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Name: People v. Fraser
Case #: H028312
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/28/2006
Summary

Because a civil commitment proceeding under the SVPA has a nonpunitive purpose and is not equivalent to a criminal prosecution, appellant had no Sixth Amendment right to self-representation. The trial court did not err when it denied his Faretta motion prior to his recommitment proceedings. Further, even assuming there is a common law right to represent oneself in civil proceedings, or a statutory right to self-representation, any error would have been harmless here. The record shows that appellant would not have reached a more favorable result had he represented himself given the overwhelming amount of evidence against him. Further, there was no error because the trial court failed to sua sponte modify CALJIC No. 2.20 to instruct the jury that it was required to assess the credibility of the victim hearsay statements contained in the police reports. A specific instruction was not necessary to the jury’s understanding of the case. The trial court’s duty was fulfilled when it gave CALJIC 2.80 which properly informed the jury to determine whether the facts on which the expert witnesses had relied had been proven or disproven, and to value the opinions accordingly. Even if the court did err, the error was harmless in light of the ample evidence demonstrating the reliability of the hearsay, and the fact that appellant admitted some of the misconduct.