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Name: People v. McDonald
Case #: G044963
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/28/2013

Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) does not violate equal protection by providing for indeterminate commitment and by placing burden on defendant to obtain release. Defendant had been the subject of numerous two-year SVP petitions since 1999. Based on a petition filed in January 2008, he was committed for an indeterminate term. On appeal he challenged his commitment on equal protection and due process grounds. Held: Affirmed. In People v. McKee (2012) 207 Cal.App.4th 1325 (McKee II) the court found that notwithstanding the similarities between SVP’s, MDO’s, and NGI’s, SVP’s as a class represent a greater danger to society and therefore, imposing on SVP’s a greater burden to secure release is needed to protect society. The Court of Appeal agreed with McKee II, and found its holding applied to the whole class of SVP’s, rather than solely to McKee, stating that the California Supreme Court intended equal protection challenges to the SVPA be resolved by that case.

An indeterminate commitment does not violate due process and is not an improper ex post facto law or cruel and unusual punishment. These points were decided in McKee I (People v. McKee (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1325) and are binding on the Court of Appeal.

McDonald’s indeterminate commitment does not violate double jeopardy. The double jeopardy prohibitions of the state and federal Constitutions are not violated by McDonald’s indeterminate commitment because the SVPA does not inflict punishment.

The amended SVPA did not violate the single subject rule. Proposition 83 did not violate the single subject rule (Cal. Const., art. II, § 8, subd. (d)) because all of its provisions “related to its stated purpose of strengthening laws that punish and control dangerous sexual predators.”