Skip to content
Name: Conway v. Superior Court (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 750
Case #: B325986
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 12/01/2023

The Sexually Violent Predator Act does not preclude the defense from requesting an order directing a Department of State Hospitals (DSH) evaluator to update an evaluation that he had prepared several years earlier. Conway is awaiting trial on a petition to commit him as a sexually violent predator (SVP). The trial court denied his motion for an order authorizing and instructing a DSH evaluator to update a previous evaluation wherein he concluded that Conway had not met the criteria for commitment as an SVP. The trial court ruled that Welfare and Institutions Code section 6603 only permitted the People to…

View Full Summary
Name: Camacho v. Superior Court (2023) 15 Cal.5th 354
Case #: S273391
Court: CA Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 08/31/2023

Opinion by: Justice Kruger (unanimous decision)

Persons facing commitment under the Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Act have a due process right to a timely trial, but even a 15-year delay does not necessarily violate that right where the defense is primarily responsible for the delays. In 2006, the state filed a petition to recommit Camacho as an SVP. Since then, the defense requested or agreed to continuances of the trial date, and the trial on the recommitment petition has yet to occur. In 2018, Camacho withdrew his time waiver and was appointed new counsel. In 2021, the trial court denied Camacho’s…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Sloan (2023) 93 Cal.App.5th 698
Case #: C095622
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/17/2023

The Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) does not permit the prosecution to retain an expert to testify at a trial on the defendant’s status as a sexually violent predator (SVP). The prosecution filed a petition to commit defendant as an SVP. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600 et seq.) Prior to trial, one of the prosecution’s experts became unavailable. A retained expert was allowed to testify at defendant’s SVP trial, over defendant’s objection. The trial court found defendant was an SVP. On appeal, defendant argued it was error to allow the prosecution to use a privately retained expert at trial.…

View Full Summary
Name: In re Kerins (2023) 89 Cal.App.5th 1084
Case #: A165304
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 03/30/2023

Failure to bring SVP defendant to trial more than 14 years after the filing of the SVP petition did not amount to unconstitutional pretrial delay. Kerins was convicted of an SVP-qualifying offense in 1988. He was convicted of additional offenses in 1998 and sentenced to state prison for 13 years. Prior to his release, psychologists determined Kerins met the criteria for an SVP, and the the People filed an SVP petition. More than 14 years after the SVP petition was filed, Kerins filed a habeas petition alleging that the People had failed to bring him to trial in a timely…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Superior Court (Cheek)
Case #: H049691
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/06/2023

Writ of mandate vacating superior court’s order to release sexually violent predator (SVP) issued because the statute prohibiting placement of certain SVPs near a school does not require the school to have been operating for any particular time, and includes home schools. Over prosecution objection that a proposed SVP residence placement violated Welfare and Institutions Code section 6608.5, subdivision (f), because of its proximity to a school, the trial court ordered a conditional release. It found the school in question is a private home school that did not exist until after the community was notified of Cheek’s pending release. The…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Presley
Case #: C090439
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/16/2021
Subsequent History: Ordered Published 6/28/21

In a court trial on defendant's commitment as a sexually violent predator (SVP), the trial court did not abuse its discretion under People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665 in relying on expert testimony, where nothing in the record suggests the trial court failed to correctly apply the law. At the court trial on a petition to commit defendant as an SVP, the court heard testimony from four expert witnesses who had all interviewed defendant and reviewed his medical and prison records. The trial court determined defendant was an SVP. Defendant appealed, arguing his commitment was based on case-specific hearsay…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Morrison
Case #: B291804
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 04/30/2019

The Sexually Violent Predator Act requires the filing of a commitment petition when both initial evaluators concur, even if they do so after originally disagreeing and after independent evaluators have also disagreed. Morrison was convicted of kidnapping and raping a minor. Before his release from prison, he was identified as a potential sexually violent predator (SVP). Two psychologists who evaluated Morrison disagreed about whether he met the criteria for an SVP commitment. Next, two independent psychologists evaluated him and they also disagreed. However, one of the initial reviewers later changed her opinion and concluded Morrison did meet the criteria after…

View Full Summary
Name: Landau v. Superior Court
Case #: G056050
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/15/2019

Petitioner's motion to quash subpoena was properly denied because Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) explicitly authorizes both parties to subpoena a sexually violent predator's otherwise confidential medical records. A jury found Landau to be a sexually violent predator (SVP) and the court ordered an indefinite commitment to the Department of State Hospitals. In advance of an evidentiary hearing/retrial, the district attorney served a subpoena duces tecum to obtain Landau's medical records, which Landau moved to quash. The trial court denied the motion. Landau filed a petition for a writ of mandate to challenge the denial. Held: Petition denied. Effective January…

View Full Summary
Name: State Dept. of State Hospitals
Case #: F077220
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/19/2018

A trial court has the discretionary authority to order an alleged SVP placed with the state hospital pre-commitment to be involuntarily medicated upon a proper finding the person is incompetent to refuse medical treatment. J.W. was referred for further confinement under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) and the trial court found probable cause to set the matter for trial. Pending trial, J.W. was ordered placed at Coalinga State Hospital pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 6602.5. Before his trial, a petition for involuntary medication was filed and the court granted the petition after an evidentiary hearing. On…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Superior Court (Smith)
Case #: S225562
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 12/13/2018

The district attorney prosecuting a civil commitment under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) may access treatment records supporting an updated or replacement expert report about the individual's suitability for designation as an SVP. The prosecution filed a petition to commit Smith as an SVP. Attached to the petition were evaluations by two mental health experts designated by the State Department of State Hospitals (SDSH) to examine Smith. Later, the prosecutor requested an updated evaluation and a replacement evaluation, and an order permitting his expert to review the SDSH evaluations and medical records on which the evaluations were based. The…

View Full Summary