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In re Civil Commitment of J.E.D.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 6, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF J.E.D., SVP-210-01.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued May 29, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. SVP-210-01.

Patrick Madden, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant (Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney).

Cindi Collins, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent (Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney).

Before Judges Messano and Lihotz.

PER CURIAM

J.E.D. is a resident of the Special Treatment Unit (STU), the secure custodial facility designated for the treatment of persons in need of involuntarily civil commitment pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act (the SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38. He appeals from the December 12, 2012, order that continued his commitment after a hearing and set the date for his next annual review as November 28, 2013. J.E.D. argues that the State failed to present sufficient evidence demonstrating he continues to "suffer[] from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes [him] 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. In particular, J.E.D. contends the judge erred in crediting the testimony of the State's expert.

Alternatively, J.E.D. contends that we should remand the matter for the entry of an order compelling the STU to implement a discharge plan in anticipation of his release. After due consideration of the record and applicable legal standards, we affirm.

J.E.D. was initially committed by order of November 9, 2001; a judgment declaring he was a sexually violent predator in need of involuntary commitment followed on March 26, 2002. A series of orders have continued his commitment thereafter, several of which we affirmed on appeal. See In re Civil Commitment of J.E.D., No. A-6164-02 (App. Div. June 29, 2004); In re Civil Commitment of J.E.D., No. A-4425-04 (App. Div. Dec. 21, 2005); In re Civil Commitment of J.E.D., No. A-2692-06 (App. Div. May 31, 2007); In re Civil Commitment of J.E.D., No. A-0053-08 (App. Div. Jan. 2, 2009); In re Civil Commitment of J.E.D., No. A-1141-10 (App. Div. Apr. 21, 2011).

The hearing that gave rise to the order under review occurred on December 12, 2012. Doctor Pogos Voskanian, a psychiatrist, testified regarding his interview of J.E.D. on November 30, 2012. Voskanian concluded that J.E.D. was not "doing well in the treatment currently[, ]" and that he "continue[d] to display significant impulsive behaviors over the past two years." Voskanian cited an incident earlier in the year during which J.E.D. and another resident "were simultaneously masturbating while watching each other bathe." This followed an incident in 2010 during which J.E.D. "slap[ed] another resident's buttocks."

Voskanian diagnosed J.E.D. with "Pedophilia, " and "a learning disorder, " and he indicated that a "developmental disorder" needed to be ruled out. Voskanian further diagnosed J.E.D. with "Personality Disorder NOS, " with displays of "narcissistic traits" and "problems with self[-]esteem." Voskanian opined that these conditions "predispose [J.E.D.] to sexual violence, " he would "have serious difficulty controlling his sexual offending behavior, " and J.E.D. "remains at high risk" to sexually reoffend.

Nicole Paolillo, a staff psychologist and member of J.E.D.'s Treatment Progress Review Committee (TPRC) at the STU also testified. J.E.D. had been in Phase Three treatment for "at least six years." Paolillo noted that J.E.D. had been "generally consistent in treatment, " but "the treatment team did have some concerns." She noted that J.E.D. "was failing to address the sex offender dynamics." Regarding the masturbatory incident with a fellow resident, Paolillo noted, "It's just not going to bode well for his success in the community if he acts upon his urges, decides which rules he's going to pick and to follow . . . ."

Paolillo stated that J.E.D.'s Static-99R test score placed him in the "low to moderate rate" of risk to reoffend. Her diagnoses mirrored those reached by Voskanian. Although J.E.D. had "done quite a bit of work" during treatment sessions, Paolillo acknowledged "he's not psychologically prepared to ...


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