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Name: People. v. Yartz
Case #: S117964
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 12/05/2005

A defendant’s no contest plea to child molestation may be used as a prior conviction to support a civil commitment under the Sexually Violent Predators Act. Before its 1982 amendment, Penal Code section 1016 provided that a plea of no contest could not be used against the defendant as an admission in any civil suit arising from the act upon which the criminal prosecution was based. The defendant here argued that an SVPA proceeding was a “civil suit” within the meaning of that statute, but the California Supreme Court rejected the argument, finding that an SVPA civil commitment proceeding is a special proceeding of a civil nature, but not a civil “suit” within the meaning of section 1016.