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Name: People v. Dean
Case #: E041513
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/22/2009
Summary

Admission of expert testimony which included information from hospital records was not prejudicial. In his appeal from the judgment and order committing him to the State Department of Mental Health as a sexually violent predator (SVP), appellant contended that the trial court erred by erroneously permitting plaintiff’s experts to testify to inadmissible hearsay regarding the facts of the qualifying offenses, the fact that he was convicted those offenses, and the information gleaned from hospital records. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that the vast majority of the hearsay testified to by plaintiff’s experts on direct was properly admitted from other sources. Other than some testimony as to the hospital records, the facts testified to did not bring before the jury incompetent hearsay evidence. The plaintiff’s experts were not precluded from reiterating the same facts during their examination. SVP process allowing appointment of one expert is not a violation of due process. Appellant also argued that the SVP process is a denial of due process because the plaintiff was able to present two expert witnesses paid for by the Department of Mental Health, where he was only able to call one court-appointed expert, thereby stacking the deck against him. The appellate court found no due process violation. There is nothing which militates in favor of providing two experts. The testimony of a single witness is sufficient to prove a fact. Dean was able to fully present his side of the story. Fundamental fairness was afforded.