JAMES T. STENGEL, Appellant,
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; Glenn D. Kelley, Judge; L.T. Case No.
Haughwout, Public Defender, and Ian Seldin, Assistant Public
Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Matthew Steven
Ocksrider, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for
state sought to involuntarily commit appellant as a sexually
violent predator under the Jimmy Ryce Act. The state's
expert examined appellant in July 2015. The trial commenced
in February 2017. The jury found appellant to be a sexually
violent predator. Appellant argues that the trial court
should have granted a directed verdict since the state's
expert evaluation was nineteen months old at the time of
trial and therefore too "stale" to be considered by
the jury as the basis for commitment. We decline to adopt
appellant's suggested "bright-line" rule and
find there was competent, substantial evidence upon which the
jury could find appellant to be a sexually violent predator.
As such, we affirm.
before trial, appellant sought a court order limiting each
side to one expert witness. Appellant argued:
It is important to know that the defense does not plan on
disputing the diagnoses that the State's doctors gave
[appellant]. The crux of the defense in this case is that
[appellant] does not meet criteria because [he] is not likely
to reoffend (not that he doesn't have a mental
abnormality). Additionally, the defense has no intention to
dispute the state's experts on the STATIC score they
assigned to [appellant].
trial, each side presented testimony from one psychologist.
Dr. Sheila Rapa testified for the state. She examined
appellant in July 2015 and recounted appellant's history
of sexually violent offenses.
1991, appellant followed a restaurant employee home, asked
her if somebody was next door, and then asked to come in to
use her telephone. After the woman let appellant in, he
grabbed her and carried her upstairs where he forced her to
perform oral sex and then vaginally raped her. Afterwards, he
forced her to wash in the shower.
days later, he grabbed a woman as she was leaving the spa and
pulled her down to the embankment of a canal. He held a knife
to her throat and told her to be quiet. He digitally
penetrated her while he masturbated. He ejaculated on her and
wiped it off with a towel. He then forced her to perform oral
sex on him.
1992, appellant approached a woman walking to her apartment
and asked her where somebody lived. When she said she did not
know, he asked for a piece of paper to write on. When the
woman tried to close her apartment door to get him a piece of
paper, he pushed his way in, pulled her shirt over her head,
and put his mouth on her breasts. He forced her to the
bedroom and digitally penetrated her. He ran out of the
apartment when he thought he heard somebody come in. He then
broke a window and came back in while she was on the phone
trying to call 911, but left after the woman promised not to
after that crime, appellant knocked on another door and asked
a woman if somebody lived there. She thought it was
suspicious, so she wrote down his license plate number. Based
on this information, the police apprehended appellant. DNA
evidence connected him to the two 1991 cases. Appellant pled
no contest and was sentenced to prison. He was placed on sex
offender probation following his release from prison in 2003.
on probation in 2007, appellant removed a window screen and
peeped into a woman's house while masturbating. He fled
after a young girl saw him. The police apprehended ...