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In re Civil Commitment of F.Z.S.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

December 19, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF F.Z.S. SVP-393-05.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued November 12, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, Docket No. SVP-393-05.

Michael Denny, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant F.Z.S. (Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney).

Daniel Kelly, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent State of New Jersey (John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General, attorney).

Before Judges Parrillo and Kennedy.

PER CURIAM

F.Z.S. appeals from a May 6, 2013 order of the Law Division continuing his involuntary commitment to the New Jersey Special Treatment Unit (STU), pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38. We affirm.

F.Z.S. was born in 1949 and is currently sixty-four years old. He was first convicted of a sexually violent offense in 1984[1] based on evidence that he had engaged in multiple sexual acts with his stepdaughter, D.S., when she was between four and fifteen years of age. On October 22, 1984, he pled guilty to second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b), for which he was sentenced to a seven-year State prison term.

On January 27, 2005, F.Z.S. pled guilty to the predicate offense, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a), stemming from sexual acts perpetrated against a nine-year-old girl in 1997, for which he was sentenced to a five-year State prison term. According to the victim, who had been diagnosed with genital herpes and had been hospitalized with suicidal ideation in December 1998, F.Z.S., a family friend with whom she had been living at the time, sexually abused her on several occasions in his home by touching her with his penis and vaginally penetrating her, and then threated to kill her if she told anyone about these incidents.[2]

On April 7, 2005, the Law Division entered an order temporarily committing F.Z.S. to the STU, and on August 23, 2005, following a full hearing, the court entered a judgment declaring F.Z.S. a sexually violent predator in need of involuntary commitment. On appeal, we affirmed the court's decision in an unpublished opinion. In re the Civil Commitment of F.Z.S., A-0625-05 (App. Div. Dec. 15, 2006). Since the initial order, F.Z.S.'s commitment has been continually ordered. See In re the Civil Commitment of F.Z.S., A-4611-06 (App. Div. Jan. 14, 2008); In re the Civil Commitment of F.Z.S., A-6207-07 (App. Div. Jan. 9, 2009); In re the Civil Commitment of F.Z.S., A-3325-11 (App. Div. June 11, 2012).

The most recent review, which is the subject of this appeal, was conducted on May 6, 2013, at which time the State presented the expert testimony of Dr. Indra Cidambi, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Debra Roquet, a psychologist and a member of the Treatment Progress Review Committee (TPRC) that conducted the most recent evaluation of F.Z.S, and the author of its report dated December 8, 2012. F.Z.S. offered no conflicting evidence.

Dr. Cidambi did not have an opportunity to meet with F.Z.S., as he declined to be interviewed. Therefore, she based her evaluation of F.Z.S. on conversations with his treatment team, a review of his STU chart and records, and past evaluations. Dr. Cidambi noted that F.Z.S. did not admit to the offenses; he only admitted to having sex with his fifteen-year-old step-daughter, claiming that he mistook her for his wife in a drunken stupor.

In this regard, Dr. Cidambi pointed specifically to F.Z.S.'s extensive substance abuse history, noting that he had been drinking since age sixteen, and that this behavior escalated in 1968. F.Z.S. had been diagnosed with delirium tremens due to alcohol withdrawal when he was first incarcerated, and despite his condition, he had received no substance abuse treatment. Moreover, F.Z.S. had an extensive trauma history, beginning with physical abuse from his father. F.Z.S. also had a younger brother who was hit by a bus and killed while F.Z.S. ...


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