Appellate Division, Fourth Department – Dangerous Sex Offender – Nonjury Trial – Hearsay Evidence
State of New York v. Parrott
Appealed from Supreme Court, Oswego County
Background: The respondent appealed from an order pursuant to the Mental Hygiene Law article 10 finding him to be a dangerous sex offender and committing him to a secure treatment facility. He argued that the court erred in admitting hearsay testimony regarding victim statements about offenses for which he was not charged.
Ruling: The Appellate Division affirmed. The court held that, while the court did err in admitting some hearsay evidence, in a non-jury trial it is presumed that the court is able to distinguish between admissible evidence and inadmissible evidence. Moreover, there was no reasonable possibility that, had the testimony been excluded, the court would have reached a different determination. Further, the Appellate Division found that the testimony of two psychologists was properly admitted. They opined that the respondent suffers from pedophilia, antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy. As a result of those mental abnormalities, he has serious difficulty controlling his predisposition to sexually offend against children and such confinement is necessary.
Mark C. Davison for the respondent-appellant; Allyson B. Levine of the New York State Office of the Attorney General for the petitioner-respondent