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Name: People v. Force
Case #: G039186
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/26/2009
Subsequent History: rev. grant/hold 4/15/09 (S170831)

The Sexually Violent Predator Act, as amended, does not violate state and federal constitutional due process rights, ex post facto laws, and double jeopardy, nor violate the principle against retroactive application of laws. The appellate court found that appellant was not denied due process, the court noting, among other points, that the state has the burden of proof at the initial commitment and subsequent hearings if it chooses to oppose a department recommendation for release; that the statute requires annual examinations; and that the department must authorize a committed individual to file a petition for release if the department determines the person’s condition is changed. There is no ex post facto violation because the statutory scheme is not punitive in nature and an indefinite commitment, standing alone, does not establish punishment. Regardless, as the court noted, the commitment is only potentially indefinite as the department must conduct an annual examination. There was no impermissible retroactive application of the law as the determination as to whether appellant was an SVP was made at the date of the initial commitment. The court also rejected appellant’s claim that the court erred in denying a request to unseal juror records, noting that appellant failed to make a requisite showing of juror misconduct.