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Name: People v. McKee
Case #: D059843
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 07/24/2012

Equal protection principles are not violated because of disparate treatment of sexually violent predators who have a higher burden to obtain release as compared with mentally disordered offenders or those having been found not guilty by reason of insanity. Following the passage of Proposition 83, appellant was committed for an indefinite term as an SVP. The California Supreme Court rejected his due process and ex post facto claims and remanded for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether, applying the strict scrutiny standard, the People could justify their disparate treatment of SVP’s from MDO’s and NGI’s. (People v. McKee (2011) 47 Cal.4th 1172, 1197-1198, 1208-1209.) After extensive testimony and documentary evidence, the trial court ruled that disparate treatment was justified by the greater and unique dangers that SVP’s pose as compared to MDO’s and NGI’s. Affirmed. The People presented substantial evidence to support a reasonable inference or perception that the disparate treatment of SVP’s is necessary to further compelling state interests. Despite the similarities between SVP’s, MDO’s, and NGI’s, SVP’s bear a substantially greater risk to society and imposing a greater burden on them before they can be released is needed to protect society. Evidence showed that recidivism is more likely, the victims suffer unique and greater trauma, and diagnoses and treatments are different with SVP’s requiring longer treatment based on tools to limit reoffending rather than medication-based treatment. The electorate was not required to adopt the least restrictive means available.