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Doyle v. Schmitt

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

October 20, 2017

WILLIAM E. DOYLE, Petitioner,
DAVID SCHMITT, Respondent.



         This action is before the court upon the petition of Missouri state prisoner William E. Doyle for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The parties have consented to the exercise of plenary authority by the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons set forth below, the petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner Doyle is confined at the Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center in the Sexual Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services Unit (SORTS) in Farmington, Missouri. Petitioner pled guilty in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County to statutory rape in the first degree on October 16, 2001, and on that day was sentenced to 12 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. See State of Missouri v. William E. Doyle, No. 23 CR 301-1084 (Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Missouri, October 16, 2001); On April 8, 2002, the Circuit Court sustained the state's motion to dismiss petitioner's motion for post-conviction relief. See William E. Doyle v. State of Missouri, No. 23 CV 302-0385 (Circuit Court of Jefferson County, April 8, 2002); casenet/cases/

         On June 17, 2011, the state of Missouri filed a petition for the civil confinement of petitioner Doyle under Revised Statute of Missouri §§ 632.480-632.513 (regarding civil commitment of a sexually violent predator (SVP)). (Doc. 12-2 at 14-26). On July 14, 2011, following a hearing, the Probate Division of the Circuit Court found probable cause to believe petitioner was an SVP under § 632.480(5). (Doc. 12-2 at 7).

         On March 13, 2013, after a trial in the Probate Division of the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, a jury unanimously found by clear and convincing evidence that petitioner was an SVP, and the Circuit Court thereupon ordered him committed to the custody of the Director of the Department of Mental Health for control, care, and treatment "until such time as [petitioner's] mental abnormality has so changed that he is safe to be at large." (Doc. 12-2 at 198). On June 17, 2013, the Circuit Court denied petitioner's motion for judgment notwithstanding the judgment of the jury. (Id. at 235).

         On direct appeal, petitioner argued that the Circuit Court erred: (1) by denying his motion to prohibit the state from hiring a private psychiatrist or psychologist to testify at his trial; (2) by committing him to indefinite, secure confinement in the custody of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, because the evidence was insufficient to sustain the state's burden of proof that he was likely to engage in predatory sexual violence if not confined and that he had a mental abnormality, both grounds in part in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. (Doc. 12-3 at 20-23).

         The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the jury's verdict and the commitment order. (Doc. 12-5 at 1-14); In the Matter of the Care and Treatment of William Doyle, 428 S.W.3d 755, 756 (Mo.Ct.App. 2014) (In re Doyle). In its opinion, the appellate court described the facts, viewed in the light most favorable to the jury verdict, as follows:

Appellant was born in 1974. His parents divorced when he was young, and his mother's boyfriend sexually abused him. He also had sexual interactions with babysitters when he was five years old.
In 1991, Appellant sexually molested his half-sister, Betty, who was six years old at the time. An older sister came into the room and saw Appellant naked from the waist down and Betty with very little clothing.
During an investigation following this, Betty reported several incidents of Appellant molesting her, which included him touching her, lying on top of her, asking her to touch his penis, touching her anus with his penis, and ejaculating. The day Appellant's older sister walked in and saw them, Appellant continued molesting Betty after she left. He would promise Betty that he would to take her to McDonald's if she touched his penis, and he threatened to beat her up if she told anyone.
Appellant pled guilty to sexual abuse in the first degree for the molestation of Betty. He received a suspended imposition of sentence, five years of probation, and he was required to participate in sex offender treatment. He participated to some extent in this treatment and had probation extended because of an unrelated arrest. While on probation, he was 18 years old and was living with a 15-year-old girl whom he impregnated and had a child. Appellant completed probation in June 1997.
Appellant was investigated again in 2000 for allegations of sexual abuse against an eight-year-old girl, Paige. Appellant was living with his girlfriend at the time, and his girlfriend was Paige's babysitter. One day, Paige's mother came to drop her off with Appellant's girlfriend, who was not home. Paige did not want to go in the house with only Appellant home, and she eventually admitted to her mother that it was because Appellant had touched her vaginal area. In a forensic interview conducted by the Division of Family Services (DFS) in October of 2000, Paige reported that Appellant had touched her several times since she was six years old. On October 27, 2000, Appellant denied any sexual contact with Paige in his interview with DFS. DFS eventually made a finding of probable cause during its investigation. The State of Missouri obtained an arrest warrant in 2001 regarding the incidents with Paige.
However, at that time Appellant was in prison for a separate sexual abuse case. In November of 2000, while the investigation regarding Paige was still open, Appellant was found to have engaged in sexual activity with another child, Audrey, who was 13 years old. Audrey was Appellant's father's wife's niece, and they met at a family gathering. Appellant was 26 years old at the time. They had sexual intercourse twice that day and continued having sexual intercourse several times over the next month. Audrey's mother discovered their sexual activity by listening to a telephone conversation Audrey had with Appellant. Appellant was convicted of statutory rape in both St. Louis County and Jefferson County for having sexual intercourse with Audrey. He was sentenced to 10 years in St. Louis County and 12 in Jefferson County, to be served concurrently in the Missouri Department of Corrections.
Appellant was in prison from 2001 through 2009, during which he completed the Missouri Sex Offender Program (MOSOP). He received one sexual misconduct violation during that time for groping the breast of a female visitor and allowing her to touch his groin. Appellant was released on parole in 2009. He committed several rule violations and eventually his parole was revoked and he returned to prison. His rule violations included a delay in beginning sex offender treatment, failing to attend two assigned therapy sessions, having cell phone numbers and email addresses that he did not disclose to his parole agent, and having unauthorized social media accounts. Appellant was also evasive in his answers during treatment while on parole, and he had several relationships with women that he did not disclose during that time.
Four experts testified regarding Appellant's status as an SVP. Dr. Kimberly Weitl, a clinical psychologist employed by the State of Missouri in MOSOP, had screened Appellant's records in 2009 when he was released on parole. At that time, she considered Appellant to have a sexual disorder and a high risk of reoffending. However, she did not find a mental abnormality at the time, and Appellant was released on parole because he had completed MOSOP, which typically mitigates the risk of reoffending.
Dr. Weitl had originally diagnosed Appellant with paraphilia, a general category of deviant sexual behavior. However, she changed this diagnosis to pedophilia when she learned that Appellant's first victim was younger than he had reported and the abuse went on for a longer period of time.2 [Footnote 2: Pedophilia requires a finding that the abuse went on for at least six months.] She found that he had not integrated the principles he had learned in treatment. In addition to independently considering Appellant's risk factors including his specific behavior toward the victims and his actions going through treatment, Dr. Weitl used two diagnostic tools in evaluating Appellant the second time, the Static-99 and the Minnesota Sex Offender Screening Tool Revised (MnSOST). She scored a three or four on the Static-99, and a 14 on the MnSOST; the 14 MnSOST score is in a subcategory of high risk for reoffending. Dr. Weitl testified she believed Appellant was more likely than not to reengage in predatory acts of sexual violence if not confined to a secure facility.
The State also sought a second opinion from Dr. Angeline Stanislaus, a forensic psychiatrist. Dr. Stanislaus reviewed all reports and records related to Appellant, but Appellant did not consent to an interview with her. Dr. Stanislaus diagnosed Appellant with pedophilia. She based this in part on the facts showing he molested three children each over a period of time, and she found that several of his actions related to the abuse of each victim showed he has serious difficulty controlling his behavior and sexual urges. Dr. Stanislaus also assessed Appellant's risk for reoffending, which she based in part on actuarial tools. She used the Static-99, as well as its revised version, the Static-99R. She gave Appellant a score of three on both instruments, which is in the moderate low risk category. Dr. Stanislaus also evaluated Appellant's dynamic risk factors, which are individualized factors that can be identified in particular offenders. She found several risk factors present in Appellant, including deviate sexual interest, sexual preference for children, emotional identification with children, offense-supportive attitude, sexual preoccupation, and impulsivity. She concluded in this light that he was more likely than not to reoffend if not confined to a secure facility.
Appellant called Dr. Jeffrey Kline to testify, a forensic psychologist employed by the Department, who also evaluated Appellant. Dr. Kline reviewed Appellant's records but did not interview Appellant. He concluded Appellant did not have a mental abnormality as required under the definition of an SVP. Dr. Kline opined that Appellant had adult antisocial behavior. He said Appellant may have an antisocial personality disorder, but there was not enough information to prove it. Dr. Kline also considered the diagnosis of pedophilia, but he concluded there was not enough evidence to confirm Appellant was in fact sexually attracted to children, or that his behavior was driven by sexual urges or fantasies toward children. Dr. Kline testified that there are many reasons a person can engage in sexual behavior with children, and they are not necessarily due to pedophilia. Dr. Kline gave Appellant a score of four on the Static- 99R, which is in the moderately high category of risk. Dr. Kline concluded that Appellant did not suffer from a mental abnormality that would make it difficult for him to control his behavior. Also, Dr. Kline saw no evidence that he reoffended while on parole, though he acknowledged the presence of some risk factors such as unstable employment history. Dr. Kline concluded he did not believe that Appellant was more likely than not to reoffend if not confined to a secure facility.
Dr. Luis Rosell, a clinical and forensic psychologist, was the final expert who testified on Appellant's behalf concerning his status as an SVP. He reviewed the records of Drs. Weitl, Stanislaus, and Kline. He also met with Appellant. Dr. Rosell found it noteworthy that when Appellant was released on parole, the State did not seek to have him committed as an SVP, and Appellant's parole was not revoked because of any evidence that he was interested in prepubescent children. Dr. Rosell also did not find that Appellant had pedophilia, and he agreed with Dr. Kline that there are many other reasons why people may commit sex offenses against children. Dr. Rosell diagnosed Appellant with adult antisocial behavior. Dr. Rosell also used the Static-99R to assess Appellant's risk of reoffending. He gave Appellant a score of three if he had lived with a lover for over two years, and a four if that ...

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