternatives. See Linehan, 557 N.W.2d at 190 ("factual specificity requirements for other civil commitment findings were not adopted in the [Sexually Dangerous Persons] Act"); Minn. Stat. § 253B.09, subds. 1-2 (1996) (when committing mentally ill, mentally retarded, or chemically dependent person, court must commit to least restrictive appropriate treatment program and must make findings on less restrictive alternatives considered and rejected; statute specifically lists alternatives to be considered). The record supports by clear and convincing evidence the district court's decision to commit Senty-Haugen to the Minnesota Security Hospital. Cf. In re Harhut, 367 N.W.2d 628, 631 (Minn. App. 1985) (when waivered services program sought by appellants was not available for six months, district court properly committed appellants to state hospital), review denied (Minn. June 27, 1985).
2. Senty-Haugen argues that the county was obligated to pay for his treatment at Alpha pursuant to a contractual relationship under which Ramsey County paid for treatment of probation clients at Alpha. But Senty-Haugen did not present evidence about the specific terms of the contract. The record does not indicate that the contract provided for payment for treatment of someone in Senty-Haugen's situation. Absent such evidence, we cannot conclude that the district court erred in denying Senty-Haugen's motion to join the Ramsey County Departments of Corrections and Human Services as parties to the commitment proceeding. See In re Bower, 456 N.W.2d 734, 737 (Minn. App. 1990) (Commissioner of Human Services's responsibility to pay for treatment was not a proper issue to be determined in a commitment proceeding); In re Wicks, 364 N.W.2d 844, 847 (Minn. App. 1985) (although county was involved in commitment proceeding, county did not have duty to prepare treatment reports or the authority to create necessary placements).