may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of:
Carl Leroy Anderson.
Filed October 20, 1998
Kandiyohi County District Court
File No. P9-96-60607
Hubert H. Humphrey III, Attorney General, Theresa M. Couri, Alan Held, Assistant Attorneys General, 900 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Harten, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.
Carl Leroy Anderson appeals from his indeterminate commitment as a sexual psychopathic personality and a sexually dangerous person. He raises various issues relating to the district court's rulings and findings and challenges the merits and constitutionality of his commitment. We affirm.
Appellant was sent to the Minnesota Security Hospital, where staff members from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) attempted to interview appellant and assess his condition. He refused to cooperate. MSOP prepared the required statutory treatment report and submitted it to the district court.
The district court conducted a review hearing. Dr. Anita Schlank, Ph.D., L.P. and the head of MSOP, and Pamela Bidelman, a licensed social worker for MSOP, testified. They concluded that appellant's condition had not changed and that he continued to meet the criteria for commitment. The treatment staff recommended inpatient structured supervised care in the sex offender treatment program offered by MSOP.
The district court made appellant's commitment indeterminate. Carl Anderson appeals.
The supreme court has addressed the scope of the review hearing for an indeterminate commitment. In re Linehan, 557 N.W.2d 167, 170-71 (Minn. 1996) (hereinafter Linehan II), vacated and remanded, 118 S. Ct. 596 (1997). The court was "hesitant to confer res judicata status on the initial commitment order" due to the liberty interests at stake in the indeterminate commitment. Id. at 171. But it rejected the argument that the patient should be able to raise the issue of whether the initial commitment was improper. Id. at 170. Instead, it limited the evidence that properly could be considered to the treatment report, "evidence of changes in the patient's condition since the initial commitment hearing," and other evidence that would help the court in determining whether the patient continued to meet the statutory criteria for commitment. Id. at 171. The district court here properly assessed whether appellant's condition had changed, rather than making new findings as to whether he met the standards for commitment.
Appellant further contends that the requisite "change" necessary to avoid an indeterminate commitment would be impossible to achieve in the 60-day period in which the treatment facility must file its report. See Minn. Stat § 253B.18, subd. 2 (Supp. 1997) (requiring treatment facility to file report within 60 days after commitment). As discussed above, the supreme court has approved this standard. Linehan II, 557 N.W.2d at 170-71.
Appellant next claims there was no evidence the program offered him treatment. Appellant's refusal to participate in hospital assessments and evaluations necessary to prepare the treatment plan prevented the treatment he now claims to seek.
Appellant next raises issues as to the burden of proof. The court must find by clear and convincing evidence that the standards for commitment are met. Minn. Stat. § 253B.18, subd. 1 (Supp. 1997). The petitioner met its burden of proof by providing testimony and records from MSOP personnel which supported the determination that appellant's condition has not changed. The district court properly applied the burden of proof.
Appellant next raises a challenge to the weight the district court gave to an expert's opinion in the initial hearing based on evidence received at the review hearing. Appellant has obtained review of the initial commitment. In re Anderson, No. C9-97-2225 (Minn. App. June 2, 1998) (affirming initial commitment as SPP and SDP), review denied (Minn. July 30, 1998). The purpose of the review hearing is to determine whether the patient continues to meet the standards for commitment. Linehan II, 557 N.W.2d at 170-71. Consequently, we decline to review a discretionary decision made by the district court in the initial commitment in an appeal from the indeterminate commitment. See In re Joelson, 385 N.W.2d 810, 811 (Minn. 1986) (according particular significance to court's findings when they rest almost entirely on evaluation of credibility of expert opinion testimony).
Appellant raises evidentiary issues arising from the district court's refusal to permit his sister to testify about her alleged report of sexual abuse and its decision to exclude testimony from a psychologist. Decisions to admit evidence are within the sound discretion of the court and will not be reversed absent an abuse of discretion. Uselman v. Uselman, 464 N.W.2d 130, 138 (Minn. 1990). Even if erroneous, the decisions will not be grounds for reversal unless prejudice results. EHW Properties v. City of Eagan, 503 N.W.2d 135, 141 (Minn. App. 1993). The court explicitly did not take into account the alleged report by his sister. The court deemed the psychiatrist's testimony irrelevant because he had not interviewed appellant. Appellant has not shown either an abuse of discretion or resulting prejudice.
Appellant also asserts the district court erroneously failed to provide him with a second court-appointed examiner for the review hearing. The district court authorized the second court-appointed examiner for the initial hearing, but, because there is no provision for appointment of another second court-appointed examiner for the review hearing, the district court properly denied the request for the second court-appointed examiner. See Minn. Stat. § 253B.07, subd. 3 (Supp. 1997). Further, the court indicated that, based on appellant's refusal to participate in the assessments at the security hospital, it was unlikely the examiner could provide the court with a credible opinion as to a change in appellant's condition.
The next factor is whether appellant continued to evidence an utter lack of power to control his sexual impulses. Id. At the review hearing, MSOP staff testified they did not observe any change in appellant that would indicate he no longer had an utter lack of power to control his sexual impulses. In addition, they reported a number of instances in which appellant violated rules. In making the determination at the initial commitment, the court addressed a variety of factors to conclude appellant exhibited an utter lack of power to control his sexual impulses. See In re Blodgett, 510 N.W.2d 910, 915 (Minn.), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 849 (1994) (providing factors to consider in determining whether utter lack of power to control sexual impulses exists). The fact that appellant did not sexually offend while in the structured setting of a hospital did not mandate the court to find that he no longer exhibited an utter lack of control.
The final factor for an SPP commitment is whether appellant is highly likely to be dangerous to other persons. Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subd. 18b. Appellant maintains this factor was not met because he has not continued his course of sexual misconduct. Instead, he contends the staff's conclusions were based on risk factors unsupported by evidence.
The supreme court provided a number of factors for courts to consider in addressing the risk factor; these were particularly applicable when there had been a large gap of time between the last sex offense and the petition for commitment. Linehan I, 518 N.W.2d at 614. The social worker testified she had no basis to conclude appellant had any greater skill managing his sexual impulses than he did at the time of the initial commitment, had observed no changes, and would continue to consider him highly likely to offend. The district court had clear and convincing evidence from which to conclude appellant continued to meet the standards for commitment as a SPP.
The first factor is whether appellant engaged in a course of harmful sexual conduct. Id., subd. 18c(a)(1); see Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subd. 7a(a) (1996) (defining harmful sexual conduct). Appellant violently sexually assaulted numerous children over a period of several years, as discussed in his challenge to the SPP commitment. Therefore, he continued to satisfy the requirement for this element.
The next factor is whether appellant continued to manifest a sexual, personality, or other mental disorder or dysfunction. Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subd. 18c(a)(2). MSOP staff diagnosed appellant with pedophilia, attracted to both genders, nonexclusive type; paraphilia, not otherwise specified; and antisocial personality disorder, all demonstrating satisfaction of this element.
Finally, as in the SPP statute, there must be a determination that appellant continues to be highly likely to engage in acts of harmful sexual conduct in the future. Id., subd. 18c(a)(3). The evidence, including expert testimony, showed appellant continued to be highly likely to engage in acts of harmful sexual conduct in the future. The district court had clear and convincing evidence from which to conclude appellant continued to meet the standard for commitment as a SDP.
Appellant next contends that the court should have used the burden of proof of "beyond a reasonable doubt." The civil commitment statute provides that the elements must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. Minn. Stat. § 253B.18, subd. 1. The United States Supreme Court has refused to require the states to apply the strict criminal standard in commitment cases. Addington v. Texas, 441 U.S. 418, 431, 99 S. Ct. 1804, 1812 (1979).
Appellant contends that his commitment under the SPP and SDP laws violates his right to be free from double jeopardy because, as a juvenile, he was adjudicated delinquent for some of these same acts. The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected the argument that SPP or SDP commitments violated constitutional prohibitions against double jeopardy. Call v. Gomez, 535 N.W.2d 312, 319-20 (Minn. 1995) (rejecting double jeopardy challenge to psychopathic personality commitment); Linehan II, 557 N.W.2d at 187 (rejecting double jeopardy challenge to SDP law).
Appellant also contends the SDP act is unconstitutional as violating substantive due process and equal protection. The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected these arguments and upheld the SDP act as constitutional. Linehan II, 557 N.W.2d at 184, 187.
Appellant argues that the commitment law should not be applied to conduct committed while he was a juvenile, citing Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 815, 108 S. Ct. 2687 (1988). The Court in Thompson held that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments prohibited execution of a defendant convicted of first-degree murder for an offense committed at age 15. Id. at 838, 108 S. Ct. at 2700. Thompson involved criminal matters and does not apply here.
 The Minnesota Supreme Court is currently considering various constitutional challenges to the SDP law as a result of the Supreme Court's decision in Linehan v. Minnesota, 118 S. Ct. 596 (1997), to vacate and remand the matter.