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In re Civil Commitment of Padron

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

July 15, 2013

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of: Eliseo Efrain Padron a/k/a Little Efrain Contreras

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Ramsey County District Court File No. 62-MN-PR-11-519

John Choi, Ramsey County Attorney, Beth Gessner Sullivan, Assistant County Attorney, Human Services Division, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent Ramsey County)

Kathleen K. Rauenhorst, Rauenhorst & Associates, P.A., Roseville, Minnesota (for appellant)

Considered and decided by Peterson, Presiding Judge; Chutich, Judge; and Smith, Judge.

PETERSON, Judge

In this appeal from his indeterminate commitment as a sexual psychopathic personality and a sexually dangerous person, appellant argues that the evidence is insufficient to demonstrate that he utterly lacks the power to control his sexual impulses or that he is highly likely to engage in harmful sexual conduct. We affirm.

FACTS

On October 6, 2011, Ramsey County filed a petition to civilly commit appellant Elisio Efrain Padron, a/k/a Little Efrain Contreras, as a sexual psychopathic personality (SPP) and a sexually dangerous person (SDP). When the petition was filed, appellant was nearing the end of his sentence for first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Because of violations, appellant served his supervised-release and conditional-release time in prison.

Appellant has an extensive history of juvenile offenses, including theft, burglary, assault, second-degree assault, and aggravated robbery. At the age of seventeen, appellant was certified as an adult and pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct, following the violent rape of his second cousin. Appellant was sentenced to 48 months in prison. Eight months after his release in September 1995, appellant committed a second violent rape. Appellant vaginally, anally, and digitally penetrated R.T., a stranger to him who was dating his friend. He also forced his friend to sexually assault R.T.; he threatened to kill her and her young child. After six hours of brutal assault, appellant permitted his friend to take R.T. home. Appellant was charged with and pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Appellant was sentenced to 100 months, a downward durational departure.

In 2002, appellant was released under intensive supervised probation; he violated probation on four occasions and was returned to prison each time. After the fourth violation, appellant was deemed unamenable to probation and a continuing risk to the public. Appellant was required to serve time in prison until his sentence expired, which was calculated to occur on February 11, 2012. Between his prison admit date of July 3, 1996, and the filing of this petition, appellant spent only 29 days unsupervised in the community. While in prison for both the first and second rapes, appellant was disciplined at least 34 times for violating prison rules.

Appellant also has a "significant history of drug abuse, " beginning at age 10 and continuing during his imprisonment. Appellant completed drug-treatment programs twice while in prison, but he also was disciplined for using drugs both while in prison and while on supervised release. Appellant believes that alcohol and drugs played a significant part in his two sexual offenses and his other crimes. Appellant participated in sex-offender treatment three or four times while in prison, but he never successfully completed a program. Appellant was terminated from the programs for violating program rules, including possession of tattoo paraphernalia, possession of pornography, and drug use.

Three experts testified at appellant's commitment trial: Dr. Peter Meyers reviewed appellant's file on behalf of the county to determine whether appellant should be referred for civil commitment; Dr. Mary Kenning was the first examiner; and Dr. Thomas Alberg was chosen by appellant to be the second examiner. All three experts agreed that appellant met the criteria to be considered a clinical psychopath. The experts administered a variety of actuarial and non-actuarial assessments. All three experts agreed that appellant was highly likely to reoffend with a violent crime. Kenning concluded that appellant was highly likely to reoffend sexually; Meyers administered the Sexual Violence Risk-20 assessment tool, which also indicated that appellant was likely to reoffend sexually, but Meyers attributed this to gang culture and drug and alcohol use.

Both Meyers and Alberg concluded that appellant did not meet the criteria for commitment as either an SPP or an SDP, while Kenning concluded that he did. The district court rejected Meyers' and Alberg's opinions, explaining that Alberg and Meyers uncritically accepted appellant's "version of the facts even though [appellant's] record is replete with deceitfulness and lies." The district court found Kenning's opinion more credible and persuasive than the other examiners' opinions due to her "knowledge of the facts, her painstaking review of the record and her results on the Static-99."

The district court fully reviewed appellant's credibility, noting many instances of falsehoods that were relied on by Alberg and Meyers. The following is a short summary of appellant's false statements that were accepted by Alberg and Meyers in reaching their expert opinions: (1) appellant reported that the death of his mother from cancer, her illness, and the inheritance she left had a great impact on him; he also testified at the commitment hearing about her death; in fact, a county investigator spoke with appellant's mother, who was still alive on the day of the commitment hearing; (2) appellant reported that he had earned a bachelor's degree, a master's degree in literature, and a certificate in ministry while incarcerated; in fact, appellant earned his G.E.D.; (3) appellant testified about his federal counterfeiting conviction; there is no record in the federal judicial system of charges against appellant; (4) appellant claimed that some of his behavior stemmed from a traumatic brain injury he suffered that left him in a coma for ten days; there are no medical records of such an injury despite the fact that appellant was under juvenile court jurisdiction at the time he claims the injury occurred; (5) appellant's versions of the two rapes changed significantly over the years; the district court noted that he "did not provide a clear gang motivation for the offense until he knew he was at risk for civil commitment and was motivated to provide a non-sexual reason for his behavior"; (6) to show that he had a stable relationship, appellant claimed that he was married to C. S. and lived ...


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