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Name: Gilbert v. Superior Court
Case #: E059673
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/03/2014

The prosecution may not use a subpoena duces tecum (SDT) to directly access an SVP’s confidential treatment information that is not contained in an updated mental evaluation. The prosecution sought to commit Gilbert as a sexually violent predator (SVP) pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 6600. Gilbert was first evaluated in 2001 and probable cause for commitment was found. Updated evaluations were prepared in 2006 and 2009, and the trial court again found probable cause for commitment in 2010. Prior to his trial, Gilbert was sent to Coalinga State Hospital. After learning that Gilbert may have assaulted someone at the hospital, the prosecution served an SDT for all of Gilbert’s medical and treatment records. Gilbert moved to quash the subpoena, claiming his treatment records were confidential and the prosecution could only access this information insofar as it is contained in an updated medical evaluation. After denial of his motion, Gilbert petitioned for writ of mandate. Held: Peremptory writ issued. The Court of Appeal applied de novo review to the discovery order because it involved statutory interpretation. Welfare and Institutions Code section 5328 provides that all treatment information under the SVPA is confidential. Under section 6603, subdivision (c)(1) the prosecution may obtain updated evaluations of an alleged SVP, and access to otherwise confidential information to the extent it is contained in an updated medical evaluation. But section 6603 does not authorize disclosure of treatment information directly to the prosecution. Using an SDT to obtain otherwise confidential documents does not render the documents accessible. Section 5328, subdivision (f), which allows confidential treatment records to be released to the courts as necessary to the administration of justice, predates relevant amendments to section 6603, subdivision (c) and there is no indication that this provision authorizes the release of records directly to the People.