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Name: Cooley v. Superior Court
Case #: S094676
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 11/25/2002
Subsequent History: None

In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court decided the scope and standards applicable to a probable cause hearing under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (Welf. and Inst. Code, sec. 6602). The hearing requires the superior court to determine whether a reasonable person could entertain a strong suspicion that the petitioner has satisfied all the elements required for a civil commitment as an SVP. The phrase “likely to engage in sexually violent predatory criminal behavior upon . . . release” requires the superior court to determine whether the potential SVP presents a serious and well-founded risk of committing sexually violent criminal acts that will be of a predatory nature, and that the superior court must consider the offender’s amenability to treatment when making this determination. The Court concluded remand was necessary because the entire proceeding was infected by error in using incorrect statutory definitions of “likely” and by failure to consider whether potential violence would be “predatory.”