X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In 2002, Curtis Adams was civilly committed as a sexually violent predator under Texas Health & Safety Code Chapter 841. All of the commitment requirements of �481.082, plus others, were imposed. Adams appealed the commitment, and the 9th Court of Appeals in Beaumont affirmed the commitment and the condition in 2003. Among the 97 civil commitment requirements that were explained to Adams, and that he acknowledged being briefed on, was a requirement that he not have sexual contact with another person without first telling that person that Adams was a sexually violent predator and signing a release allowing that person to have unfettered communication with Adams’ case worker. Another provision stated that Adams could not commit any new crimes. As another commitment requirement mandated that Adams live in Travis County, Adams began living in Burks Supervised Living Center in Austin. Nine months later, Adams was indicted for violating the terms of his commitments by intentionally and knowingly possessing and transferring marijuana; intentionally and knowingly damaging tangible property of more than $50 but less than $500; and intentionally and knowingly threatening John Harris, a Burks resident and employee. The indictment also alleged that Adams violated the no-sexual-contact requirement by touching a woman’s buttocks and letting her touch his penis, all without first getting a release. Adams did not move to quash the indictment. At a bench trial following Adams’ guilty plea, Adams’ first case worker, Lisa Worry, testified about how she went over the commitment requirements with Adams. She also testified that Adams told her on Feb. 19, 2003, that someone at Burks gave him marijuana, but that he had returned it to the same person without using it. Worry also told of Adams’ confession to her that the sexual contact referred to in the indictment occurred on a public bus and that nothing else happened. A psychologist and registered sex offender treatment provider testified that Adams told him the same thing about the marijuana possession and about the sexual contact. Harris testified that he had reported Adams for violating several house rules at Burks. Harris said that on March 23 or 24, after he caught Adams smoking, Adams said he did not like Harris and that if Harris would go upstairs with him, he would beat Harris up. Adams made other threats, all of which Harris reported. The next day, Harris testified, Adams lured Harris into the house day room, saying the two had unfinished business. Adams punched the wall and a wall clock fell. Harris reported the incident, and a supervisor observed the hole in the wall. The supervisor testified at Adams’ trial. She said the damage to the wall cost just over $68. Also, videotape from the day room showed the incident, and this tape was entered into evidence. Texas Department of Public Safety Special Crime Services employee Carlton Scott testified for Adams, saying Adams complied with Scott’s order to return to Burks one day when his electronic monitoring device was not working. He also testified how Adams generally cooperated when he was mistakenly released from the Travis County jail in August 2003. Scott acknowledged that he knew about the damage to the day room wall. Lila Smith, Adams’ second case worker, told her that the woman on the bus was a “little old lady” who kissed him, but that was it. She also said that Adams told her about punching the wall. Adams himself testified. He acknowledged signing the requirements form. He said someone handed him an envelope containing marijuana, but that he gave it back to the person without using it and he informed at least three people. Adams also testified that the woman on the bus was 43 and had surprised him when she touched him through his clothing. Adams admitted to having problems with Harris and that he tried to get transferred to avoid Harris. He said he punched the wall only after Harris started talking “noise” to him, and did so only out of frustration. The trial court ruled that Adams illegally possessed a usable amount of marijuana, but that he had not delivered the drug. The trial court found the woman’s touching of Adams’ penis illegal sexual contact. The trial court also ruled that Adams had threatened Harris and had damaged property as alleged. Adams challenges this ruling in 23 points of error. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court first rejects Adams’ contention that in order to committed an offense under �840.085, it has to be proven that he violated one of the commitment requirements set out in �841.082. The court finds that an offense has been committed under �840.085 by violating an additional term, as the trial court imposed � and had the authority to impose � here. The commitment order in this case gave Adams notice that he could be criminally prosecuted for violating a commitment requirement. The court acknowledges that the commitment order in this case was not “a model,” but, when read as a whole in a reasonable manner, it establishes compliance with the elements of the treatment plan as being within the commitment requirements properly imposed by the trial court under �841.082. The court finds the evidence was factually and legally sufficient to support the trial court’s finding that Adams intentionally and knowingly damaged property, which was a violation of the criminal mischief statute. There is little question that the evidence showed that Adams damaged the day-room wall, the court finds. The culpable mental state was also easily and reasonably inferred from the evidence. Though the criminal mischief finding by itself is an offense that would justify a violation of the commitment requirement not to commit a new crime, the court says it will also review the evidence supporting the trial court’s finding that he threatened Harris with bodily harm. The court again finds the evidence legally and factually sufficient. Having confirmed that the evidence does show that Adams committed these crimes, the court finds it unnecessary to see if Adams’ encounter with the woman on the bus constituted a violation of that commitment requirement. The court next addresses Adams’ argument that the trial court was not vested with subject matter jurisdiction; the charging instrument was not an indictment under Article I, �12 of the Texas Constitution, Adams contends. The court says the argument is without merit, noting that Adams does not say exactly why the instrument used in his case was not an indictment. The court finds that Adams’ “as applied” constitutional challenge is waived because he did not raise it at trial. Even if the argument had been timely waived, the court says the record is devoid of the specifics necessary to support Adams’ argument. Adams contends that Chapter 841 is punitive, but the court points out that the Texas Supreme Court and many other appeals court have all held that it is not. Furthermore, Adams tried the same argument when he was appealing his civil commitment to the 9th Court of Appeals and was rebuffed then. Neither the law nor the circumstances have changed to alter the law of the case. Adams’ argument is also an improper collateral attack on the Beaumont judgment. The court rejects Adams’ due process arguments, one because his argument does not comply with briefing rules on appeal, the other because she combines several arguments into one and the court refuses to address “the multifarious point.” The court addresses Adams’ argument that the trial court did not have jurisdiction over him because the underlying commitment order was invalid; the underlying order was invalid because there was no affirmative finding that Adams could not control his behavior. The court reviews several cases where such an affirmative finding was required. The court finds, however, that these cases say only that a lack-of-control determination must be made by a jury within its verdict, but not by a specific, independent finding. Finally, the court rejects Adams’ assertion that his Fifth Amendment rights were violated. Adams’ voluntarily testified and acknowledge most of the statements introduced by the state into evidence. OPINION:Onion, J.; Law, C.J., Puryear and Onion, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.