IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF J.Q., SVP-541-09.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted May 21, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. SVP-541-09.
Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant J.Q. (Michelle N. Cox, Designated Counsel, on the brief).
Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney for respondent State of New Jersey (Melissa H. Raksa, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Cindi S. Collins, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).
Before Judges Reisner and Harris.
J.Q. appeals from the Law Division's April 12, 2010 order committing him to the Special Treatment Unit (STU), a secure custodial facility for the treatment of persons in need of involuntary civil commitment, as a sexually violent predator pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38. He contends the State failed to sustain its burden of proof because it relied mainly on J.Q.'s past crimes, ignoring his alleged present ability to control sexually harmful behavior. Furthermore, he argues that the court erred in crediting the State's expert witnesses because their testimony was based largely upon past criminal behavior and failed to "adequately consider the mitigating effect of J.Q.'s six years of treatment [in the Adult Diagnostic Treatment Center (ADTC) in Avenel.]" We disagree and affirm.
J.Q. is a forty-five-year-old male with a history of repeated sexual assaults. On October 10, 1997, he pled guilty to second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b), involving his nineteen-year-old former paramour, and was thereafter sentenced to a four-year prison term. Five years later, in November 2002, J.Q. pled guilty to first-degree aggravated sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a), involving a then-fourteen-year-old victim. J.Q.'s plea allocution indicated that he committed the crime at a time when the victim was between five and ten years old. In May 2003, J.Q. was sentenced to a twelve-year prison term with a six-year period of parole ineligibility.
Prior to the expiration of the sentence, the State moved civilly to commit J.Q. as a sexually violent predator. The commitment hearing was conducted on April 12, 2010. At the hearing, the State offered documentary evidence and presented the testimony of Alberto M. Goldwaser, M.D., a psychiatrist, and Doreen Stanzione, Ed.D., a clinical psychologist. J.Q. testified in his own defense.
Based on the undisputed expert proofs, the trial judge found J.Q. to be a sexually violent predator by clear and convincing evidence. The judge declared that based on "[t]wo very credible experts, " J.Q.'s "mental abnormalities or personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, pedophilia" can only be mitigated by further treatment. Additionally, the judge found that J.Q.'s testimony was not credible
in any way, shape or form. It's obvious that he minimized a lot of the offenses that he's had. It's hard for him to understand what is true and what is not true. And I ...