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Court Discusses Mental Hygiene Law


In 1992, the appellant was charged and convicted with sex crimes namely rape and sexual abuse. In 1994, he was paroled and was found to have violated the parole. Subsequently, he was convicted for the criminal sale of a controlled substance and applied for parole. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said while on parole, he was convicted of attempted rape for forcing himself upon the 68-year old mother of his then-girlfriend. He was sentenced to 8 years of incarceration. While incarcerated, he was further convicted of attempted rape in the first degree based on a rape he committed in July 1996.

A nonjury trial was formed to hear the case of the appellant. After which, it found that the appellant was a “detained sex offender” under article 10 of the Mental Hygiene Law, also known as the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act. The Supreme Court then conducted a dispositional hearing, after which it determined that the appellant was a dangerous [84 A.D.3d 1100] sexual offender requiring civil confinement and ordered such confinement (see Mental Hygiene Law §§ 10.07[f]).

A psychiatrist, the State’s expert, testified that the appellant suffers from, among other things, paraphilia NOS (not otherwise specified) and antisocial personality disorder. He detailed the appellant’s specific pattern of deviant sexual arousal [84 A.D.3d 1101] and his inability to control his impulses. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said he testified that the appellant, because of his condition and the resulting symptoms, was predisposed to committing sexual offenses and had serious difficulty controlling such behavior.

The appellant contended that he does not suffer mental abnormality as defined in Mental Hygiene Law § 10.03(i), and that he is not a dangerous sex offender requiring civil confinement to justify his commitment to a secure treatment facility for care and treatment. Moreover, the appellant contends that the Supreme Court should have recused itself after learning of certain threats that he had allegedly made against the court, court personnel, and an assistant attorney general during the trial phase of this proceeding.

The Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the nonjury trial. The trial evidence supported the Supreme Court’s determination that the appellant suffers from a “mental abnormality,” which SOMTA defines as “a congenital or acquired condition, disease or disorder that affects the emotional, cognitive, or volitional capacity of a person in a manner that predisposes him or her to the commission of conduct constituting a sex offense and that results in that person having serious difficulty in controlling such conduct” (Mental Hygiene Law § 10.03[i]).

The Supreme Court determined, after the dispositional hearing, that the appellant is a dangerous sex offender requiring confinement ( see Mental Hygiene Law § 10.07[f] ). At that hearing, the State’s expert testified that the appellant’s deviant sexual interests, history of parole violations, indifference to rules, inability to self-regulate, and antisocial attitudes and behaviors made it likely that he would sexually reoffend. Although the appellant testified that he was enrolled in a sexual offender treatment program, the State presented credible evidence that the appellant had been removed from similar treatment programs on three previous occasions, once for poor behavior, once for possessing pornography, and once for repeatedly staring at a female corrections officer while putting his hand in his pants. Moreover, by making certain threats against the court and court personnel during the trial phase, the appellant demonstrated a continued inability to control his impulses, despite the fact that he had completed an anger management program while incarcerated. A Nassau County Sex Crimes Lawyer said under these circumstances, the Supreme Court properly determined that the appellant is a dangerous sex offender requiring civil confinement and properly directed that he be committed to a secure treatment facility for care, treatment, and control until such time as he no longer requires confinement.

On the argument of the appellant that the Supreme Court should have recused itself, the Court ruled that the claim is unpreserved for appellate review, as the appellant failed to make a motion or otherwise request that the Supreme Court recuse itself. A Queens Sex Crimes Lawyer said absent a legal disqualification under Judiciary Law § 14, a trial judge is the sole arbiter of the need for recusal, and the decision is a matter of discretion and personal conscience.

Our New York Rape Lawyer from Stephen Bilkis & Associates can argue your case within the limits set forth by law. It has offices conveniently located within New York Metropolitan area, including Corona, New York.

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