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In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of H.B.

November 13, 2012


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. SVP-252-02.

Per curiam.



Argued October 15, 2012

Before Judges Parrillo and Fasciale.

H.B. appeals from an April 2, 2012 order of the Law Division continuing his civil commitment to the Special Treatment Unit (STU) as a sexually violent predator under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38. We affirm.

H.B., born on September 4, 1958, has a longstanding history of sexually violent and other criminal offenses. In February 1989, he pled guilty to second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(1), and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4, for which he was sentenced to five years in prison. The victim was H.B.'s nine-year old daughter, who stated that H.B. sexually assaulted her approximately six times between 1987 and 1988, forcing her to perform fellatio and sexual intercourse. The child also reported that H.B. physically assaulted and threatened her on several other occasions. H.B. has also admitted to forcibly raping three or four other victims, although he has never been charged with those crimes. In addition, while in treatment at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (ADTC), he reported a history of incestuous relationships dating back to his childhood with various family members, including his sister and adult nieces.

The predicate offense for which H.B. is currently committed occurred on June 14, 1993. H.B. had been living with the victim, M.E., an adult female, for two months. M.E. stated that on the day of the incident, they were having an argument, during which H.B. pulled out a knife. H.B. left the residence and returned later and asked M.E. to come into the bedroom. When she did, he grabbed her arm, and pulled her down onto the bed.

He then sat on her chest and forced his penis into her mouth.

He also forcefully performed vaginal and anal intercourse with her. On October 26, 1993, he pled guilty to three counts of sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2C(1), and one count of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4D. He was sentenced to ten years at the ADTC, with five years parole ineligibility. While incarcerated, H.B. received at least six institutional charges including assault on an officer.

At about the time of the expiration of his sentence, the State filed a petition for H.B.'s civil commitment on June 28, 2001. He was temporarily committed to the STU on July 5, 2001. However, he was then transferred to administrative segregation at East Jersey State Prison for 400 days on an institutional charge for assaulting a corrections officer. After returning to the ADTC, he incurred another institutional charge for assault, serving another term in administrative segregation, before again being civilly committed by order of March 17, 2005. Since that commitment, H.B. has been subject to multiple review hearings, in which the court found he satisfied the requirements for continued treatment.

The present appeal arises from H.B.'s most recent review hearing on April 2, 2012, at the close of which the trial court continued his involuntary commitment. At the hearing, H.B. presented no testimony on his behalf. The State, on the other hand, presented the testimony of Dr. Dean De Crisce, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Paul Dudek, a psychologist and member of the STU's Treatment Progress Review Committee (TPRC).

H.B. declined to be interviewed for the evaluations and therefore both of the State's experts relied on a variety of other sources of information, including STU treatment records as well as previous psychiatric and psychological evaluations. Based thereon, Dr. De Crisce found that H.B. suffers from a paraphilia, not otherwise specified. H.B. also had "some sadistic elements to his crimes, choking and beating on his child, as well as performing anal penetration on a rape victim, and then causing her to perform fellatio after that." However, Dr. De Crisce did not make a full diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder because H.B.'s juvenile history is unclear. Nevertheless, Dr. De Crisce opined that H.B. "clearly has displayed over an extended period of time a persistent, maladaptive and pervasive pattern of personality dysfunction, evidenced by repeated assaults, impulsivity, disregard for the welfare of others, repeated behaviors that are the grounds for arrest and lack of remorse."*fn1 Dr. De Crisce further opined that this personality disorder "is seen to significantly contribute to [H.B.'s] high risk for sexual recidivism." H.B. also has a history of cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and amphetamine abuse.

Although while incarcerated at the ADTC, H.B. had advanced to a level 4 process group and had entered into the therapeutic community as of 1999, his treatment prognosis at the STU has ...

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