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Name: In re Lucas
Case #: C062809
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/05/2010
Subsequent History: rev. granted 6/16/10

Under the Sexually Violent Predator Act, a continuance for good cause, pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 6601.3, is not defined by California Code of Regulations, regulation 2600.1, subdivision (d).
Appellant was serving a seven-year prison sentence for failure to register, with a parole date set for October 12, 2008. On December 21, 2007, corrections personnel completed a preliminary screening and determined that Lucas met the criteria of a sexually violent predator, but the screening form was not received by the classification unit until 11 days before the parole date. Three days before the parole date, the Board of Parole Hearings placed a 45 day hold on Lucas, to facilitate a full evaluation. Lucas contested the continuance on the grounds that there was no showing of good cause, but the trial court denied the motion and Lucas then filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the appellate court. The appellate court compared the authority for a good cause continuance between regulation 2600.1, subd. (d) and section 6601, and rejected section 2600.1, subd. (d), which provides there is good cause if there is some evidence that the person may be a sexually violent predator, because it did not effectuate the legislative intent to balance the public’s interest for safety and the liberty interests of the inmate. Under section 6601.3, a person’s custody may be extended no more than 45 days for evaluation, but only on a showing of good cause, which requires something exceptional that made it impossible to complete the evaluation process within the normal time period. Here, there was no such showing but since petitioner was not able to show by a preponderance that the Board had not relied on regulation 2600.1, subd. (d), which prior to the instant decision had not been found to be incorrect, he was not entitled to relief. (People v. Hubbert (2001) 88 Cal.App.4th 1202, 1229 [Where the error “‘resulted from a mistake of law’ and there was ‘no hint of negligent or intentional wrongdoing,’ the defendant’s extended commitment was upheld.”].)