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In re Civil Commitment of M.T.H.

May 15, 2008

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF M.T.H. SVP-429-06


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, SVP-429-06.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 6, 2008

Before Judges Winkelstein and Yannotti.

M.T.H. appeals from a November 14, 2006, order committing him to the State of New Jersey Special Treatment Unit pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.35. On appeal, he raises the following three points for our consideration:

POINT ONE

THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT M.T.H. WAS SUBJECT TO SVP COMMITMENT.

POINT TWO

THE COURT ERRED IN RELYING ON THE OPINIONS OF DRS. MCALLISTER AND FRIEDMAN BECAUSE THESE OPINIONS WERE BASED IN PART ON THE OPINIONS OF NON-TESTIFYING EXPERTS (Not Raised Below).

POINT THREE

THE EVALUATIONS PREPARED BY NON-TESTIFYING EXPERTS CONSTITUTE HEARSAY, DO NOT COMPLY WITH N.J.R.E. 703, AND SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ADMITTED AS EXHIBITS AT TRIAL (Not Raised Below).

We conclude that appellant's arguments are without merit and affirm.

A criminal defendant who has been convicted of a predicate offense to the SVPA may be subject to an involuntary civil commitment when he "suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility for control, care and treatment." N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.26. To warrant commitment, the State must prove that "the individual has serious difficulty in controlling sexually harmful behavior such that it is highly likely that he or she will not control his or her sexually violent behavior and will reoffend." In re Civil Commitment of W.Z., 173 N.J. 109, 132 (2002). The court must address the individual's "present serious difficulty with control over dangerous behavior." Id. at 132-33. The State must establish "by clear and convincing evidence . . . that it is highly ...


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