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SB-1023 Sexually violent predators: open court proceedings.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 03/19/2020 09:00 PM
SB1023:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  March 19, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 1023


Introduced by Senator Bates

February 14, 2020


An act to add Section 6600.2 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1023, as amended, Bates. Sexually violent predators: open court proceedings.
Existing law provides for the civil commitment of criminal offenders who have been determined to be sexually violent predators for treatment in a secure state hospital facility, as specified. Existing law requires the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to refer a prisoner for evaluation by the State Department of State Hospitals when the secretary determines that the person may be a sexually violent predator and specifies the judicial processes necessary for civil commitment as a sexually violent predator, including, but not limited to, the right to a jury trial.
This bill would require that proceedings for the civil commitment of a sexually violent predator be in open court, on the record, unless compelling and extraordinary circumstances justify closing the courtroom to the public. the court makes certain express findings, including that there exists an overriding interest, based on compelling and extraordinary circumstances, that overcomes the right of public access to the proceedings. The bill requires that there be 10 days’ notice to all parties in a proceeding may occur before the closure.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 6600.2 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

6600.2.
 (a) In any proceeding under this article, the court shall hold a hearing in open court, on the record. A court shall close the courtroom to the public only upon a finding of compelling and extraordinary circumstances. The discussion of a petitioner or respondent’s psychological treatment shall not itself constitute compelling and extraordinary circumstances. making the findings described in subdivision (c).
(b) Any finding of compelling and extraordinary circumstances The findings described in subdivision (c) shall be made prior to closure of any portion of the proceedings and shall itself be in open court. Notice to all parties of the proposed closure shall be made at least 10 calendar days prior to the closure. Any closure of a public courtroom shall be narrowly tailored only to the portion of the proceedings under which the compelling and extraordinary circumstances justify the closure. Any closure is reviewable by writ of mandate by either party.
(c) The court may only close the court proceedings if it expressly finds facts that establish all of the following:
(1) There exists an overriding interest, based on compelling and extraordinary circumstances, that overcomes the right of public access to the proceedings. The discussion of a petitioner’s or respondent’s psychological treatment shall not itself constitute compelling and extraordinary circumstances.
(2) The overriding interest supports closing the proceedings.
(3) A substantial probability exists that the overriding interest will be prejudiced if the proceeding is open.
(4) The proposed closure is narrowly tailored to include only the portion of the proceedings for which there are compelling and extraordinary circumstances justifying the closure.
(5) No less restrictive means exist to achieve the overriding interest justified by the compelling and extraordinary circumstances.
(d) The court may only seal records of these proceedings pursuant to the California Rules of Court.