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P.O. Box 251551
Woodbury, Minnesota 55125-6551
   

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COMMITMENT | CIVIL PROCEEDURE - federal deportation order doesn't strip MN court of jurisdiction to COMMITMENT | civilly commit

STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
A07-671
In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of:
Hayden Michael Richards.
Filed September 4, 2007
Affirmed
Willis, Judge
Ramsey County District Court
File No. 62-MH-PR-06-84
David Essling, 1217 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for appellant Hayden
Michael Richards)
Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County Attorney, Melinda S. Elledge, Assistant County
Attorney, 50 West Kellogg Boulevard, Suite 560, St. Paul, MN 55102; and Margaret G.
Samec, P.O. Box 318, Hugo, MN 55038 (for respondent Ramsey County)
Considered and decided by Hudson, Presiding Judge; Lansing, Judge; and Willis,
Judge.
S Y L L A B U S
The fact that a person is subject to a federal deportation order does not deprive a
Minnesota district court of jurisdiction to civilly commit that person under Minnesota
Statutes 253B.185, subd. 1 (2006).
O P I N I O N
WILLIS, Judge
Appellant challenges his civil commitment as a sexually dangerous person and a
sexual-psychopathic personality, arguing that the fact that he is subject to a federal
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deportation order both deprives the state court of jurisdiction and makes him an
improper candidate for civil commitment. We affirm.
FACTS
On August 3, 2006, the district court committed appellant Hayden Michael
Richards to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) as a sexual-psychopathic
personality (SPP) and a sexually dangerous person (SDP). And after a 60-day-review
hearing, the district court ordered that Richards be indeterminately committed to MSOP.
Richards is a citizen of Trinidad and has been ordered deported by the U.S. Department
of Immigration and Homeland Security (DIHS).
Richards does not challenge on appeal the district courts determination that he is
an SPP and an SDP under the civil-commitment statute, Minn. Stat. ch. 253B (2006).
That determination was based on the district courts findings that between November
1995 and December 1996, Richards attacked and raped two women and attempted to rape
two others.
On February 3, 2006, while Richards was incarcerated, respondent Ramsey
County filed a petition for his civil commitment. Shortly thereafter, he was released from
prison and taken into custody pending a determination of the commitment petition. The
district court held an initial commitment hearing and ordered that Richards be committed.
And after a 60-day-review hearing, the district court ordered that Richards be
indeterminately committed. Richards appeals.
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ISSUES
I. Does a deportation order by the U.S. Department of Immigration and
Homeland Security deprive a state court of jurisdiction in a civil-commitment
proceeding?
II. Is a person who is subject to a federal deportation order unsuitable for civil
commitment?
ANALYSIS
On appeal, Richards does not challenge the district courts conclusion that he
meets the statutory requirements for commitment as an SDP and an SPP. See Minn. Stat.
253B.02, subds. 18b, 18c (2006) (defining sexual psychopathic personality and
sexually dangerous person). Instead, he argues that the fact that he is subject to a
deportation order both deprives the state court of jurisdiction to civilly commit him and
makes him an improper candidate for civil commitment. Richardss arguments raise
questions of law, which this court reviews de novo. In re Civil Commitment of Stone,
711 N.W.2d 831, 836 (Minn. App. 2006), review denied (Minn. June 20, 2006).
In its indeterminate-commitment order, the district court noted:
The United States Department of Immigration and
Homeland Security has issued an order for [Richardss]
deportation and has placed a detainer on him at the MSOP.
While [Richards] wishes to be deported rather than be civilly
committed, this court has no jurisdiction over [Richardss]
immigration status or deportation.
. . . .
While the Department of Immigration and Homeland
Security maintains its detainer on [Richards], this court lacks
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any jurisdiction with regard to [Richardss] immigration
status or deportation. [Richardss] immigration status does
not affect or suspend enforcement of the civil commitment
statutes. In addition, [Richardss] immigration status is not
relevant to the courts conclusion that he meets the statutory
requirements to be considered as a Sexual Psychopathic
Personality and Sexually Dangerous Person under Minn. Stat.
253B.02, Subd. 18b and 18c.
I.
Richards argues that the district courts jurisdiction is preempted by the
deportation proceeding. Richards relies on In re Welfare of C.M.K., 552 N.W.2d 768
(Minn. App. 1996), which he asserts holds that a federal deportation proceeding
preempts state court jurisdiction in a state juvenile court proceeding. He adds that
[t]here is no discernible reason for distinguishing a state juvenile proceeding from a
state court civil commitment proceeding with regard to the preemption issue.
The county accurately distinguishes the facts of C.M.K. from those here. In
C.M.K., this court held that the state juvenile court correctly determined that it lacked
jurisdiction to grant leave to file a CHIPS petition, because federal immigration
proceedings preempted state court proceedings where the sole basis for the CHIPS
petition was the childs fear of deportation and the circumstances awaiting the child in his
country of origin. 552 N.W.2d at 771. C.M.K. is based on this courts determination
that the state CHIPS proceeding would directly conflict with the deportation proceeding.
Id. Here, the county argues, Richardss civil commitment does not prevent enforcement
of his order of deportation, so there is no direct conflict. Richards asserts that his
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indefinite commitment directly conflicts with his deportation to Trinidad. We agree with
the county. DIHS may deport Richards at any time, regardless of his commitment.
Richards further argues that because [t]here is no general grant of discretion in
the federal law whereby Homeland Security can avoid the mandates of 8 U.S.C. 1231
(2000), which requires removal within 90 days of the deportation order with some
limited exceptions not applicable here, the departments apparent deferral of his removal
to Trinidad does not confer jurisdiction on the state district court. Rather, Richards
argues, the U.S. Attorney General must comply with section 1231 and deport him. The
county replies that although DIHS may deport Richards at any time while he is civilly
committed, neither Appellant, Respondent, nor the state court has the authority to make
[DIHS] execute the deportation order. The county is correct.
Further, Reno v. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Comm., 525 U.S. 471, 119 S.
Ct. 936 (1999), states that at any stage of a deportation proceeding, the Executive has
discretion to abandon the endeavor . . . for humanitarian reasons or simply for its own
convenience. Id. at 483-84, 119 S. Ct. at 943. Richards cites several cases for the
proposition that federal courts have required the Attorney General to comply with the
mandates of the statute and remove a person against whom a deportation order has been
issued within 90 days after the order. But in all of the cases cited, the DIHS (or its
equivalentthe INS, for example) initiated deportation proceedings and then held the
petitioner in federal custody or in prison in post-removal-period detention for more than
90 days. See Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678, 682, 121 S. Ct. 2491, 2495 (2001); Thai
v. Ashcroft, 366 F.3d 790, 792-93 (9th Cir. 2004); Tran v. Gonzales, 411 F. Supp. 2d 658,
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661 (W.D. La. 2006). Here, DIHS deferred the deportation proceeding and allowed
Richards to remain civilly committed, not imprisoned, which does not violate the 90-day
limit on post-removal-period detention imposed by 8 U.S.C. 1231.
Even if DIHS is required to deport Richards, which under Reno, it perhaps is not
required to do, neither the district court nor this court is able to compel that action. And
because Richardss civil commitment does not conflict with any enforcement of the
deportation order that DIHS elects to initiate, there is no conflict with federal law. The
district court therefore has jurisdiction to civilly commit Richards under state law.
II.
Richardss second argument is that even if the deportation order does not deprive
the state court of jurisdiction here, he is not a proper candidate for civil commitment.
Richards claims that the goal of the civil-commitment statutes is to provide treatment
followed by eventual release into the community and argues that because he cannot
participate in the transition phase or be eventually released to the community (other than
Trinidad) because of his deportee status, his civil commitment is improper. As we noted
earlier, Richards does not challenge on appeal the finding that he is an SDP and an SPP
that is, that he meets the statutory criteria for commitment under the civil-commitment
statute. See Minn. Stat. 253B.02, subds. 18b, 18c. In fact, he has offered to enter in to
a stay of commitment providing for his commitment if, for some unforeseeable reason, he
is not deported or returns to the U.S. after deportation.
The county argues that Richardss potential deportation has absolutely no effect
on the legal elements for civil commitment and that because Richards undisputedly
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meets the statutory criteria and failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that
there is an appropriate, less-restrictive treatment program available to him, the district
court was mandated by statute to commit him.
The county is correct that Minn. Stat. 253B.185, subd. 1 (2006), provides that
the district court shall commit an individual when the statutory requirements are met
and when the individual fails to establish that a less-restrictive treatment option meets his
needs and the needs of the community. Unless and until Richards is deportedan action
that neither the district court nor this court is able to compelthe state must continue to
address his need for treatment. And contrary to Richardss argument, until he is
deported, he will be able potentially to participate in the transition phase and be
eventually released to the community.
D E C I S I O N
A federal deportation order does not deprive the district court of jurisdiction to
civilly commit Richards under Minn. Stat. 253B.185. And the fact that Richards may
be deported by the Department of Immigration and Homeland Security in the future does
not make him an improper candidate for civil commitment.
Affirmed.
 

 
 
 

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