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AB-1983 Sexually violent predator civil commitment: probable cause hearing.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 03/11/2020 09:00 PM
AB1983:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 11, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1983


Introduced by Assembly Member Gallagher
(Coauthor: Senator Nielsen)

January 23, 2020


An act to amend Section 6602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to sexually violent predators.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1983, as amended, Gallagher. Sexually violent predator civil commitment: probable cause hearing.
Existing law provides for the civil commitment of a person who is determined to be a sexually violent predator, as defined. Existing law requires the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to refer a person who is in custody under that department’s jurisdiction, who is serving a determinate sentence or whose parole has been revoked, for evaluation by the State Department of State Hospitals if the secretary determines that the person may be a sexually violent predator. Existing law establishes a screening process for the department and the Board of Parole Hearings to determine whether a person has committed a sexually violent offense, and to determine if the person is likely to be a sexually violent predator prior to referral to the State Department of State Hospitals for a full evaluation. Existing law requires, if the State Department of State Hospitals determines that the person is a sexually violent predator, as defined, the Director of State Hospitals to forward a request to a specified county for a petition to be filed for the person to be committed to a facility for mental health treatment. Existing law requires a judge of the superior court to review the petition and to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the individual is likely to engage in sexually violent predatory criminal behavior upon release.
This bill would authorize, at the probable cause hearing, the existence of evidence of any commission prior conviction of another sexual offense or offenses and the details underlying the commission of an another sexual offense that led to a prior conviction to be shown by documentary evidence.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) A small but extremely dangerous group of sexually violent predators, who have already been convicted and sentenced, have diagnosable mental health disorders that can be identified while they are incarcerated. If released, these habitual offenders represent a danger to the health and safety of others in that they are likely to engage in acts of sexual violence.
(b) It is in the best interest of society to identify these individuals prior to the expiration of their terms of imprisonment. Once identified, these individuals, if they are found at trial, beyond a reasonable doubt, to be likely to commit acts of sexually violent criminal behavior, should be confined and treated until such time as it can be determined that they no longer present a threat to society.
(c) Rape and sexual assault are known as the silent epidemic because it is generally accepted that less than one-half of rapes are reported to authorities. Many factors contribute to underreporting, including embarrassment, fear of further injury, and fear of court procedures that, too often, scrutinize and judge the victim’s behavior and history. The National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE) has helped millions of victims find the local services they need and deserve.
(d) Existing law allows for sexual assault victims to not participate in the prosecution of their attacker. However, their statements to law enforcement and case-specific facts about the crime, while documented in hospital records and police and probation reports, are critical to proving charged and uncharged predatory behavior in a sexually violent predator probable cause hearing.
(e) The use of hearsay evidence in probable cause hearings has already been approved in criminal proceedings, even before trial and conviction, as set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 872 of the Penal Code.
(f) In order to relieve the victims of the burden and trauma of testifying about the details of nonpredicate offenses at probable cause hearings in sexually violent predator cases, the Legislature intends that the use of multiple-level hearsay statements that do not otherwise fall within a hearsay exception may be used to show the details of a nonpredicate sexual offense. The language added by this act to Section 6602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is consistent with the statutory language used in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 6600 of the Welfare and Institution Code, which has been interpreted by the California Supreme Court in People v. Otto (2001) 26 Cal.4th 200, to provide an exception for multiple levels of hearsay.

SEC. 2.

 Section 6602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

6602.
 (a) A judge of the superior court shall review the petition and shall determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the individual named in the petition is likely to engage in sexually violent predatory criminal behavior upon release. The person named in the petition shall be entitled to assistance of counsel at the probable cause hearing. The person shall remain in custody pending the completion of the probable cause hearing. The judge shall dismiss the petition if the judge determines there is not probable cause and any person subject to parole shall report to parole. If the judge determines that there is probable cause, the judge shall order that the person remain in custody in a secure facility until a trial is completed and shall order that a trial be conducted to determine whether the person is, by reason of a diagnosed mental disorder, a danger to the health and safety of others in that the person is likely to engage in acts of sexual violence upon release from the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation or other secure facility.
(b) The probable cause hearing shall not be continued except upon a showing of good cause by the party requesting the continuance.
(c) The court shall notify the State Department of State Hospitals of the outcome of the probable cause hearing by forwarding to that department a copy of the minute order of the court within 15 days of the decision.
(d) At the probable cause hearing, the existence of evidence of any commission prior conviction of another sexual offense or offenses may be shown with documentary evidence. The details underlying the commission of an another sexual offense that led to a prior conviction may be shown by documentary evidence, including, but not limited to, police reports, hospital records, prison records, preliminary hearing transcripts, trial transcripts, and probation and sentencing reports.