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Name: People v. Olsen
Case #: H039814
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/12/2014

The trial court did not apply the correct standard in determining whether sexually violent predator's (SVP) petition for conditional release under Welfare and Institutions Code section 6608, subdivision (a) was frivolous. In February 2011, Olsen was committed as an SVP for an indeterminate term following a jury trial. In May 2013, he filed a petition for conditional release under section 6608 and attached a 2013 evaluation by a psychologist who concluded Olsen does meet the SVP criteria. The People filed a response with attachments, arguing that the petition should be dismissed as frivolous. After a hearing, the trial court…

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Name: People v. Shazier
Case #: S208398
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/18/2014

In sexually violent predator (SVP) trial, prosecutor committed misconduct by arguing that jurors would face contempt in their communities unless they found defendant to be an SVP; the error was harmless. Shazier was convicted of committing sexual offenses against young males on several occasions. While he remained incarcerated, the prosecution filed a petition to have him committed as an SVP. The jury's finding that Shazier was an SVP was overturned on appeal due to the cumulative prejudice from multiple instances of prosecutorial misconduct. The prosecution's petition for review was granted. Held: Reversed and remanded for decision of other appellate issues.…

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Name: People v. Gray
Case #: F065957
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/27/2014

Sexually Violent Predators Act (SVPA) does not violate equal protection rights of sexually violent predators who are subject to different treatment than mentally disordered offenders. Appellant challenged the constitutionality of the SVPA under which he was committed, contending that it violates the ex post facto and double jeopardy provisions of the federal and state constitutions, as well as his rights to due process and equal protection of the law. He conceded that the California Supreme Court has ruled against him on his due process, ex post facto, and double jeopardy claims. He further conceded that upon remand by the…

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Name: Gilbert v. Superior Court
Case #: E059673
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/03/2014

The prosecution may not use a subpoena duces tecum (SDT) to directly access an SVP's confidential treatment information that is not contained in an updated mental evaluation. The prosecution sought to commit Gilbert as a sexually violent predator (SVP) pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 6600. Gilbert was first evaluated in 2001 and probable cause for commitment was found. Updated evaluations were prepared in 2006 and 2009, and the trial court again found probable cause for commitment in 2010. Prior to his trial, Gilbert was sent to Coalinga State Hospital. After learning that Gilbert may have assaulted someone at…

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Name: People v. Kisling
Case #: C072497
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/28/2014

Appellant was not entitled to a hearing on whether his indeterminate commitment as a sexually violent predator (SVP) violates his equal protection rights because McKee II decided the issue adversely to him. In 2009, a jury found appellant to be an SVP and the trial court committed him to the State Department of Mental Health for an indeterminate term. Appellant appealed, contending the commitment violated his constitutional rights; namely, due process, ex post facto, and equal protection. While appellant's appeal was pending, the California Supreme Court in People v. McKee (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1172 (McKee I) rejected all but the…

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Name: People v. Hill
Case #: E054823
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 09/11/2013

Marsden procedure applies to sexually violent predator proceedings and where it is violated, the Chapman standard of prejudice applies. Hill appealed his commitment as a sexual violent predator (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600, et seq.). One issue raised on appeal challenged the trial court's refusal to consider Hill's Marsden motion. Held: Limited remand ordered. Hill was represented by court appointed counsel at the SVPA proceedings. Prior to trial he asked for a Marsden hearing, but the court denied him one. Although the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, which is the foundation of the Marsden procedure, does not apply to…

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Name: Reilly v. Superior Court
Case #: S202280
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/19/2013

Petitioner's SVP recommitment was wrongly set aside where doctors evaluated him under an invalid assessment protocol, but there was no finding of material error. Reilly was committed as a sexually violent predator (SVP) and, in 2008, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sought his recommitment. Two doctors evaluated him under the applicable assessment protocol and concluded that he was still an SVP. A recommitment petition was filed. While the petition was pending, the assessment protocol used in the evaluations was determined to be invalid and the doctors conducted updated evaluations under a new emergency protocol that was adopted…

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Name: People v. Nguyen
Case #: E048880
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/20/2013
Subsequent History: Review granted 11/26/13: S213703

Defendant's absence at SVP trial was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Nguyen was found to be a sexually violent predator (SVP) and committed to the Department of Mental Health (DMH) for an indeterminate term following a petition for recommitment. Nguyen appealed on the grounds that the trial court erred in allowing his counsel to waive his presence at trial, and also that the indeterminate term for SVPs violates state and federal guarantees of equal protection. The commitment order was affirmed on appeal, and Nguyen petitioned for review. The California Supreme Court retransferred the case to the appellate court…

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Name: People v. Smith
Case #: A135760
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 05/07/2013

Trial court erred in denying conditional release petition under Sexually Violent Predator Act without a hearing. After serving a prison term for assault with intent to commit rape, Smith was found to be a sexually violent predator (SVP) and committed to the Department of Mental Health. In April 2012 he filed a petition for conditional release and unconditional discharge (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6608). It was denied without hearing and Smith appealed. Held: Remanded for hearing. A person committed as an SVP may petition for conditional release and unconditional discharge any time after one year of commitment. Such petition…

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Name: People v. McDonald
Case #: G044963
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/28/2013

Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) does not violate equal protection by providing for indeterminate commitment and by placing burden on defendant to obtain release. Defendant had been the subject of numerous two-year SVP petitions since 1999. Based on a petition filed in January 2008, he was committed for an indeterminate term. On appeal he challenged his commitment on equal protection and due process grounds. Held: Affirmed. In People v. McKee (2012) 207 Cal.App.4th 1325 (McKee II) the court found that notwithstanding the similarities between SVP's, MDO's, and NGI's, SVP's as a class represent a greater danger to society and therefore,…

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