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In re Commitment of Hardin

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

September 25, 2013

Tommy O. Hardin, Respondent-Appellant The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 07-MR-1685 Honorable Bonnie M. Wheaton, Judge, Presiding.

JUSTICE ZENOFF delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices McLaren and Hudson concurred in the judgment and opinion.



¶ 1 Following a bench trial, respondent, Tommy O. Hardin, was found to be a sexually violent person pursuant to the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (Act) (725 ILCS 207/1 et seq. (West 2010)), and he was committed to the custody of the Department of Human Services. Respondent appeals, arguing that (1) it was improper to admit testimony from his parole officer; (2) the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he is a sexually violent person; and (3) the trial court's denial of his request to make a statement in allocution before the court committed him was an abuse of discretion. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

¶ 2 On November 19, 2007, the State petitioned the court to have respondent declared a sexually violent person. Following a probable cause hearing, the trial court dismissed the petition, the State appealed, and this court reversed and remanded the cause for further proceedings. See In re Detention of Hardin, 391 Ill.App.3d 211, 216, 221 (2009). Our supreme court granted respondent leave to appeal and affirmed this court's judgment. See In re Detention of Hardin, 238 Ill.2d 33, 54 (2010).

¶ 3 On remand, the cause proceeded with a trial on the issue of whether respondent is a sexually violent person. At that hearing, Agent A.J. West testified that he is a parole officer with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and that he is assigned to supervise sex offenders. In this capacity, West began supervising respondent on March 25, 2008, as respondent was allowed to serve his term of mandatory supervised release (MSR) in Texas. According to the terms of respondent's MSR, which were detailed in documents that respondent signed, respondent could "[n]ot possess *** any photographs *** that depict sexually explicit images, " he could "[n]ot own, maintain, or operate computer equipment, " and he was to have "[n]o contact with any person 17 years of age or younger in person or by other means."

¶ 4 Three months later, West received information that respondent was using a social networking website to communicate with young women or teenagers. West immediately went to respondent's residence and asked to see respondent's computer, which respondent was allowed to use solely for the purposes of taking computer classes. On the computer, West found that respondent was apparently chatting with his daughter.[1] West also found approximately 25 pictures of young women and teenagers who were posed in sexually suggestive positions. Although none of the women or girls were completely naked, they were dressed in bikinis or skimpy undergarments, one was topless and covering her chest with her arms, and, in many of the pictures, the women or girls were reclining with their legs spread open for the camera or they were exposing their bare buttocks. Because of these violations of the terms of respondent's MSR, respondent was sent back to Illinois. Respondent never objected to West's testimony.

¶ 5 In addition to West's testimony, the State also presented the testimony of Dr. David Suire and Dr. John Arroyo, who are both certified experts in psychology. After examining various records and actuarial tools, both doctors determined that respondent suffered from two mental disorders, i.e., paraphilia not otherwise specified with a preference for nonconsenting teenage girls and a personality disorder not otherwise specified, and that these disorders created a high risk that respondent would commit sexually violent acts in the future.

¶ 6 Dr. Suire, who is a psychologist with the Department of Human Services, reviewed over 17 different documents in reaching the conclusion that respondent is a sexually violent person. Although Dr. Suire wished to interview respondent before preparing the report, respondent refused. Included in the materials that Dr. Suire did review were records from the Department of Corrections, respondent's criminal history, police reports, treatment records for respondent from the Department of Human Services, and information about respondent's MSR violation in Texas.

¶ 7 With regard to the facts underlying respondent's previous convictions of various sex offenses, Dr. Suire learned that respondent's victims were between 12 and 15 years old.[2] In order to assault his victims, respondent would use manipulation, threats, and alcohol. For example, respondent told one of his victims, who was a runaway, that he was a millionaire and that he could provide for her. This victim went with respondent, and, once she refused respondent's advances, respondent told the victim that his father was in the Mafia and that respondent could have the victim killed if she did not consent to having sex with him. On another occasion when respondent's victims, who were truant from school, refused to engage in sexual acts with him, respondent got the victims drunk and took them to a cornfield before forcing himself on them. When one of the victims refused to engage in various sexual acts with respondent, respondent told the victim that he had a black belt in karate and that he would kill her if she did not comply. Respondent committed these offenses, which happened on two different occasions, when he was on MSR for convictions of sex offenses. Dr. Suire found this, along with the fact that respondent violated the terms of his MSR in Texas, important, because it showed that respondent has been unable to successfully complete supervision in the community and is unwilling to avoid high-risk situations and abide by rules imposed upon him.

¶ 8 The testimony of Dr. Arroyo, who is a forensic as well as a clinical psychologist, was consistent with Dr. Suire's. Dr. Arroyo found, based on over 30 documents, including respondent's treatment records and criminal history, that respondent presented a substantial and continuing risk for sex offense recidivism. This conclusion was based on, among many other things, respondent's unwillingness to comply with the terms of MSR and complete sex offender treatment.

¶ 9 The trial court found respondent to be a sexually violent person. In doing so, the court stated: "When this case was first in front of me, it was on the probable cause hearing. The State presented a very poor witness. The respondent in turn had a superb attorney who made mincemeat of the [S]tate's witness's testimony, and I made a finding based on that testimony [that] there was no probable cause.

Today, we are here in a different setting. In contrast, the State has presented two witnesses, whom I find to be credible and whose testimony was not shaken, despite the superb cross-examination by [respondent's attorney]. I find both Dr. Suire and Dr. Arroyo's testimony to be credible. The State has presented certified copies of the convictions. There is no doubt that [respondent] has been convicted of not one but several instances of a sexually violent crime, so that element of this case has been more than satisfied.
*** I *** find the doctors' testimony with regard to diagnosis of [respondent] has been proved by the standard beyond a reasonable doubt. I will find that [respondent] suffers from two mental disorders, namely, paraphilia not otherwise specified with a preference for young teenage girls, and a personality disorder not otherwise ...

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