A DIAGNOSIS OF ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER WITH NARCISSISTIC AND PARANOID FEATURES IS SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT CIVIL COMMITMENT IN A SECURE FACILITY PURSUANT TO CPL 330.20.
In finding that respondent suffers from a dangerous mental disorder requiring civil commitment in a secure facility, the Third Department first determined a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) with narcissistic and paranoid features was sufficient to justify civil commitment pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law 330.20:
… [R]espondent contends, among other things, that the fact that ASPD, alone, is a legally insufficient diagnosis for the purposes of civil confinement pursuant to Mental Hygiene Law article 10 (see Matter of State of New York v Donald DD., 24 NY3d 174, 191 ) merits the conclusion that a diagnosis of ASPD with narcissistic and paranoid features is a legally insufficient diagnosis for the purposes CPL 330.20. The Supreme Court of the United States has established that “[s]tates retain considerable leeway in defining the mental abnormalities and personality disorders that make an individual eligible for [civil] commitment” … . The constitutional guarantee of due process limits that discretion, however, by ensuring that civil commitment is not used as a mechanism to identify and confine the dangerous but “typical [criminal] recidivist[s]” … . With this in mind, proof sufficient to satisfy due process requires proof of a mental condition that causes a person to have serious difficulty in controlling his or her dangerous behavior … .
* * * CPL 330.20 (1) (c) … does not limit the relevant form of dangerousness in the same manner; it only requires a relationship between respondent’s current mental condition and “a physical danger to himself [or herself] or others.”
Further, the diagnosis of ASPD with narcissistic and paranoid features is more specific than a generic ASPD diagnosis. Accordingly, this case does not force us to confront a generic ASPD diagnosis that, as elucidated by expert evidence, “means little more than a deep-seated tendency to commit crimes” … . Therefore, we turn to the expert evidence further clarifying respondent’s ASPD diagnosis and its attendant narcissistic and paranoid features.
Expert testimony established that ASPD causes individuals to have “distortions related to their thoughts [and] behaviors, and . . . a reckless disregard for societal norms.” Individuals are diagnosed with narcissistic features when they engage in “grandiose” thinking, have a “sense of self-importance” and feel “entitled” and possibly omnipotent. Finally, individuals with paranoid features often have feelings that “people are out to get them.” Considering this evidence, we conclude that a mental condition marked by a disregard for societal norms and specifically amplified by an unreasonably inflated sense of self worth and an irrational attribution of hostile intentions to other people sufficiently distinguishes a respondent from the typical recidivist and has a relationship to the requisite dangerousness pursuant to CPL 330.20. Accordingly, we conclude that the diagnosis of ASPD with narcissistic and paranoid features is not legally insufficient to support civil confinement pursuant to CPL 330.20. Matter of John Z. (Commissioner of Mental Health), 2016 NY Slip Op 01234, 3rd Dept 2-18-16
CRIMINAL LAW (CIVIL COMMITMENT JUSTIFIED BY DIAGNOSIS OF ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER WITH NARCISSISTIC AND PARANOID FEATURES)/CIVIL COMMITMENT (JUSTIFIED BY DIAGNOSIS OF ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER WITH NARCISSISTIC AND PARANOID FEATURES)/DANGEROUS MENTAL DISORDER (CIVIL COMMITMENT JUSTIFIED BY DIAGNOSIS OF ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER WITH NARCISSISTIC AND PARANOID FEATURES)