svpa compendium


Year 2003
California Court of Appeal

People v. Krah (A099383/12/17/03)
114 Cal.App.4th 534
[5.B.] A court sitting in the county where defendant was convicted of the offense for which he was sent to prison has jurisdiction to commit that defendant as a sexually violent predator. The defendant in this case had a history of sex offenses dating back to the 1940s. His most recent commitment involved sentences from Sonoma County and San Mateo County, and at the time of his scheduled release the Sonoma County District Attorney filed a petition alleging that the defendant was a sexually violent predator and requesting his commitment to a state hospital. The defendant moved to dismiss the petition on the grounds that only San Mateo County had jurisdiction to hear the petition, because San Mateo County had been the last county to impose sentence. The appellate court upheld the denial of the motion to dismiss, holding that the language of Welfare and Institutions Code section 6601, subdivision (i), vested jurisdiction in either county under these facts. Further, the appellate court found that the trial court had not erred in excluding evidence regarding the terms and conditions to which defendant would be subjected were he to be paroled, holding that the relevant determination under section 6600, subdivision (a)(1), was whether appellant had a diagnosed medical disorder predisposing him to commit certain acts, not whether his parole conditions would protect the public from the risk of his reoffending.


People v. Grassini (B155574/11/25/03)
113 Cal.App.4th 765
[6.] In an SVP proceeding, where evidence is presented that the person is amenable to voluntary treatment, which in turn bears on the ultimate question of whether the person is likely to reoffend, the presence of such evidence creates a sua sponte duty to instruct that the jury must determine whether custody in a secure facility is necessary to ensure that the person is not a danger to others.


People v. Therrian (C040937/11/20/03)
113 Cal.App.4th 609
[5.B.] When an expert's opinion regarding the likelihood of defendant reoffending is not based solely upon the results of a Static-99 test (which assigns a risk assessment of reoffending), a Kelly (People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal.3d 24) hearing on the admissibility of an expert's testimony regarding the test is not required.


People v. Whitlock (D041020/11/19/03)
113 Cal.App.4th 456
[3.C.b.] A qualifying prior conviction under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVP)involving "substantial sexual contact" does not invariably require skin to skin contact. Here defendant's prior conviction involved touching the child's vagina over her clothing and constituted substantial sexual contact.


In re Calhoun (B159949/10/29/03)
112 Cal.App.4th 1262
[1.G.] Petitioners in this habeas proceeding were found to be sexually violent predators (SVPs) and committed to the Department of Mental Health. They were confined at Atascadero State Hospital (ASH). Their habeas petition alleged that ASH personnel involuntarily medicated them with psychotropic drugs in 1997-1999 for disciplinary purposes and to induce them to take other medications which they had refused. The appellate court here rejected the contentions, holding that in the absence of an emergency, medical personal at ASH may involuntarily treat competent SVPs with psychotropic drugs if the treatment is in their medical interest. Here, the medication was administered to treat petitioners' mental disorders and mitigate the danger they posed to themselves and others.


People v. Superior Court (Vasquez) (B166963 8/15/03)
111 Cal.App.4th 407
[1.A.] When a defendant entered a guilty plea, the judge told him that he did not fall under the SVPA statute, and the the D.A. agreed that if "somebody tries to stick him into 6600, he would have a right to withdraw his plea." When the D.A. later filed a petition, the trial judge dismissed it, finding that simply allowing the defendant to withdraw his pleas would be insufficient since he had already spent 7 years in prison on the conviction. The Court of Appeal disagreed: the statutory scheme does not permit dismissal for any reason other than failure to establish probable cause. [Editor's note: there is probably no way to insulate defendants from SVPA proceedings at the time of the entry of a plea to a qualifying offense.]


People v. Collins (D040624 7/9/03)
110 Cal.App.4th 340
[3.D.] The trial court abused its discretion in ruling that the petitioner's petition for conditional release from his sexually violent predator commitment was frivolous. It did not indisputably lack merit nor was it for delay. The doctor's report relied upon by the court concerned whether petitioner should be released unconditionally, not conditionally. Moreover, petitioner had undergone chemical castration and completed various programs and classes since those doctors' reports. Finally, petitioner had not waived his claims regarding conditional release by submitting the issue of his continued commitment as a sexually violent predator on those doctors' reports, since that was a different proceeding involving a different issue.


People v. Ciancio (B161077 5/28/03)
109 Cal.App.4th 175
Subsequent history: Rehrg. den. 6/27/03; Rev. den. 8/13/03
[7.] This case of first impression addressed the question of whether male alleged sexually violent predators (SVP) who were released from prison but detained in county jail pending different stages of pretrial SVP proceedings, are entitled to appropriate housing outside the county jail and psychiatric treatment under the SVPA. (Such treatment is not currently provided at the L.A. county jail.) The Court of Appeal here held that pretrial treatment was not mandated. But, interpreting Welfare and Institutions Code section 6602.5, for SVPs who already have a probable cause determination, the trial court has the discretion to place the person at a state hospital and begin to receive treatment. And, with respect to those alleged SVPs who had already begun SVP psychiatric treatment, Penal Code section 4002, subdivision (b) required the continuation of their course of treatment in the county jail "to the extent possible." The trial court must determine if the alleged SVP was already receiving such treatment and whetherit is possible to continue it within the county jail.


Turner v. Superior Court of San Diego Co. (D039787 1/30/03)
105 Cal.App.4th 1046
[2.b.] Mr. Turner was convicted in 1984 of numerous violent criminal acts, including rapes and assaults. After serving 14 years in prison, the district attorney filed an SVPA petition. Following a probable cause hearing and then a trial, a jury found that Turner was not an SVP and he was released on parole into the high risk sex offender program. Three months later, Turner violated his curfew condition by disappearing from electronic monitoring for 2 days. His parole was revoked. The D.A. then filed a new SVPA petition. At a new probable cause hearing, the D.A. submitted evidence of the 1984 offenses and reports of two psychologists who supported the original petition. Although their reports referenced the subsequent curfew violation, they reached their conclusions that Turner was likely to engage in future SVP behavior based primarily on the original facts that the jury considered. This case raises the question of whether collateral estoppel principles apply to the subsequent petition filed. This court concludes that a prior jury finding on the SVP question does not absolutely bar a later petition seeking to show that the person is an SVP at a later time. The People are barred from relitigating the specific finding reached by the jury in the prior proceeding with respect to the same individual and the same time. However, they may establish probable in a subsequent proceeding by presenting evidence of a change of circumstances, i.e., that despite the fact the individual did not possess the requisite dangerousness in the earlier proceeding, the circumstances have materially changed so that he now possesses that characteristic. Here, the prosecution did not meet its burden to show a change in circumstances that there is now a serious and well-founded risk that Turner is likely to engage in sexually violent criminal conduct upon his release. (Cooley v. Superior Court (2002) 29 Cal.4th 228.) Accordingly, the finding of probable cause for the second SVPA petition was vacated.


People v. Franklin (F039208 1/21/03)
105 Cal.App.4th 532
[3.c.3.] The defendant may be committed as sexually violent predator (SVP) on the basis that his 1978 conviction for rape (former Pen. Code, sec. 261, subd. (2)) qualifies as a predicate offense under Welfare and Institutions Code section 6600, subdivisions (a)(2) even though it led to an indeterminate sentence. The rape conviction in question occurred when appellant was 17 years old, found unfit for juvenile court, was tried as an adult and pled guilty. He was committed to CYA since he was under 21 years of age at the time of sentencing. He received a minimum term of 4 years and a maximum of 5 years, an indeterminate term since the offense was committed after July 1, 1977. The trial court found the conviction qualified as a predicate offense under SVPA. Examining statutory construction of section 6600, the Court of Appeal found subdivision (g) applicable since appellant was tried as an adult and it was not a juvenile adjudication of a sexually violent offense. In addition, the offense (a predecessor rape statute of current Pen. Code, sec. 261, subd. (a)(2)) qualifies under subdivision (a)(2)(D) [defining “sexually violent offense”] which does not specify whether the offender must have received a determinate or indeterminate sentence but includes all of the elements of an offense described in section 6600, subdivision (b). And, undertaking an examination of legislative history of subdivision (a)(2), the court found appellant’s conviction “falls squarely within the purview of section 6600, subdivision (a)(2)(D). . . .” The application of the section is not dependent on the type of sentence imposed but rather whether the purpose of the SVP Act is furthered.

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