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Name: Landau v. Superior Court
Case #: G056050
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/15/2019

Petitioner’s motion to quash subpoena was properly denied because Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) explicitly authorizes both parties to subpoena a sexually violent predator’s otherwise confidential medical records. A jury found Landau to be a sexually violent predator (SVP) and the court ordered an indefinite commitment to the Department of State Hospitals. In advance of an evidentiary hearing/retrial, the district attorney served a subpoena duces tecum to obtain Landau’s medical records, which Landau moved to quash. The trial court denied the motion. Landau filed a petition for a writ of mandate to challenge the denial. Held: Petition denied. Effective January 1, 2016, the Legislature amended the SVPA to mandate that a trial court shall issue a subpoena, upon the request of either party, for a certified copy of a committed person’s annual mental health examinations for use in specified proceedings under the SVPA. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6603, subd. (j).) Applying rules of statutory construction, the court held that section 6603, subdivision (j) applies to any applicable evidentiary hearings or trials under the SVPA. The court rejected Landau’s federal and state equal protection arguments, finding that the disparate treatment between SVPs, mentally disordered offenders (MDOs), and mentally disordered sexual offenders (MDSOs) with regard to their mental health records survived rational basis review because the relatively minor distinctions in the level of access given to the medical records of persons committed as either an MDO, an MDSO, or an SVP appear to be rationally related to each statutory scheme.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: