Matter of State of New York v. Floyd Y.
Justice Rosalyn Richter
Respondent was convicted of sexual abuse and endangering a child's welfare. He was confined after sentence, pending civil commitment under Mental Hygiene Law Article 10. In 2010, Manhattan Supreme Court ordered his commitment after a jury found him a dangerous sex offender suffering from a "mental abnormality." Affirming, the First Department rejected respondent's challenge to admission of alleged hearsay evidence underpinning expert Mortiere's opinion that respondent suffered a mental abnormality predisposing him to sex offenses. Article 10 requires an expert to review the very material Mortiere considered in evaluating respondent and reaching her prognosis. Further, the information Mortiere relied on included documents establishing the reliability of the out-of-court material. The trial court's allowance of Mortiere's testimony about two accusations against respondent was harmless error. The jury was informed that neither accusation resulted in charges or a conviction. Moreover, the jury was aware that such testimony was admitted only for the limited purpose of evaluating her expert findings and understanding the basis of their conclusions, but were not to be considered as establishing the truth of those accusations.