Appeal from the 263rd District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 889968-Z
Brett Busby Justice.
State filed a civil petition to commit appellant Bobby Lee
Harris for involuntary treatment and supervision as a
sexually violent predator. Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann.
§§ 841.001-.151 (West 2017). The jury found that
appellant is a sexually violent predator, and the trial court
rendered a final judgment and an order of civil commitment.
Appellant appeals, raising three issues. In his first and
second issues, appellant argues the evidence at trial was
legally and factually insufficient because there was little,
if any, evidence that his future acts of sexual violence
would be predatory. We conclude the evidence is legally and
factually sufficient to support the jury's finding that
appellant is predisposed to commit a sexually violent offense
such that he becomes a menace to another, which means the
evidence is also sufficient that appellant is likely to
engage in a predatory act. In his third issue, appellant
argues a trial court cannot grant a partial directed verdict
on the element that he is a repeat sexually violent offender
because there is a conflict between the Texas Rules of Civil
Procedure, which provide for directed verdicts, and the
Sexually Violent Predators Act, which provides that the jury
determines whether the person is a sexually violent predator
beyond a reasonable doubt. We conclude that there is no
conflict and a trial court may render a partial directed
verdict on the element of whether the defendant is a repeat
sexually violent offender. We therefore affirm the judgment.
The Texas Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators
1999, the Legislature enacted the Civil Commitment of
Sexually Violent Predators Act (SVP Act), which provides for
the civil commitment of sexually violent predators based on
legislative findings that "a small but extremely
dangerous group of sexually violent predators exists and that
those predators have a behavioral abnormality that is not
amenable to traditional mental illness treatment modalities
and that makes the predators likely to engage in repeated
predatory acts of sexual violence." Tex. Health &
Safety Code Ann. § 841.001. The Legislature found it was
in the interest of the State to provide a civil commitment
procedure for the long-term supervision and treatment of
sexually violent predators. Id.
the SVP Act, a person is a sexually violent predator (SVP) if
the person "(1) is a repeat sexually violent offender;
and (2) suffers from a behavioral abnormality that makes the
person likely to engage in a predatory act of sexual
violence." Id. § 841.003(a). Before the
State files suit, a person must be administratively
determined to be a sexually violent predator. Id.
§§ 841.021-.023; In re Commitment of
Bohannan, 388 S.W.3d 296, 298 (Tex. 2012). Once the
administrative determination is made, notice is given to an
attorney representing the State. See id.
June 17, 2015, an attorney representing the State may file
the civil-commitment proceeding in the court of conviction
for the person's most recent sexually violent offense.
Tex. Health & Safety Code § 841.041(a). Previously,
all SVP cases were filed in Montgomery County, and judgments
of civil commitment were appealed to the Beaumont Court of
Appeals. See Bohannan, 388 S.W.3d at 299. This is
the among the first SVP decisions by our Court in an appeal
not heard by transfer from the Beaumont Court of Appeals.
September 2015, the State filed suit against appellant in
Harris County, seeking a determination that appellant is a
sexually violent predator under the SVP Act and subject to
civil commitment. The State's expert, Dr. Darrell Turner,
evaluated appellant and testified it was his opinion that
appellant suffers from a behavioral abnormality making him
likely to engage in a predatory act of sexual violence. Dr.
Turner testified that appellant has four convictions for
aggravated sexual assault of a ten-year-old child. Appellant
told Dr. Turner that he believed the ten-year-old child was
actually a 20- or 21-year-old woman who received shots in her
abdomen that made her look like a ten-year-old child. Dr.
Turner explained there were times in his interview of
appellant that appellant appeared delusional, but at other
times it was difficult to determine whether appellant was
delusional or being dishonest. Even if appellant was
delusional, Dr. Turner still believed he was suffering from a
Turner also testified to uncharged sexual offenses by
appellant against three other children in the 1990s.
Appellant had a long-term sexual relationship with a
14-year-old girl. The other two victims were appellant's
four-year-old daughter and the five-year-old daughter of the
woman appellant was living with at the time.
Turner diagnosed appellant with sexual deviance, pedophilia,
psychotic disorder not otherwise specified, antisocial
personality disorder, and substance abuse. Dr. Turner could
not complete the Psychopathy Checklist Revised, which is a
checklist designed to identify whether a person has
psychopathic traits and to what degree, because he found it
difficult to determine whether appellant's statements
were psychopathic or delusional. But Dr. Turner testified
that he believed, based on his experience and training,
appellant was a psychopath.
Turner testified to appellant's risk of re-offending.
Appellant scored a one on the Static-99R, which is an
actuarial instrument that measures the risk of re-offending.
Although appellant had a low score, Dr. Turner did not
believe it accurately reflected appellant's risk because
there are variables that are not considered in the
Static-99R. Dr. Turner testified appellant had the two
biggest risk factors for re-offending: sexual deviance and
antisocial personality disorder. Dr. Turner concluded
appellant suffers from a behavioral abnormality that makes
him likely to engage in a predatory act.
testified that while he was in prison, he said he needed to
see the psychiatric department so he could get out of
solitary confinement. He testified he has not been on the
prison's psychiatric caseload since 2005. Appellant
testified about his confession to the aggravated sexual
assault charges. He claimed that his four-year-old daughter
and the five-year-old daughter of the woman he was living
with had committed sexual offenses against him and were part
of a sex ring. He testified he did not know the age of the
14-year-old until around the time of her fifteenth birthday.
defense also presented an expert witness, Dr. Marisa Mauro.
She testified that there is no indication a delusional
disorder has a statistical correlation with ...