FORT EDWARD - Washington County will see its first civil confinement trial later this year after a Supreme Court justice found Thursday that there is probable cause that a Great Meadow Correctional Facility inmate is a "sex offender requiring civil management."
Justice David Krogmann ruled that Douglas P. Junco should be held pending a jury trial to determine whether he requires further "civil management," which could include confinement in a secure facility.
Junco served 15 years in prison for attempted rape and assault convictions dating back to 1992. He was to be released April 16, but when that day arrived, the state attorney general's office filed court papers seeking to have him monitored under the state's controversial civil confinement law for sex offenders.
Krogmann heard nearly six days of testimony last week and this week before ruling that there was probable cause Junco had a "mental abnormality." He pointed to a finding by a state psychiatrist that Junco, 39, suffers from "impulse control disorder NOS" and "antisocial personality disorder."
Krogmann, however, criticized the doctor's efforts, calling it "incredible" the doctor did not take notes during a one-hour interview of Junco. He also pointed out that Junco had been examined by a psychiatrist numerous times while in prison, and there had been no diagnosis of "impulse control disorder NOS" before the March examination where that finding was made.
"Although such challenges (to the doctor's conclusions) have been carefully considered by this court, they are not for the purposes of this probable cause determination sufficient to prevent a finding that there is probable cause to believe that the respondent is suffering from a mental abnormality," the judge wrote.
Krogmann scheduled a May 16 conference in Junco's case. The inmate was being held at Great Meadow as of Thursday morning, but was to be turned over to the custody of the state Office of Mental Health to be held in one of three secure facilities run by the agency in different parts of the state.
The trial must be held by July 3.
When it began, the hearing was the first in the state under the civil confinement statute, which took effect last month. But others were held and decided in Wyoming and Onondaga counties during Junco's hearing.
"Junco's was the sixth ruling, and so far there have been findings of probable cause in all of them," said Lee Park, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.
If a jury finds he requires civil management after the trial, Krogmann would determine how he should be "managed." He has a wealth of options ranging from outpatient mental health treatment to indefinite confinement in a state-run "civil management" facility.
Junco was in prison for the attempted rape and beating of a woman he met at a bar, an attack that was interrupted by two good Samaritans who chased him off. He was represented by two lawyers from the state Mental Hygiene Legal Services.