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Name: People v. Sokolsky
Case #: B212437
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 03/23/2010

An appellant has no constitutional right to self-representation on appeal from an SVPA commitment. At jury trial, appellant was found to be a sexually violent predator and committed for treatment. On appeal he argued that he should be allowed to represent himself on the appeal because a significant liberty interest is at stake in a SVPA proceeding and, regardless, the appellate court has the discretion to permit him to represent himself. The court, relying on People v. Fraser (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 1430, which held that a defendant has no constitutional right to represent himself in a civil commitment under the SVPA, rejected appellant’s claim. There is no Sixth Amendment right to self representation in proceedings other than criminal prosecutions and the SVPA proceeding, a civil commitment with a non-punitive purpose, is not equivalent to a criminal prosecution. As to the discretion to permit appellant to represent himself, the court declined to exercise its discretion in this area.