The civil trial for Norman Alan Mongeon, one of two Mohave County sex offenders committed to the Arizona State Hospital in Phoenix, was set Tuesday to begin Oct.
The expected two-day trial will determine officially if Mongeon is a sexually violent person and should remain at the state hospital indefinitely.
He will also be enrolled into a special treatment program.
When a sex offender's release from prison is imminent, a county's attorney office petitions for a hearing.
A civil jury trial is then held in that county's Superior Court to determine if the sex offender should be committed to the state hospital.
Mongeon's attorney, Eric Engan, said that his 43-year-old client refuses to return to Mohave County for a civil trial and that the former Kingman resident wants to remain at the hospital.
Engan had said that Mongeon wants the specialized treatment but without officially admitting that he is a sexually violent person.
"I can't order ASH (Arizona State Hospital) to treat someone who is not a sexually violent person," Superior Court Judge James Chavez said.
"This is a difficult situation.
Chavez, who postponed Mongeon's civil trial once in May because of the defendant's refusal to return to the county, also ordered a pre-trial status hearing for Sept.
"We have to take some action in this case," Chavez said in setting the trial date.
"We can't leave it in limbo.
I don't have a choice."
In Tuesday's hearing, Chief Deputy County Attorney Jace Zack warned Chavez that a jury could conceivably rule that Mongeon is not a sexual violent person, which would mean his release.
Mongeon has been committed to the state hospital since November 1997.
He was arrested in June 1997 at a Kingman residence and charged with indecent exposure of a child, molestation of a child and public sexual indecency, records show.
He was never convicted but a Mohave County judge ruled that he was mentally incompetent and committed him to the state hospital.
Mongeon's case could also hinge on whether the Arizona Supreme Court reaches a decision on a ruling by the Arizona Appeals Court on the constitutionality of the violent sex offender's program.
The state Supreme Court may wait until the U.S.
Supreme Court rules on a similar Kansas case, possibly in 2002, Zack said.
The appellate court ruled in February that it is unconstitutional to send sex offenders to the state hospital after completing their prison sentences.
More than 130 sex offenders are confined in the hospital.
Mongeon could be released from the hospital even against his will if the state Supreme Court upholds the appellate court's ruling.
In the first-of-its-kind civil trial held in April, the county's other sex offender, Wilber Clarence Wilson, was ruled a sexually violent person and was ordered to remain in the state hospital indefinitely.
Wilson, 75, has been committed at the state hospital for more than a year for sexual crimes committed three years ago in Bullhead City.
Wilson, of Bullhead City, was charged with aggravated assault on a child at a shopping center in 1997.
He received probation until he violated his probation and was sentenced to a year and a half in prison before he was committed to the state hospital.