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Name: People v. Calhoun
Case #: A101034
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/11/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 8/25/04

Appellant appealed from a judgment committing him to Atascadero as a sexually violent predator (SVP). At his jury trial, the trial court ruled that a commitment proceeding under the SVP Act was a civil proceeding, and therefore appellant was entitled to only six peremptory challenges pursuant to subdivision (c) of section 231 of the Code of Civil Procedure. On appeal, appellant contended that the court should have instead applied subdivision (a) because an SVP proceeding is more like a criminal case than a civil case, and that due process and equal protection require that he be allowed the same number of peremptories as in a criminal case. The appellate court rejected his argument. A proceeding under the SVP Act is a special civil proceeding and therefore appellant was entitled to six peremptory challenges under section 231, subdivision (c). Further, an SVP and a criminal defendant are not similarly situated and neither equal protection nor due process principles compel an equal number of peremptory challenges.