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In re Civil Commitment of D.B.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 9, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF D.B., SVP-61-00.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION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-061-00.

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

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

Before Judges Messano and Lihotz.

PER CURIAM

D.B. is a resident of the Special Treatment Unit (STU), the secure custodial facility designated for the treatment of persons in need of involuntary 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 order of June 4, 2012, that continued his commitment after a hearing, and set April 17, 2013, as the date for his next annual review.[1] He 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, D.B. contends that after ten years of Phase Three treatment at the STU, it was appropriate to commence Phase Four therapy and prepare a furlough plan leading to D.B.'s discharge with appropriate conditions.

After due consideration of the record and applicable legal standards, we affirm, substantially for the reasons expressed by Judge Philip M. Freedman.

D.B. was initially committed by order of March 21, 2000. A series of orders have continued his commitment thereafter, two of which we affirmed on appeal. See In re Civil Commitment of D.X.B., No. A-2979-03 (App. Div. Dec. 17, 2004); In re Civil Commitment of D.X.B., No. A-6693-04 (App. Div. Mar. 2, 2006), certif. denied, 187 N.J. 79 (2006).

The hearing that resulted in the order under review occurred over two days in May 2012. Nicole Paolillo, a staff psychologist and member of the Treatment Progress Review Committee (TPRC) at the STU, testified. It was the TPRC's recommendation that D.B. remain in Phase Three treatment. Paolillo noted that D.B. had taken "multiple [deviant arousal] polygraphs" over his years of treatment, and, with one exception, "there was deception indicated in all of them." Paolillo testified that D.B.'s Static-99R test score was indicative of "a moderate to high risk category."

Doctor Alberto Mario Goldwaser, a psychiatrist, testified regarding the report of his interview of D.B. on April 4, 2012, and the conclusions he reached therein. Goldwaser "did not find any sign of psychiatric illness" in D.B., but he noted "[t]he most outstanding aspect" of "concern" was D.B.'s "evasiveness." He diagnosed D.B. with "Paraphilia NOS, " noting he experienced "recurrent and intense sexual urges, fantasies or behaviors involving sexual arousal to persons who[, ] by virtue of employed force are unable to consent or resist." Goldwaser further diagnosed D.B. with "exhibitionism" and "substance abuse, alcohol and marijuana."

Goldwaser also considered "sexual sadism" as a possible diagnosis, based upon D.B.'s statements that "he was aroused by fear, humiliation and pain. He had fantasies of producing a great deal of pain [in] women that he would rape." Goldwaser diagnosed D.B. with "personality disorder NOS with antisocial and narcissistic features." Goldwaser opined that D.B.'s substance abuse problems "would embolden [him], or give more permission, to do whatever he wants to do." D.B. was "predispose[d] . . . to sexual violence, " would have "serious difficulty controlling his sexual offending behavior, " and was "highly likely to reoffend."

D.B. called two witnesses from the STU, Ronald Gonzalez and Tashana Mitchell, to address entries in the treatment records regarding D.B. being placed on "treatment probation." During one of the treatment sessions with Gonzalez, D.B. acknowledged "stalking behavior" with respect to the victim of his last crime. He perceived that Gonzalez knew the victim personally, and, although Gonzalez denied knowing the victim or conveying that impression during the group session, there was ...


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