Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 282nd Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. CV1770006
Justices Schenck, Osborne, and Reichek
J. SCHENCK JUSTICE.
own motion, we withdraw our opinion and vacate our judgment
of May 8, 2019, and substitute this opinion in its place.
This appeal involves a civil commitment pursuant to the Civil
Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act. See
Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. §§ 841.001-.153.
A jury found Jose Cavazos to be a sexually violent predator
as defined in section 841.003 of the Texas Health and Safety
Code. The trial court ordered Cavazos committed until his
behavioral abnormality changes to the extent he is no longer
likely to engage in a predatory act of sexual violence.
See id. § 841.081. In a single issue, Cavazos
contends the trial court erred in admitting certain evidence.
We overrule appellant's issue and affirm the trial
court's judgment. Because all issues are settled in law,
we issue this memorandum opinion. Tex.R.App.P. 47.4.
August 2017, the State filed a petition seeking to commit
Cavazos for treatment and supervision, alleging that Cavazos
is a sexually violent predator. The State alleged that
Cavazos had previously been convicted of two sexually violent
offenses, triggering statutory eligibility for civil
commitment. These offenses occurred in Dallas and Hidalgo
Counties. The State further alleged that an expert had
performed a clinical assessment of Cavazos and found he
suffers from a behavioral abnormality that makes him likely
to engage in a predatory act of sexual violence. At the time
the petition was filed, Cavazos was in his mid-60s, in poor
health, and had been incarcerated for more than 24 years.
Cavazos was scheduled to be released from prison by August
trial, the State called two witnesses, Dr. Randall Price and
Cavazos himself. The State also introduced into evidence
Cavazos' penitentiary packets. Dr. Price is the forensic
psychologist the State hired to evaluate Cavazos. After
describing his background, training, and how forensic
evaluations are conducted, Dr. Price briefly described the
process that leads to a civil commitment
proceeding. He testified that close to the time that
an inmate will be released from incarceration, prison
employees will examine the inmate's records to determine
whether he has two or more convictions for sexual offenses.
If so, he is considered for an initial evaluation.
Thereafter, he may be referred to a "Multi-Disciplinary
Team" that will further examine his file and decide
whether to seek a forensic psychological evaluation. From
there, the inmate may be referred to the Special Prosecution
Unit in Huntsville or to the county in which the person was
most recently convicted of a sexually violent offense. The
Special Prosecution Unit or the county may in turn obtain a
psychological evaluation before deciding whether to proceed
with a request for civil commitment. In those instances, a
forensic psychologist like Dr. Price will typically review
all of the inmate's criminal and medical records,
including the previous evaluations, and conducts a
face-to-face interview to assess whether the inmate has a
Price went on to describe his involvement in Cavazos'
case and his opinions concerning whether Cavazos is a
sexually violent predator. Before interviewing Cavazos, Dr.
Price reviewed Cavazos' offense reports, police reports,
court documents, prison file, and psychological and
Price described Cavazos' criminal history in great detail
and explained that his history is relevant to determining
whether he has a behavioral abnormality. Cavazos' record
showed a pattern of nearly four decades of serious sexual
offenses, most of which involved pre-pubescent boys. Cavazos
record further showed he had been sent to juvenile facilities
for punishment and treatment, had received sex offender
treatment in a California state hospital, had received shock
probation, and served time in prison, and that despite his
numerous pronouncements that he would not offend again, he
did repeatedly so.
Price enumerated that Cavazos began committing sexual
offenses against children at the age of 15. He explained that
age 15 is a very early age to start committing offenses
against other children and is very significant because the
sexual deviancy is more ingrained and more significant when
it begins at an early age. He expounded that "early
starters" tend to commit more sexual offenses, even
after being caught and sanctioned.
Price testified that Cavazos' first victims were 8 and 11
years old. These children were strangers to Cavazos, meaning
he had known them for less than 24 hours when the assaults
occurred. Dr. Price testified about additional offenses
Cavazos committed in the early 1970s, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1984,
and 1994. Cavazos committed the offenses in multiple
jurisdictions, including California, Louisiana, and Texas.
Price stated that Cavazos admitted to him that he had
victimized approximately 30 children, some of whom he
sexually assault on more than one occasion. Dr. Price
indicated that in his experience offenders like Cavazos tend
to under report the number of their victims. Cavazos further
admitted to Dr. Price that he used his position as a
volunteer baseball coach and his job as an ice-cream
truck-driver to attain access to some of the children he
molested. He also molested children he picked up at shopping
malls, fairs, and parks. He also shared his typical modus
operandi. He would give them money or pay for arcade games
and cokes before convincing them to go into a restroom with
him where the molestation then would occur. During the
interview, which took place approximately 3 months before
trial, Cavazos admitted to Dr. Price that he is still
interested in boys, and that when he gets out of prison he
plans on going to malls.
Price testified that he used the information he gathered from
his review of the records and his interview to complete
several actuarial instruments to assist in assessing whether
Cavazos risks reoffending. The first actuarial instrument Dr.
Price completed is the STATIC-99R, an instrument that
measures certain risk factors for reoffending. Cavazos
received a score of "6," which means he has a
"well above average" risk of reoffending. Dr. Price
also completed a PCLR examination, which is the Psychopathy
Checklist Revised examination. That instrument looks at 20
personality traits of a psychopathic personality. Results can
range from 0 to 40. A score of 30 or more indicates a
psychopath. Cavazos scored 27 on this examination. Dr. Price
testified, that in light of additional records he received
after calculating Cavazos' score, Cavazos' score
might be higher.
Price diagnosed appellant with pedophilic disorder,
anti-social personality disorder, and major depressive
disorder. Pedophilic disorder means the individual
is sexually attracted to pre-pubescent children and has acted
on those urges. He explained that pedophilia is a very
difficult disorder to cure. Treatment is typically aimed at
management against reoffending. Dr. Price testified that
Cavazos admitted to having sex with other offenders while in
prison despite rules prohibiting such behavior, which further
demonstrates Cavazos lacks volitional control ...