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In re Civil Commitment of Moen

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 5, 2013

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of: Kevin Lee Moen

Pipestone County District Court File No. 59-PR-08-181

Kevin Lee Moen, Moose Lake, Minnesota (pro se appellant)

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, John D. Gross, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and James E. O'Neill, Pipestone County Attorney, Pipestone, Minnesota (for respondent Pipestone County Family Service Agency)

Considered and decided by Johnson, Chief Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.

SYLLABUS

1. If a person committed as a sexually dangerous person (SDP) brings a motion for relief from a commitment order pursuant to rule 60.02(e) of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure based on the alleged inadequacy of treatment in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP), without specifying the nature of the relief sought, the motion is barred by the exclusive transfer-or-discharge remedies of the Minnesota Commitment Act and the supreme court's opinion in In re Civil Commitment of Lonergan, 811 N.W.2d 635 (Minn. 2012).

2. If a person committed as an SDP brings a motion for relief from a commitment order pursuant to rule 60.02(e) of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure based on the alleged inadequacy of treatment in the MSOP, the motion does not state a viable claim for relief under the rule.

3. A person committed as an SDP does not have a statutory right to counsel under section 253B.07, subdivision 2c, of the Minnesota Statutes for purposes of pursuing a motion for relief from a commitment order pursuant to rule 60.02(e) of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure.

OPINION

JOHNSON, Chief Judge

In 2008, Kevin Lee Moen was civilly committed by the Pipestone County District Court as a sexually dangerous person (SDP). In 2013, Moen brought a motion for relief from the district court's commitment order pursuant to rule 60.02(e) of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure. The district court denied the motion. The district court also denied Moen's motion for appointment of counsel in connection with his rule 60.02(e) motion. We affirm.

FACTS

Moen is a 32-year-old man who is committed to the custody of the commissioner of human services. He was civilly committed after he was convicted of three counts of criminal sexual conduct. In June 2004, Moen pleaded guilty in the Pipestone County District Court to three offenses, based on three incidents in 2002 and 2003 involving three different children. The district court imposed concurrent sentences of 18 months, 27 months, and 33 months of imprisonment, but stayed the prison sentences. The district court placed Moen on probation and ordered him to serve six months in jail and fifteen years on supervised probation. In December 2006, the district court executed the prison sentences after finding that Moen had violated the terms of probation.

In May 2008, Pipestone County commenced this action by filing a petition for civil commitment, alleging that Moen is an SDP and a sexual psychopathic personality (SPP). The petition recited the factual background of Moen's three criminal offenses and also alleged that, between 1992 and 2003, Moen had sexually assaulted 16 other children. In October 2008, Moen entered into a stipulation in which he acknowledged that the district court likely would grant the petition, and he agreed to the filing of a commitment order pursuant to the SDP statute. In December 2008, the district court issued a commitment order in which it concluded that Moen is an SDP and committed him to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP).

In January 2013, Moen brought a motion for relief from the commitment order pursuant to rule 60.02(e) of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure. At the same time, Moen moved for the appointment of counsel to assist him with the rule 60.02(e) motion. In his rule 60.02(e) motion, Moen made allegations about the effectiveness of the MSOP treatment program, which appear to be based, at least in part, on a report of the Legislative Auditor. See generally, Minn. Office of Leg. Auditor, Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders (Mar. 2011), available at http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/ped/ pedrep/ccso.pdf. Moen alleged that the MSOP "no longer offers adequate treatment, " that he has not been offered adequate treatment to meet his needs, and that he "does not receive clear and useful treatment plans or treatment reviews, so he does not know how to advance through treatment." He also alleged that the MSOP treatment program violates both Minnesota and federal law.

The county submitted a response to the motion, and Moen submitted a reply. In March 2013, the district court issued an order denying the rule 60.02(e) motion. The district court also denied the motion for appointment of counsel. Moen appeals.

ISSUES

I. Did the district court err by denying Moen's motion for relief from the commitment order pursuant to Minn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(e)?

II. Did the district court err by denying Moen's motion for appointment of counsel for purposes ...


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