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LIVINGSTON COUNTY – A mysterious, rare civil confinement (Mental Hygiene Law Article 10) jury trial that is currently ongoing at the Livingston County courthouse in Judge Cohen’s court will ultimately decide the fate of a sex criminal who is soon to be released from prison, but the name of the offender and the nature of his case is sealed from the public.
A GeneseeSun.com reporter was present for some of the trial on Tuesday, but according to Livingston County Supreme Court Chief Clerk Jose Cruzado, the such trials and proceedings are closed to the public record.
“It is an Article 10 trial to determine whether a person is better fit to be released from prison to society or to a mental institution for the sake of their mental health and mental state,” said Chief Clerk Cruzado. “It is a civil matter, with some portions being more similar to a criminal trial. Identifying information in these cases are not part of the public record.”
According to the Mental Health Law (subparagraph (vii) of paragraph 9 of subdivision (c) of section 33.13, regarding confidentiality) identifying information about the case can only be released “to protect the public concerning a specific sex offender requiring civil management” or “to the attorney general, case review panel, or psychiatric examiners described in article ten of this chapter, when such persons or entities request such information in the exercise of their statutory functions, powers and duties.”
Civil confinement law is a recently hot-button section of law that determines whether a sex offender, once released from prison, is so mentally deviant that they are incapable of controlling their urges, meaning that they would present a danger to society if released.
As the offender is from a state correctional facility, there is no indication whether the offender is from the Genesee Valley region.
According to the County Clerk’s Office, these sealed civil cases and trials are rare in Livingston County, with only one other being done recently, in 2010, presided over by Judge Robert Wiggins.
PHOTO CAPTION: (Photo/Conrad Baker)