September 6, 2012 4th Circuit published opinion

United States v Wooden

The government sought to commit Wooden as a sexually dangerous person. At the hearing, the main focus was on whether Wooden had dreamed about abusing a boy or had actually done so. All the experts agreed that if he actually abused the boy, commitment was authorized under the statute. The trail court found there was no actual abuse, that Wooden was not suffering form pedophilia and that the evidence did not support a conclusion that wooden would not be able to control his desires. The panel remanded for further consideration. It held that the trial court clearly erred in finding Wooden did not suffer from pedophilia as he testified he continued to have sexual thoughts about boys and the trail court failed to consider that evidence is its reasoning. The panel also held that the determination of pedophilia was reviewable as the expert found most credible by the trail court failed to consider Wooden’s babysitting, admitted attempted molestation of a different child and his mailing a Christmas card to the alleged victim. Thus, the trail court’s factual findings were not plausible. As to the ability to control, the panel found the trail court clearly erred in finding impulsiveness was required and in further ignoring Wooden’s impulsive crimes and impulsive behavior while imprisoned as well as his babysitting, deviant thoughts and attempted molestation during the relevant period.

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