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Name: Garcetti v. Superior Court (Washington)
Case #: B142294
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 12/19/2000
Subsequent History: Rev. GRANTED 3/21/01

The Court of Appeal granted two petitions for mandate in this Sexually Violent Predators Act commitment proceeding. First, the Court of Appeal held that where a psychological evaluator failed to perform within the guidelines and was removed from the panel of experts by the Department of Mental Health, the district attorney was obligated to obtain a second competent evaluation concurring in the diagnosis underlying his effort to commit Washington as an SVP. This action did not violate the statute which authorizes only two psychological evaluations of the defendant, and the trial court erred in excluding the opinions of the third psychologist. Second, the court held that the confidentiality of therapy records under Welfare and Institutions Code section 5328 does not apply to SVPA proceedings. Moreover, the therapy privilege of Evidence Code section 1014 is not absolute, and must yield to compelling state interests, including the interest in detaining sexually violent predators, and providing them treatment until the disorder has abated. Accordingly, it was proper for the experts here to consider Washington’s treatment records in reaching their conclusions, and the trial court erred in limiting the expert’s review of the therapy records.