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Manhattan Psychiatric …cont

Relying on State v. Pedraza, the State urges use of less stringency. In Pedraza, the court adopted the standard applicable at a preliminary hearing, namely, whether there exists “reasonable cause to believe,” in the context of a MHL Article 10 proceeding, explaining that all the court is inquiring into at this early stage is “whether there exists sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.” Domestic violence could be charged.

In the case at bar, the “reasonable cause” standard must be applied in assessing probable cause. It is clear from the statutory scheme that when the legislature intended for a heightened standard of proof, it explicitly prescribed its applicability. The purpose of an Article 10 probable-cause hearing, moreover, is simply to ensure that there is a basis for holding respondent for trial, at which time a heightened standard of inquiry will apply. It would not make sense at this preliminary stage to impose a high standard of proof similar to the one that will ultimately be used by the finder of fact after presentation of all of the evidence.

Because the State has established that there is reasonable cause to believe (1) that K.A. suffers from a mental abnormality, and (2) that he “is sufficiently dangerous to require confinement” and “lesser conditions of supervision will not suffice to protect the public during the pendency of the proceedings,” probable cause has been established and K.A. will be held for trial.

There is reasonable cause to believe that K.A. suffers from a mental abnormality. The State presented substantially unrefuted evidence that K.A., a sex offender, is a pedophile. Dr. JJ further concluded that K.A. manifests antisocial personality traits: he violates social norms and is deceitful. Based on the evidence, there is reasonable cause to believe that K.A. suffers from a congenital or acquired disorder that affects his emotional, cognitive or volitional capacity.

The State has established that there is reasonable cause to believe that K.A. “is sufficiently dangerous to require confinement” and that “lesser conditions of supervision will not suffice to protect the public during the pendency of the proceedings.” Dr. JJ confirmed the State’s scoring of the STATIC 99 and stated that K.A.’s score of six fell into the category of “high risk.” He also opined that K.A. “Would pose a significant risk of danger to others if he were not in a hospital setting.”

Further, Dr. JJ testified that K.A. has not benefitted from treatment and that he poses a risk of repeating the dangerous criminal actions of his past. Based on this evidence, in the interests of protection of the public, K.A. must be confined pending a trial. Releasing K.A. now would undermine the whole purpose underlying MHL Article 10.

Accordingly, the court orders that there is probable cause to believe that K.A. is a sex offender requiring civil management and that he shall not be released pending his trial.

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