Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF DENT COUNTY. Honorable Brandi L. Baird, Associate Circuit Judge.
For Appellant: ERIKA RENEE ELIASON, Columbia, MO.
For Respondent: MARY HIGHLAND MOORE, Jefferson City, MO.
Before Sheffield, P.J., Lynch, J., and Burrell, J. MARY W. SHEFFIELD - CONCURRING OPINION AUTHOR.
Claude John Hasty (" Appellant" ) appeals the trial court's judgment committing him to secure confinement in the custody of the Department of Mental Health as a sexually violent predator. See § § 632.480 to 632.513. Appellant argues
the trial court abused its discretion when it sustained an objection during his cross-examination of the State's expert witness. Appellant has failed to show he was prejudiced by the alleged error, so we affirm the trial court's judgment.
Factual and Procedural Background
In 1999, Appellant was convicted of first-degree statutory sodomy and sentenced to 12 years incarceration. On January 5, 2012, the State filed a petition seeking to have Appellant civilly committed as a sexually violent predator. A jury trial was held on August 27 through 29, 2013.
Prior to trial, the State filed a motion in limine which sought to prohibit witnesses and attorneys from defining legal terms. The trial court granted the motion during the pretrial conference.
The State's case consisted primarily of the testimony of forensic psychologist Amy Swan (" Dr. Swan" ). The State retained Dr. Swan to evaluate Appellant to determine if he was a sexually violent predator. Dr. Swan diagnosed Appellant with pedophilia and a " personality disorder not otherwise specified with antisocial features." She noted Appellant had been charged with molesting six girls between the ages of four and 12. There were also reports regarding other victims, although those reports did not result in arrests or the filing of charges. Dr. Swan believed Appellant's pedophilia gave him difficulty controlling his behaviors because Appellant continued to commit these acts even when he knew he would go to prison for it. His unstable lifestyle contributed to his difficulty in controlling his behavior. Dr. Swan opined that Appellant was more likely than not to commit another sexually violent offense if not confined to a secure facility based on her clinical judgment and the Static-99R actuarial instrument. In discussing the basis for her opinion, Dr. Swan admitted Appellant scored zero on the Static-99R actuarial instrument. Nevertheless, she did not believe the numbers told the whole story because Appellant's other characteristics made him a statistical outlier.
During his cross-examination of Dr. Swan, Appellant's attorney questioned Dr. Swan regarding the meaning of Appellant's score on the Static-99R. She explained the Static-99R shows relative risk which is defined as the risk that Appellant would re-offend compared to the risk that the average offender would re-offend. Dr. Swan stated Appellant's score of zero was less than the score of the average offender. She further explained the score gave him a percentile ranking of 18.7. That ranking meant 10.3 percent of offenders " had the same risk, and 76.1 had higher risk." Based on those rankings, she stated Appellant's risk to be rearrested or reconvicted of a new sex offense " would be 15.8 percent at five years" and " 24.3 percent at 10 years." Dr. Swan further admitted that more recent research would have changed those numbers to 7.2 percent and 12.5 percent respectively.
After concluding the discussion of the Static-99R, Appellant's attorney asked Dr. Swan whether she believed " more likely than not" was equal to any chance of re-offending. She disagreed. In the middle of the next question, the State's attorney objected. The ...