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In re Civil Commitment of M.Z.M.

June 25, 2008

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF M.Z.M. SVP-79-00


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, SVP-79-00.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued: June 2, 2008

Before Judges C.S. Fisher and C.L. Miniman.

M.Z.M. appeals from an order for continued commitment under the New Jersey Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38. M.Z.M. contends that he was convicted of only one sexually violent offense far removed in time and that his continued commitment is against the weight of the evidence. We affirm.

On May 24, 2000, the State first petitioned for civil commitment of M.Z.M., alleging that he was a sexually violent predator. Fourteen years earlier, on August 25 or 26, 1986, M.Z.M. had raped a woman at knifepoint and was arrested the following day. He pled guilty to first-degree armed aggravated sexual assault and was incarcerated for about ten years before he was civilly committed to Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, where he remained until the filing of the petition. Seven years prior to the predicate offense, defendant had been convicted of aggravated assault and armed robbery in Georgia and was sentenced to ten years at the Rutledge Correctional Institute. He was released on September 14, 1984.

While at the forensic psychiatric hospital, M.Z.M. self-reported that he had raped at least twelve other females, that he raped because women put him down and rape was his method of revenge. While incarcerated M.Z.M. had expressed his admiration for, and identification with, other rapists. His self-esteem is predicated on his identity as a rapist. He reported having little, if any, victim empathy and idolizes serial rapists.

During his civil commitment at Ancora, M.Z.M. was caught engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior with a developmentally disabled female patient on one occasion and on another occasion was found in possession of pornographic materials and toys. M.Z.M. also self-reported to clinicians at Ancora that when he was nine he threw a boy off a balcony because the boy was "messing around with his girlfriend." He also self-reported that he had a dangerous attraction to a female therapist while at A.D.T.C. Department of Corrections' institutional records indicate that M.Z.M. received at least four institutional charges while incarcerated.

On June 8, 2000, M.Z.M. was temporarily civilly committed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.28 to the State of New Jersey's Special Treatment Unit (STU) located in Kearny. On August 8, 2000, the judge entered a judgment of commitment following a final hearing that day. That commitment was continued by the same judge on August 6, 2001, August 6, 2002, July 31, 2003, and April 13, 2005.

The 2003 continuation of commitment was appealed. We affirmed that continuation, finding that the record overwhelmingly supported the trial judge's determination that the State established by clear and convincing evidence that M.Z.M. is a sexually violent predator who is highly likely to reoffend if discharged.

Defendant was evaluated on February 6, 2007, by Brian Friedman, Psy.D., and was again evaluated on March 23, 2007, by Pogos H. Voskanian, M.D. They each issued reports and testified at the review hearing.

Dr. Friedman testified first as a member of the Treatment Progress Review Committee (TPRC). He stated that his testimony would be consistent with the full contents of his report with the exception of a few updates. A week before his testimony, Dr. Friedman spoke with Dr. Enright and learned that M.Z.M. is on "treatment refusal status and is not attending his process group any longer." Dr. Friedman's report was admitted into evidence subject to the exclusion of inadmissible hearsay contained in the report.

Dr. Friedman testified that M.Z.M.'s general presentation suggested a desire to shock the panel members with some of the violent aspects of his fantasy life and his urges and cravings. By way of example, M.Z.M fantasizes about raping someone while he is strangling them so that he can watch them in what he calls a "death ...


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