Submitted - October 10, 2017
Hygiene Legal Service, Mineola, NY (Michael D. Neville,
Timothy M. Riselvato, and Dennis B. Feld of counsel), for
T. Schneiderman, Attorney General, New York, NY (Steven C. Wu
and Seth M. Rokosky of counsel), for respondent.
C. BALKIN, J.P. JOHN M. LEVENTHAL LEONARD B. AUSTIN ANGELA G.
DECISION & ORDER
from an order of the Supreme Court, Suffolk County (Joseph A.
Santorelli, J.), dated May 16, 2016. The order, after a jury
trial and a dispositional hearing, granted the petition
pursuant to Mental Hygiene Law article 10 and directed that
the appellant be committed to a secure treatment facility
until such time as he no longer requires confinement.
that the order is affirmed, without costs or disbursements.
State of New York commenced this proceeding pursuant to
Mental Hygiene Law article 10 for the civil management of the
appellant, a convicted sex offender. Following a trial, the
jury found that the appellant suffers from a "mental
abnormality'' as defined by the Mental Hygiene Law.
Thereafter, following a separate dispositional hearing, the
Supreme Court determined that the appellant is a dangerous
sex offender requiring civil confinement, and thereupon
granted the petition and directed that the appellant be
committed to a secure treatment facility until such time as
he no longer requires confinement.
to the appellant's contention, the evidence was legally
sufficient to support the jury's determination that he
suffers from a mental abnormality within the meaning of
Mental Hygiene Law § 10.03(i) (see Matter of State
of New York v Ian I., 127 A.D.3d 766, 767; Matter of
State of New York v Raul L., 120 A.D.3d 52), and the
jury's verdict was not contrary to the weight of the
evidence (see Matter of State of New York v Raul L.,
120 A.D.3d 52). The competing opinions of the State's and
the appellant's expert witnesses regarding the
appellant's diagnosis of sexual sadism disorder presented
a credibility determination for resolution by the jury (see
id. at 56; Matter of State of New York v Edison
G., 107 A.D.3d 723). The Supreme Court also properly
found, after the dispositional hearing, by clear and
convincing evidence, that the appellant's level of
dangerousness requires confinement rather than strict and
intensive supervision (see Mental Hygiene Law §
Supreme Court properly granted the State's motion to
unseal the records kept by the Office of the Suffolk County
District Attorney and the Suffolk County Police Department
regarding the defendant's 2001 arrest for rape in the
first degree. Mental Hygiene Law § 10.08(c) provides,
''Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the
commissioner, the case review panel and the attorney general
shall be entitled to request from any agency, office,
department or other entity of the state, and such entity
shall be authorized to provide upon request, any and all
records and reports relating to the respondent's
commission or alleged commission of a sex offense, the
institutional adjustment and any treatment received by such
respondent, and any medical, clinical or other information
relevant to a determination of whether the respondent is a
sex offender requiring civil management." "The
primary goal of the court in interpreting a statute is to
determine and implement the Legislature's intent"
(Matter of Tompkins County Support Collection Unit v
Chamberlin, 99 N.Y.2d 328, 335; see Artibee v Home
Place Corp., 28 N.Y.3d 739, 745). Given the legislative
purpose underlying Mental Hygiene Law § 10.08(c), we
have construed this statute to permit authorized parties to
obtain records from local government entities in addition to
State entities (see Matter of State of New York v Kerry
K, ___A.D.3d___, 2017 NY Slip Op 08671 [2d Dept 2017],
citing Matter of State of New York v John S., 23
N.Y.3d 326). Thus, the court properly granted the State's
Supreme Court also properly denied the appellant's motion
to dismiss the petition on the ground that the State violated
Mental Hygiene Law § 10.05(e) and deprived him of due
process by conducting two psychiatric evaluations of the
appellant prior to filing the petition for civil management.
The second evaluation was performed at the direction of the
case review team following concerns with the adequacy of the
initial report. The appellant was able to cross-examine
members of the case review team regarding its determination
that a second evaluation was required, and any risk of an
erroneous deprivation of the appellant's significant
liberty interest was sufficiently mitigated by the
State's burden of proof at trial of establishing that the
appellant suffers from a mental abnormality by clear and
convincing evidence (see Mental Hygiene Law §
10.07[d]; Matter of State New York v Floyd Y., 22
N.Y.3d 95; Matter of K.L., 1 N.Y.3d 362, 373).
appellant's remaining contention is without merit.
BALKIN, J.P., LEVENTHAL, AUSTIN and ...