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In re Mangelsen

Supreme Court of North Dakota

February 13, 2014

In the Matter of Sandy Lee MANGELSEN. Haley L. Wamstad, Grand Forks County State's Attorney, Petitioner and Appellee
v.
Sandy Lee Mangelsen, Respondent and Appellant.

Page 9

Haley L. Wamstad, Assistant State's Attorney, Grand Forks, N.D., for petitioner and appellee.

Tyler J. Morrow, Grand Forks, N.D., for respondent and appellant.

KAPSNER, Justice.

[¶ 1] Sandy Mangelsen appeals from a district court order finding he is a sexually dangerous individual and committing him to the care, custody, and control of the Executive Director of the Department of Human Services. We affirm, concluding the district court did not err in finding the State established by clear and convincing evidence that Mangelsen is a sexually dangerous individual.

I

[¶ 2] Mangelsen's first sexual offense occurred in South Dakota in August 2005, when he was 18 years old. Mangelsen touched the breast of a 13-year-old girl over her clothes, and touched the thigh and held hands with a 14-year-old girl. As a result, Mangelsen was convicted of sexual contact with a child under the age of 16 and received a suspended sentence.

[¶ 3] Mangelsen's second sexual offense occurred in North Dakota in 2007, when he was 20 years old. Mangelsen kissed on the mouth and touched the buttock of a 14-year-old girl. Mangelsen was convicted of gross sexual imposition and sentenced to five years imprisonment with four years suspended. While incarcerated, Mangelsen successfully completed a low intensity sex offender treatment program.

Page 10

[¶ 4] After his release from prison on probation, Mangelsen was not to leave North Dakota or be in public areas where children congregated. In February 2010, Mangelsen was seen touching an adult female who looked younger than 18 at the public library in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. In April 2010, Mangelsen provided false information to police about his residence. He was charged with, and pled guilty to, failure to register as a sex offender and making a false report to law enforcement. In addition, his probation was revoked and he was resentenced to 120 months of incarceration, with 59 months suspended.

[¶ 5] Prior to Mangelsen's scheduled release from incarceration, the State filed a petition seeking to commit him as a sexually dangerous individual under N.D.C.C. ch. 25-03.3. A commitment hearing was held on January 4, 2013. The district court found that Mangelsen is a sexually dangerous individual under N.D.C.C. § 25-03.3-01(8) and ordered him committed to the care, custody, and control of the Executive Director of the Department of Human Services.

II

[¶ 6] Mangelsen contends on appeal that the State failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he is a sexually dangerous individual.

[¶ 7] Before a person can be civilly committed as a sexually dangerous individual under N.D.C.C. ch. 25-03.3, the State must establish four elements by clear and convincing evidence: (1) the individual has engaged in sexually predatory conduct; (2) the individual has a congenital or acquired condition that is manifested by a sexual disorder, a personality disorder, or other mental disorder or dysfunction; (3) the condition makes the individual likely to engage in further acts of sexually predatory conduct which constitute a danger to the physical or mental health or safety of others; and (4) the individual has serious difficulty controlling his behavior. In re Hehn, 2013 ND 191, ¶ 8, 838 N.W.2d 469; In re Whitetail, 2013 ND 143, ¶ 5, 835 N.W.2d 827; In re Voisine, 2010 ND 17, ¶ 9, 777 N.W.2d 908; N.D.C.C. § 25-03.3-01(8). We review civil commitments of sexually dangerous individuals under a modified clearly erroneous standard, and we will affirm the district court's order unless it is induced by an erroneous view of the law or we are firmly convinced that the order is not supported by clear and convincing evidence. In re Johnson, 2013 ND 146, ¶ 5, 835 N.W.2d 806.

[¶ 8] In reviewing the district court's order, we give great deference to the court's credibility determinations of expert witnesses and the weight to be given their testimony, because the trial court is the best credibility evaluator in cases of conflicting testimony. In re J.M., 2013 ND 11, ¶ 8, 826 N.W.2d 315. A claim that the district court improperly relied upon the opinion of one expert instead of another challenges the weight the evidence was assigned, not the sufficiency of the evidence. Whitetail, 2013 ND 143, ¶ 5, 835 N.W.2d 827; In re J.T.N., 2011 ND 231, ¶ 8, 807 N.W.2d 570. Because the evaluation of credibility where evidence is conflicting is solely a trial court function, this Court will not reweigh expert testimony nor second-guess the credibility determinations made by the trial court in ...


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