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Mental Hygiene Law

Respondents in these cases are the subjects of sex crimes offender civil management petitions pursuant to Article 10 of the Mental Hygiene Law. On April 17th, April 21st and April 28th 2008, the State moved to transfer the venue of these proceedings from New York County, where they are currently located, to the jurisdictions where the crimes committed by the offenders in these cases occurred. Although each of these motions was brought separately and these cases have not been formally consolidated, the legal issues, procedural history, counsels for the parties and many of the factual issues in these motions overlap.

Respondent was convicted of one count of Sex Abuse in the Third Degree in 1980, one count of Sex Abuse in the First Degree in 1984 and Sodomy in the First Degree in 1993. He was sentenced on the latter conviction to an indeterminate term of incarceration of 6-12 years. Respondent was conditionally released in October of 2001 but violated his parole by possessing pornography. He was then re-incarcerated and subsequently transferred to the Manhattan Psychiatric Center, as noted above, at the completion of his sentence in 2005.
These cases all arose pursuant to a unique procedural history. In the fall of 2005, after failing to achieve passage of legislation to provide for the civil commitment of convicted sex offenders for a number of years, the Governor charged state officials to “push the envelope” and use the provisions of the existing Mental Hygiene Law to civilly confine convicted sex crime offenders whose prison terms were ending. A New York Criminal Lawyer said that, twelve convicted sex crime offenders were confined at the conclusion of their prison terms at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center between September 23 and October 21, 2005 pursuant to this directive. The Governor relied upon M.H.L. ยง 9.27(a) for these actions, which authorizes the involuntary confinement of persons who are mentally ill, in need of involuntary care and treatment and pose a danger to themselves or society. Some of these first twelve offenders were later transferred to the Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center also located in New York County.

A New York Sex Crime Lawyer said that, the Deputy Director of Mental Hygiene Legal Services petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus seeking the release of the offenders. The trial court granted the writ based on procedural errors the trial court found had been made in committing the offenders and based on the trial court’s finding that the Petitioners had been deprived of their due process protections and were being illegally detained. The Court ordered the Petitioners released unless additional psychiatric examinations in compliance with the statute and other appropriate procedural steps were followed. The Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s decision and dismissed the habeas corpus petition. The Court of Appeals then reversed the Appellate Division’s decision, but fashioned a more limited remedy for the Petitioners than the trial court had originally imposed. With respect to the Petitioners, retention hearings under Article 9 of the Mental Hygiene Law were ordered, but no other relief for those individuals was granted. Prostitution was not involved.

If you have a good cause to file a motion for change of venue, you will need the assistance of a New York Criminal Attorney and New York Sex Crime Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates. Call us.

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