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Name: People v. Hayes
Case #: A109299
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/28/2006

The court erred in holding a probable cause hearing at the conclusion of an SVP recommitment trial, but the error was harmless. The defendant was committed to a treatment facility as a sexually violent predator for two years. As that commitment was about to expire, a new petition was filed seeking recommitment, but that petition did not reach trial until the second two-year period was about to expire. The prosecution filed a second recommitment hearing, and the two petitions were consolidated for trial. The trial court conducted the probable cause hearing on the second petition at the conclusion of the consolidated trial. While noting that the probable cause hearing was a mandatory prerequisite to a trial on an SVP petition, the appellate court found that defendant could not show that he had been deprived of a fair trial or had otherwise suffered prejudice. Thus the error was harmless under People v. Pompa-Ortiz (1980) 27 Cal.3d 519.