Schenectady County

Judge to rule on Schenectady sex offender’s civil confinement

Attorneys in the civil confinement trial of a Schenectady sex offender gave their closing arguments
Alan Horowitz
Alan Horowitz

Attorneys in the civil confinement trial of a Schenectady sex offender gave their closing arguments in the case Monday.

The attorney representing sex offender Alan Horowitz argued his client can control his impulses. The attorney representing the state argued that he has repeatedly reoffended or put himself in positions to do so.

At issue in the trial is whether Horowitz, now 68, suffers from a mental abnormality that requires either further confinement or strict and intensive supervision.

Horowitz has admitted he has the disorder, but he contends he can control himself without confinement.

Justice Vincent J. Reilly Jr. must now decide whether Horowitz has the mental abnormality. Horowitz gave up his right to a jury trial to have the judge decide the case.

The state is looking to keep Horowitz in custody as a danger to society as among the “worst of the worst” sex offenders. He formally completed his 10- to 20-year prison sentence in 2012, but remains in state custody. One prosecutor previously called Horowitz a prime example of the type of offender lawmakers had in mind when they passed the 2007 civil confinement law.

If Reilly finds against Horowitz, a second phase will move forward to determine whether Horowitz requires commitment to a secure treatment facility or whether he should be subject to strict and intensive supervision and treatment.

The trial began in October and has continued on multiple dates since. Reilly indicated from the bench he intended to address the issue promptly.

Joseph Muia, of the state Attorney General’s Office, recounted in his closing arguments the long history of allegations and convictions against Horowitz, including his 1992 Schenectady County guilty plea related to allegations that he abused four children locally.

Horowitz won release to parole in 2004, then fled to India two years later, violating his parole. He was soon recaptured and has been in custody since.

Horowitz is represented by attorney Thomas Callaghan of the state Mental Hygiene Legal Services. Callaghan argued in his closings that his client was never charged with a new sex crime since his release from his Schenectady County sentence.

He also questioned expert testimony, saying the only solid evidence against Horowitz are his two convictions, the local one and one from Maryland in the 1980s. He argued Horowitz is not an impulsive person.

Muia stressed Horowitz’ flight to India in his closing arguments. Investigators found him there surrounded by children. Muia emphasized that fact by showing pictures of Horowitz there with young boys.

“As far as him being disciplined, frankly that’s laughable,” he said.

He argued Horowitz has serious difficulty controlling his conduct and he should be found to have the mental abnormality. He also cited Horowitz writings and statements that supported the state’s case.

As of the end of March 2015, the state had a total of 311 offenders confined. Of those, 109 consented to confinement and 202 took their cases to trial. After annual review hearings, 65 of those have been released under strict intensive supervision and treatment.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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