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In re Civil Commitment of Adolphson

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 19, 2013

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of: Merlin Darrell Adolphson.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Pope County District Court File No. 61-PX-93-000073

Merlin D. Adolphson, Moose Lake, Minnesota (pro se appellant)

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Noah Cashman, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota; and Neil Nelson, Pope County Attorney, Glenwood, Minnesota (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Rodenberg, Presiding Judge; Connolly, Judge; and Chutich, Judge.

CHUTICH, Judge

Appellant Merlin Darrell Adolphson challenges the district court's denial of his motion for relief from his civil commitment under Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02(e), arguing that the district court abused its discretion by denying him appointed counsel and an evidentiary hearing. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Adolphson's rule 60.02(e) motion, we affirm.

FACTS

Adolphson was civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) as a psychopathic personality (now known as a sexual psychopathic personality) in 1993. In February 2013, Adolphson filed a motion for relief under Minnesota Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02(e), arguing that "changed circumstances" made his commitment impermissible because MSOP does not provide adequate treatment. Adolphson's allegations are based largely on a March 2011 report of the Legislative Auditor. See generally Minn. Office of the Leg. Auditor, Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders (Mar. 2011), available at http://www.auditor.legt.state.mn.us/ped/pedrep/ccso.pdf. Adolphson requested an evidentiary hearing to determine if "changed circumstances" existed and also asked the district court to appoint counsel to represent him in bringing his motion.

The district court denied the motion, finding that Adolphson "provide[d] absolutely no evidence or information that he, on an individual basis, is being denied adequate treatment, " and concluding that Adolphson was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing. The district court also denied Adolphson's motion for a court-appointed attorney because his rule 60.02(e) motion was not a proceeding under the commitment act. Adolphson appealed.

DECISION

I. Motion under Minnesota Rule Civil Procedure 60.02(e)

Adolphson challenges the district court's denial of his motion for relief under Minnesota Rule Civil Procedure 60.02(e), which states:

On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party . . . from a final judgment[, ] . . . order, or proceeding and may order a new trial or grant such other ...

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