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Name: In re Ronje
Case #: G041373
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/19/2009

A pre-trial challenge to invalid assessment protocol used to determine SVP status must be remedied with new evaluations. Ronje petitioned for writ of habeas corpus while waiting trial on an SVP petition, seeking relief on the ground that his evaluations under section 6601 were conducted under a standardized assessment protocol later determined by the Office of Administrative Law to be an invalid “underground” regulation. The appellate court agreed that the assessment protocol used was invalid, and that he was not required to show prejudice from the use of the invalid protocol because he was making a pretrial challenge. However, Ronje sought as a remedy dismissal of the SVPA petition or new evaluations based on a valid assessment protocol. The appellate court noted that it had previously held that the use of evaluations based on an invalid assessment protocol did not deprive the trial court of jurisdiction over the SVPA petition. Therefore, the appropriate remedy was not dismissal, but new evaluations under a valid assessment protocol, and another probable cause hearing based on those evaluations.