Appellant A.Y. appeals from a judgment civilly committing him to the Special Treatment Unit (STU) as a sexually violent predator pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act, N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 to -27.38. He was convicted of the predicate act of second-degree sexual assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(c), and was diagnosed as suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder and other conditions.
The State's experts opined appellant's personality disorder affects his cognitive, volitional, or emotional capacity, making it highly likely he will sexually reoffend if not kept under the care, control and treatment of a secure facility such as the STU. The State's experts relied, in part, on the results of the MnSOST-R and Static-99R actuarial instruments to determine whether A.Y. was highly likely to sexually reoffend.
Appellant argued he had regained volitional control over his sexually assaultive behavior through treatment and medication compliance. Appellant further argued the State's experts rendered inadmissible net opinions lacking any probability basis to find him highly likely to sexually reoffend. Appellant also argued the State's experts could not point to any methodology or objective standards used to reach their sexual recidivism risk findings.
The court found the State's experts relied on information reasonably relied on by experts in the field, the State's experts did not render inadmissible net opinions, the actuarial instruments were properly used by the State's experts in the formation of the basis of their opinions, and the methodology utilized by the State's experts satisfied the requirements imposed by the Court in In re Accutane Litig., 234 N.J. 340 (2018). Accordingly, the court determined the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting and considering the testimony of the State's experts, including their use and reliance upon the MnSOST-R and Static-99R actuarial instruments.
The court affirmed, finding the credible evidence in the record supported the trial court's finding that appellant suffered from a personality disorder that makes it highly likely he will not control his sexually violent behavior and will reoffend if not confined to the STU for treatment.