Today's Law As Amended

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

As Amends the Law Today

 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:

 (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 his or her  release. The person named in the petition shall be entitled to assistance of counsel at the probable cause hearing. Upon the commencement of the probable cause hearing, the  The  person shall remain in custody pending the completion of the probable cause hearing. If the  The judge shall dismiss the petition if the  judge determines there is not probable cause, he or she shall dismiss the petition  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 his or her  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 the 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 prior conviction of another sexual offense or offenses may be shown with documentary evidence. The details underlying the commission of 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.