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Name: Conway v. Superior Court (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 750
Case #: B325986
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 12/01/2023
Summary

The Sexually Violent Predator Act does not preclude the defense from requesting an order directing a Department of State Hospitals (DSH) evaluator to update an evaluation that he had prepared several years earlier. Conway is awaiting trial on a petition to commit him as a sexually violent predator (SVP). The trial court denied his motion for an order authorizing and instructing a DSH evaluator to update a previous evaluation wherein he concluded that Conway had not met the criteria for commitment as an SVP. The trial court ruled that Welfare and Institutions Code section 6603 only permitted the People to obtain an updated evaluation from a DSH professional. Conway filed a petition for writ of mandate in the Court of Appeal challenging the trial court’s ruling. Held: Petition granted. Although section 6603 requires DSH to prepare an updated evaluation upon the People’s request, nothing precludes the defense from obtaining one pursuant to a court order in accordance with the section’s express language clarifying that it “does not prevent the defense from presenting otherwise relevant and admissible evidence.” (§ 6603(e).) Furthermore, section 6603 does not alter the defense’s right to make ordinary discovery requests such as the instant request. The Court of Appeal also concluded the trial court has discretion to decide whether to receive opposition from the People.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B325986.PDF