To Be Cont…
MHLS rejects the definition of “probable cause” that has been equated with “reasonable cause.” Where, as here, there is significant information and data for the court to consider, including the testimony of mental health professionals based on observation and test results. MHLS asserts that a “more probable than not” standard should apply.
In contrast, the State urges use of less stringency, relying on State of New York v Pedraza wherein in the context of a Mental Hygiene Law article 10 probable cause proceeding, the court adopted the standard applicable at a preliminary hearing, namely, whether there exists reasonable cause to believe explaining that all the court is inquiring into at this early stage is whether there exists sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
The “reasonable cause” standard must be applied in assessing probable cause here. It is clear from the statutory scheme that when the legislature intended for a heightened standard of proof, it explicitly prescribed its applicability. The purpose of an article 10 probable cause hearing, moreover, is simply to ensure that there is a basis for holding the respondent for trial, at which time a heightened standard of inquiry will apply. It would not make sense at this preliminary stage to impose a high standard of proof similar to the one that will ultimately be used by the finder of fact after presentation of all of the criminal evidence.
Because the State has established that there is reasonable cause to believe (1) that O.V. suffers from a mental abnormality, and (2) that he is sufficiently dangerous to require confinement and lesser conditions of supervision will not suffice to protect the public during the pendency of the proceedings, probable cause has been established and O.V. will be held for trial.
The court finds that the State presented substantially unrefuted evidence-Dr. J’s testimony-that O.V., a sex offender, suffers from paraphilia. Dr. J further concluded that O.V. manifests polysubstance dependence and antisocial personality traits, possessing seven of the seven criteria for antisocial personality disorder. Based on the evidence, there is reasonable cause to believe that O.V. suffers from a congenital or acquired disorder that affects his emotional, cognitive or volitional capacity. No gun crime was charged.
Additionally, the State has established that there is reasonable cause to believe that O.V. is sufficiently dangerous to require confinement and that lesser conditions of supervision will not suffice to protect the public during the pendency of the proceedings. Based on either his score of seven or his score of nine on the Static 99, Dr. J opined that O.V. clearly falls into the category of “high risk” and “does pose a danger to society.” Dr. J testified that O.V. poses a risk of repeating the dangerous actions of his past.
Based on this evidence, in the interests of protection of the public, O.V. must be confined pending a trial. The court observes that releasing O.V. now would undermine the whole purpose underlying Mental Hygiene Law article 10.
Accordingly, the court orders that there is probable cause to believe that O.V. is a sex offender requiring civil management and that he shall not be released pending his trial.