In the Interest of Danny Robert Nelson Lonnie Olson, State's Attorney, Petitioner and Appellee
Danny Robert Nelson, Respondent and Appellant
from the District Court of Ramsey County, Northeast Judicial
District, the Honorable Donovan John Foughty, Judge.
Olson, State's Attorney, petitioner and appellee.
D. Dusek, for respondent and appellant.
1] Danny Nelson appeals from a district court order civilly
committing him as a sexually dangerous individual. We
conclude the district court's findings are inadequate to
permit appellate review. While retaining jurisdiction under
N.D.R.App.P. 35(a)(3), we remand with instructions that,
within thirty days from the filing of this opinion, the
district court make specific findings of fact on whether
Nelson is likely to engage in further acts of sexually
predatory conduct and whether Nelson has a present serious
difficulty controlling behavior.
2] In 2009, Nelson was convicted of continuous sexual abuse
of a child. The underlying conduct for the conviction
consisted of Nelson having repeated sexual contact and
intercourse with his step-daughter between the time she was
nine or ten years old until she was roughly fourteen or
fifteen years old. After his conviction for continuous sexual
abuse of a child, Nelson was sentenced to ten years in prison
with three years suspended. While in prison, Nelson completed
sex offender programming. Specifically, Nelson completed a
low-intensity sex offender program in 2010 and a
high-intensity sex offender program in 2014.
3] The State petitioned the district court to civilly commit
Nelson as a sexually dangerous individual on December 2,
2014. The district court held a preliminary hearing on the
State's petition on February 6, 2015. On February 10,
2015, the district court found probable cause to commit and
ordered Nelson transported to the State Hospital for
evaluation and creation of a report. Nelson was evaluated by
both the State's expert, Dr. Krance, and Dr. Riedel, an
independent expert. Both doctors submitted reports of their
evaluations to the district court. The commitment hearing was
continued twice before the district court held the hearing on
January 6, 2016. Both experts and Nelson testified at the
hearing. Dr. Krance testified she diagnosed Nelson with
"Unspecified Paraphilic Disorder, Other Specified
Personality Disorder with Antisocial Personality and
Narcissistic Traits." Dr. Krance also noted Nelson had
"Alcohol Use Disorder." Dr. Krance testified she
believed Nelson was a sexually dangerous individual. Dr.
Riedel testified he did not believe Nelson was likely to
engage in further acts of sexually predatory conduct. Dr.
Riedel also testified Nelson has "reasonable
control" over his behavior and does not meet the
requirement of serious difficulty controlling behavior.
4] At the close of the commitment hearing, the district court
asked the parties to submit written closing arguments. After
both parties submitted their written closing arguments, the
district court entered an order on March 8, 2016 finding
Nelson was a sexually dangerous individual and ordering
Nelson committed to the State Hospital. Nelson filed a notice
of appeal on March 28, 2016.
5] On appeal, Nelson argues his substantive due process
rights have been violated because he was committed after he
already completed a sex offender treatment program while
incarcerated. Nelson also argues the State failed to prove he
is a sexually dangerous individual. Alternatively, Nelson
argues the district court failed to specifically state the
facts on which it relied to determine Nelson meets the
definition of a sexually dangerous individual.
6] Nelson contends his right to substantive due process under
the Fourteenth Amendment was violated because he was civilly
committed despite already completing sex offender treatment
programs while incarcerated. We reject Nelson's argument.
Civil commitment after completion of treatment programs while
incarcerated does not violate Nelson's due process rights
as long as the State has proven the statutory and
constitutional requirements by clear and convincing evidence.
Whether an individual received sex offender treatment while
incarcerated is only one factor of many which may be
considered in making a determination of whether someone is a
sexually dangerous ...