In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of: Cedrick Scott Ince. MN civil commitment
Cedrick Ince was 17 years old in 2007 when he was at a party. A 17 year old girl at the party passed out after drinking. Ince removed her underwear and sexually penetrated her while she remained unconscious. Eventually, he admitted that he "took things way too far" and pleaded guilty to fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was adjudicated delinquent and placed on probation.
Unfortunately, he didn't learn his lesson. Three weeks after being placed on probation, he broke into the house of another acquaintance and raped her. She was asleep and awoke to find Ince on top of her. He began choking her and told her he had a gun. Not surprisingly, the police became involved, and he initially told her that the contact was consensual and that the victim liked "weird stuff." He eventaully accepted responsibility and pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was sentenced to 48 months in prison, with an additional 10 years of conditional release. He completed chemical dependency treatment in prison, but had some setbacks.
The day before his scheduled release from prison, Sibley County filed a petition for civil commitment. He was allowed to leave prison pending trial, subject to intensive supervision. During the eight months he was released, he got a job on a dairy farm and rented a house from his employer. His boss reported that he had done an excellent job. He participated in AA and had supportive family relationships.
Two court-appointed experts testified as to the likelihood of Ince reoffending. The trial court concluded that Ince met the statutory requirements for commitment, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. Ince then took his case to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Under the statute, an offender is subject to civil commitment if it is likely that he will reoffend. The Court had previously construed this to mean "highly likely." Ince argued that this should really be construed to mean "substantially certain." However, the Court declined to go that far. It also noted that "highly likely" can't be defined by a numeric value.
The Court then applied the standard to Ince's case, and conceded that this is always a difficult task. The Court examined the record and concluded that it was unclear whether the lower court had applied the correct factors, as clarified by the Supreme Court's opinion. For that reason, it remanded the case to the Sibley County District Court for additional proceedings.
No. A12-1691 (Minn. April 23, 2014).
Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.
Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).
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