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People v. Hopkins

July 12, 2000

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
MAX HOPKINS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 98MR293 Honorable Donald M. Cadagin, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Steigmann

In October 1998, the State filed a petition pursuant to section 15 of the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (Act) (725 ILCS 207/15 (West 1998)) to have defendant, Max Hopkins, committed as a sexually violent person. In December 1998, the trial court conducted a hearing on the State's petition, granted it, and later ordered that defendant be committed to a secure facility. Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) the court's finding that he was a sexually violent person was against the manifest weight of the evidence; and (2) the court violated his constitutional right to equal protection by committing him to a secure facility pursuant to section 40 of the Act (725 ILCS 207/40 (West 1998)). We affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

In 1991, defendant pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual assault (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 38, par. 12-14(b)(1)) and the trial court sentenced him to 10 years in prison. He was scheduled for release on October 7, 1998. On October 6, 1998, the State filed its petition for defendant's commitment as a sexually violent person, alleging that defendant suffered from pedophilia, alcohol dependency, and antisocial personality disorder and that it was substantially probable that he would commit acts of sexual violence. The trial court ordered that defendant continue to be detained.

In December 1998, the trial court conducted a bench trial on the State's petition. Because the parties and attorneys are familiar with the evidence presented, we will provide only a brief summary.

The evidence showed that defendant's 1991 conviction resulted from an incident involving a 10-year-old girl. Defendant told the police that the incident occurred because the victim had been sexually aggressive toward him even though he repeatedly told her to stop. Defendant had also been convicted in Iowa for lascivious acts with a child.

In April 1996, defendant was conditionally released from prison under supervision. As conditions of his release, defendant agreed to participate in sex-offender counseling and maintain employment. Defendant was employed for only a short time and refused to participate in sex-offender counseling, claiming that he could not afford the cost of the sessions. In October 1997, defendant's supervised release was revoked because he had not complied with its conditions.

Two clinical psychologists, Drs. Agnes Jonas and Paul Heaton, interviewed defendant while he was in prison. During these interviews, defendant admitted the sexual contact that had formed the basis of his convictions but said that, in both instances, the victims had initiated the contact. Defendant did not consider himself to be culpable. He claimed that, in the incident leading to his Iowa conviction, the eight-year-old victim had initiated contact with him by sitting on his lap while dressed "scantily"--that is, wearing a nightgown. Defendant believed that the victim should have expected to be molested under those circumstances. Defendant denied having any sexual fantasies involving children.

Drs. Jonas and Heaton also reviewed defendant's file at the Department of Corrections and administered several tests, including an intelligence test, a personality test, and a test designed to measure psychopathic tendencies. Both psychologists concluded that defendant suffered from pedophilia, alcohol dependency, and antisocial personality disorder. They concluded that defendant's antisocial personality disorder predisposes him to commit crimes, and his alcohol dependency makes it likely that he will become intoxicated and act impulsively. Because defendant is a pedophile, Drs. Jones and Heaton concluded that it was substantially probable that he would commit acts of sexual violence toward children.

On this evidence, the trial court concluded that defendant was a sexually violent person and ordered a predisposition examination report be prepared pursuant to section 40(b)(1) of the Act (725 ILCS 207/40(b)(1) (West 1998)).

That report indicates that defendant did not receive any sexual offender counseling while in prison, during his supervised release, or after his commitment pursuant to these proceedings. In addition to the availability of treatment while defendant was on release, treatment had been offered to him at least twice during his initial incarceration and once during his detention in these proceedings.

Dr. Heaton, who prepared the report, investigated the availability of outpatient treatment for defendant. The only program available in Sangamon County was the one in which defendant had refused to participate during his period of supervised release. The program is available only to persons who voluntarily participate. Those who deny their sexual offenses may participate for only eight weeks and are dismissed from the program if they continue to deny their offenses. Heaton concluded that "the [s]exually [v]iolent [p]ersons [t]reatment [p]rogram, which is located within the Sheridan Correctional Center, provides the only treatment setting in the state *** that is adequate to meet [defendant's] numerous treatment needs."

The trial court ordered that defendant be placed in a secure setting pursuant to section 40(b)(2) of the Act (725 ILCS 207/40(b)(2) ...


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