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In re Commitment of Graves

Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District, Beaumont

December 19, 2013

IN RE COMMITMENT OF JOHN ARTHUR GRAVES

Submitted on December 5, 2013

On Appeal from the 435th District Court Montgomery County, Texas Trial Cause No. 12-05-05201-CV

Before McKeithen, C.J., Kreger and Horton, JJ.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

STEVE McKEITHEN Chief Justice

The State of Texas filed a petition to civilly commit appellant John Arthur Graves as a sexually violent predator. See Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. §§ 841.001-.151 (West 2010 & Supp. 2013). A jury found that Graves is a sexually violent predator, and the trial court signed a final judgment and order of civil commitment. In two appellate issues, Graves challenges the trial court's admission of testimony concerning the multi-disciplinary team process and denial of Graves's motion to challenge the jury array and to quash the jury panel. We affirm the trial court's judgment and order of civil commitment.

ISSUE ONE

In his first issue, Graves complains of the trial court's admission of testimony, over his objection, from State's expert Dr. Lisa Clayton concerning the multi-disciplinary team process. During the State's redirect examination of Clayton, the following exchange occurred:

Q. . . . Is there a filtering process that occurs before you ever see or come in contact with any of these cases?
[Graves's counsel]: Objection, relevance, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Overruled.
A. Yes. There's . . . a . . . multidisciplinary task force team that first there's [sic] an evaluation done by a treatment provider, a series of questions, testing. Then the committee looks at it and then it's referred to a psychologist who does another evaluation. And if . . . all those things are positive or think the person has a behavioral abnormality, then it gets referred to me.

Graves complains of the admission of this testimony. According to Graves, the testimony was harmful because it confirmed Dr. Clayton's opinion in the jury's "collective mind[.]"

However, during direct examination, the State had asked Clayton whether she reviewed other experts' diagnoses of Graves, and Clayton testified:

[Dr. Woodrick] is a psychologist that evaluated Mr. Graves in April 2012. . . . His role is, I guess, when . . . offenders are flagged to possibly have a behavioral abnormality, . . . a psychologist is hired by, I guess, the TDCJ, I think, and they do an evaluation to see if -- they're kind of the first gate into whether or not this person has a behavioral abnormality. And if the psychologist thinks they do, then they're sent on further for . . . the committee and this procedure. And then ...

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