People v. Ingram, C085771

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtHULL, ACTING P. J.
PartiesTHE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. MICHAEL L. INGRAM, Defendant and Appellant.
Docket NumberC085771
Decision Date24 January 2022

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,

MICHAEL L. INGRAM, Defendant and Appellant.


California Court of Appeals, Third District, Sacramento

January 24, 2022


(Super. Ct. No. 99F06254)


Defendant Michael L. Ingram challenges his commitment as a sexually violent predator (SVP) under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA). (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600 et seq.) He argues the trial court erred in admitting certain exhibits and in failing to redact them. He also asserts the trial court abused its discretion in admitting case-specific hearsay in violation of People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 (Sanchez). To the extent his contentions are not preserved for appellate review, he asserts he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Finally, he asserts that, even if errors were not prejudicial individually, the cumulative effect of the errors warrants reversal.

We affirm the judgment.



"Under the SVPA, an offender who is determined to be an SVP is subject to involuntary civil commitment for an indeterminate term' "immediately upon release from prison." '" (People v. Putney (2016) 1 Cal.App.5th 1058, 1065.) To establish an offender is an SVP, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the offender (1) has been convicted of a sexually violent offense against one or more victims, and (2) has a diagnosed mental disorder that makes him or her a danger to the health and safety of others in that it is likely that he or she will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600, subd. (a)(1).) "The SVPA is designed' "to provide 'treatment' to mentally disordered individuals who cannot control sexually violent criminal behavior"' and to keep them confined until they no longer pose a threat to the public." (Putney, at p. 1065.)

The People filed a petition and an amended petition for commitment of defendant as an SVP pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 6600 et seq. According to the petition, on or about December 2, 1999, defendant was convicted of two counts of lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14 in violation of Penal Code section 288, subdivision (a) and sentenced to a term of 17 years. The People asserted defendant, as a result of a mental disorder, was a danger to the health and safety of others and was likely to engage in sexual violence if released.

After a hearing pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 6602, having found probable cause to believe defendant was likely to engage in sexually violent predatory criminal behavior upon his release, the court ordered defendant transported to Coalinga State Hospital (Coalinga) to be detained pending trial.

The People's Evidence

The defense conceded that the first element for commitment under the SVPA, was satisfied in that defendant had been convicted of a sexually violent offense against one or


more victims. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600, subd. (a)(1).) Thus, the issue at trial was whether defendant had a diagnosed mental disorder that made him a danger to the health and safety of others in that it was likely he would engage in sexually violent criminal behavior. (Ibid.)

A. Testimony of Dr. Dale Arnold

Dr. Dale Arnold has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Arnold described the facts underlying defendant's 1990 qualifying conviction taken from a probation officer's report: "in March of 1990, he moved to an apartment complex, and once he was there he was observed by the parents of some of the children to play with the children and spend time with the children. And then on June 1st of 1990, he invited one of the boys, Jason, who was seven years old, over to his apartment to watch television and also one of [Jason's] friends. Jason's friend sat beside [defendant] and Jason sat on [defendant's] lap and while they were watching television, [defendant] reached into [Jason's] pants and squeezed his penis and testicles. I think [Jason] described that as happening five times." The crime was reported three months later. Defendant was 31 and Jason was seven. Arnold testified that those underlying facts were "a factor that helped contribute to [his] overall understanding of the case and ultimately [his] diagnosis that contributed to that."

We note that we have omitted from our summary of the evidence at this point the case-specific hearsay discussed in part II of the Discussion, post. We include Arnold's descriptions of the underlying facts of the qualifying offenses for context and because those facts were properly admissible through documentary evidence as we shall also discuss, post. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600, subd. (a)(3); see also People v. Yates (2018) 25 Cal.App.5th 474, 485-486 (Yates) [hearsay exception under Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600, subd. (a)(3) is limited to documentary evidence and does not apply to expert testimony].)


As for the 1999 case, Arnold relied on investigation reports from the Sheriff's Department. Arnold testified as follows: that defendant "met a boy by the name of Byron. He originally met him while he was riding his bike in the neighborhood and Byron was riding with another boy. They spent time together riding bikes and talking and then after a while, [defendant] invited the boys to come to his house to play with his daughter, who was represented as being their age and in reality he doesn't have a daughter. . . . The other boy declined to go but Byron agreed to go. So Byron went with [defendant] to his house. They sat on the couch. [Defendant] offered him some food. He declined the offer and they looked at the car that was in the garage and sat on the couch again and [defendant] started touching Byron's penis and ultimately pulled his pants down and he orally copulated or he sucked on Byron's penis and while doing so, he also stuck his finger into Byron's anus and he continued to do that and he took out his penis and he rubbed their penises against each other until [defendant] ejaculated and they stopped that activity . . . ." Four or five weeks later, defendant encountered Byron again. "They rode bikes together. They . . . sat underneath a tree on some grass and [defendant] told him he was a good boy and kind of built up his self-esteem. And at that time he touched his penis on the outside of his clothing and they relocated to the side of the building and at the side of the building, he essentially repeated the acts that he had done the first time. So he sucked on his penis. He put his finger inside of his anus, and he rubbed his penis against Byron's penis." Byron eventually reported the abuse and defendant was arrested. At the time, defendant was 40 and Byron was 12.

In 2013, Arnold undertook an analysis of whether defendant had a mental disorder that predisposed him to committing criminal sexual acts. Arnold performed updated evaluations in 2015 and 2017. Arnold considered, among other things, defendant's social history, sexual history, substance abuse history, and criminal history. Arnold also relied on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association. Arnold diagnosed defendant with three conditions:


intellectual deficit, mild in nature; alcohol use disorder, mild in nature; and, most relevant here, pedophilic disorder.

The DSM has three diagnostic criteria for pedophilia: (1) current fantasies or urges or behaviors related to sexual activity with a prepubescent child, or a child generally 13 years old or younger, (2) the subject either acted on those urges or is distressed by the urges in the sense that, "[i]f they have the fantasies or urges, then they're distressed by it," and (3) the subject is at least 16 years old and at least five years older than the child. According to Arnold, one can be diagnosed with pedophilia even if one does not admit to the urges, provided there is sufficient evidence. According to Arnold, defendant satisfied all three criteria.

Arnold attempted to interview defendant for his evaluation but defendant declined. Defendant told Arnold he feared he would say something incriminating. He also told Arnold the treatment he had undergone was inadequate because "it was just talk treatment. They didn't give him the medication and in his words for his urges or whatever. That's how he described it. So he was aware that . . . there's medications that can be used to help reduce urges --." Defendant "was trying to place blame on his past treatment experience, that he was inadequately treated, and if he had been treated more effectively, he would not have committed the last crimes." Because defendant declined to be interviewed, Arnold's report was largely based on records he reviewed.

Arnold testified that offenders commit offenses for different reasons, including not understanding that it is wrong, intoxication, or because the offender is exploitive such as someone with an antisocial personality. Therefore, according to Arnold, it is necessary to find a pattern of behavior to establish an offender has pedophilic disorder. Arnold found such a pattern with defendant.

Arnold testified that, to an extent, defendant acknowledged sexual contact with children. For instance, defendant acknowledged his prior treatment was not particularly effective for him because it was limited to "talk" therapy rather than medication. Arnold


left the attempted interview with defendant "thinking that he was an admitter, that he had acknowledged his sexual conduct with children." To Arnold, given the sexual contact defendant had with children over the course of 15 years in the community, and being detected on several occasions and provided treatment, it was "very clear that at the very least, he had sexual urges to engage children in sexual contact."

According to Arnold, defendant had never had a long-term relationship with a man or a woman. He had...

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