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Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Parole Hearings in CA: CA Sex Crimes Criminal Defense Attorney: Summary of WIC 6600 SVP (Predatory Sex Crimes) Law

A sexually violent predator is a designation that is given to some state prisoners just before he or she is to be released from state prison and onto parole. If the inmate is determined to be a sexually violent predator (SVP), then he or she will not be released from state prison and onto parole, but rather, he or she will be committed to a state mental hospital under a civil commitment order.


SVP Basics (WIC 6600)


Parole Eligibility: Some state prison inmates who are sentenced to a determinate prison sentence (a prison sentence with an end date) may be released from prison and onto “parole.”


Note: The word “parole” is French in origin, and it originally meant to be released on his word, or to be released on his pledge or promise. Today, parole simply means to be released from state prison, either temporarily, or permanently.


Parole includes supervision where the post state-prison inmate is supervised by a parole officer. The purpose of parole is to help the parolee reintegrate into society after prison. There are terms, or “conditions” that the parolee must abide by to remain on parole and free from prison recommitment. The terms of parole vary depending on the length of prison sentence, the crime for which the prisoner was convicted, and more.


In some cases, when the prison inmate is about to be released onto parole, the Board of Parole Hearing (BPH) requests an order from the court to designate the inmate as a sexually violent predator (SVP).


If the prisoner is designated as a sexually violent predator, then he or she will not be released onto parole. Instead, the prisoner will be committed to a state mental hospital to be treated for his or her mental condition, and to further protect society from designated sexually violent predator (SVP). For more information, see Parole for Sex Crimes.


Sexual Violent Predator Designation


If the prison inmate’s underlying crime is a sex crime listed Welfare & Institutions Code (WIC) 6600, and the BPH suspects that the prisoner is likely to reoffend if he or she is released from prison, then the BOC may request a hearing to have the court designate the state prisoner as a sexually violent predator (SVP). The list of sex crimes that may trigger a sexually violent predator (SVP) designation is listed below.


Mental Disorder Diagnosis


In addition to finding that the prison inmate committed at least one of the enumerated sex crimes listed in WIC 6600, the court must also find that the prison inmate suffers from a recognizable mental disorder. The finding of the mental disorder does not have to be a mental disorder that is diagnosed before, or even during the prison inmate commitment to prison.


List of SVP Sex Crimes


Per WIC 6600, the prison inmate may be considered for sexual violent predator designation if he or she committed any of the following sex offenses while using force, violence, or threats of intimidation (Partial List):


PC 209(b) Kidnap for Sex Crime

PC 220(a) Sexual Assault

PC 261(a) Rape by Force or Fear

PC 261.1 Rape in Concert

PC 262 Spousal Rape

PC 269 Sexual Assault of a Child

PC 286 Sodomy

PC 287 Oral Copulation

PC 288(a) Lewd Act on a Child

PC 288(b) Lewd Act by Force

PC 288a Oral Copulation

PC 288.5 Continuous Sexual Abuse

PC 289 Sexual Penetration


The Process for Designation: The process for designating a prison inmate as a sexually violent predator (SVP) is as follows:


The BPH evaluates the prison inmate just prior to the inmate’s release from prison and onto parole. If the BPH suspects the inmate has a mental disorder that will make it likely that he or she will reoffend after release from prison, and the prison inmate’s underling criminal offense is one that is listed in WIC 6600 (See list above), then the BPH will refer the inmate for further screening with the California Sex Offender Management Board.


Thereafter, the California Sex Offender Management Board will request that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) hold the prison inmate in prison for up to 45 days beyond the prison inmate’s scheduled released date.


During those 45 days, the prison inmate will be evaluated by two psychologist and/or psychologist from the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to determine whether the prison inmate suffers from a recognizable mental disorder, and that mental disorder will make it likely that the prison inmate will reoffend if released from prison.


If the psychologist and/or psychologist disagree about the prison inmate’s disorder, the DMH will order a second review with two different psychologists and/or psychologists. If the second screening leads to further disagreement between the psychologists and/or psychologists, then the prison inmate will be released onto parole.


If the psychologist and/or psychologist agree that the prison inmate suffers from a recognizable mental disorder that will make is more likely that he or she will reoffend if released from state prison, then the prison inmate will be committed to a state mental hospital to address his or her mental disorder and to further protect society.


If the psychological and/or psychological both agree that the prison inmate does not suffer from a mental disease or defect (disorder) that will make it more likely that he or she will reoffend, then that prison inmate will be released from prison and onto parole as scheduled.


Civil Commitment for SVP


The prison inmate has a right to a hearing on the issue of whether he should be classified as a sexually violent predator (SVP).


Furthermore, the prison inmate has a right to an attorney if he or she cannot afford an attorney for the court hearing. The inmate may even use his or her own doctor in his defense. The prison inmate also has a right to have the matter decided by a jury, as opposed to the decision being made by a judge.


Note: The district attorney where the court hearing is held is the party who must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the prison inmate is a sexually violent predator (enumerated crime, plus mental health disorder), to either a judge or jury, before the court may commit the prison inmate to a mental hospital.


MHD Hearings for SVPs


If the prison inmate is civilly committed to a mental hospital after a designation of sexually violent predator (SVP), then that the “patient” may have a hearing once a year to determine whether the diagnosis of his or her mental health disorder remains unchanged. If the diagnosis changes, such that the patient is no longer designated a sexually violent predator, then the patient will be released onto parole at that time.


New Parole Conditions: If the prison inmate was committed to a mental hospital as a sexually violent predator (SVP), and then he or she is released onto parole after his or her SVP diagnosis changes to non-SVP, the CDCR will require special conditions of parole release, including possible GPS monitoring, mandatory sexual offender therapy classes, mandatory polygraph examinations, and more.


Parole Violations after SVP: After release from a state mental hospital and back onto parole, the parolee must comply with his or her conditions of parole, which include meeting the requirements of PC 290 registration (Sex Offender Registration). In fact, the failure to register as a sex offender during parole, or even after parole, can lead to new criminal charges. See Failure to Register as Sex Offender.


Sexual Violent Predator Law (Abbrev.)


WIC 6600(a)(1): “Sexually violent predator” means a person who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense against one or more victims and who has a diagnosed mental disorder that makes the person a danger to the health and safety of others in that it is likely that he or she will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior.


WIC 6600(b): “Sexually violent offense” means the following sex crimes when committed by force, violence, duress, menace,… a felony violation of PC 261, 262, 264.1, 269, 286 (sodomy), 287, 288a, 288, 288.5, or 289 of, or any felony violation of kidnapping or sexual assault (207, 209, or 220),… committed with the intent to commit PC 261, 262, 264.1, 286, 287, 288, or 289, or former PC 288a [Oral Copulation] (WIC 6600(b) Abbrev.).


WIC 6600(c): “Diagnosed mental disorder” includes a congenital or acquired condition affecting the emotional or volitional capacity that predisposes the person to the commission of criminal sexual acts in a degree constituting the person a menace to the health and safety of others.


WIC 6600(e): “Predatory” means an act is directed toward a stranger, a person of casual acquaintance with whom no substantial relationship exists, or an individual with whom a relationship has been established or promoted for the primary purpose of victimization.


WIC 6600.1: If the victim of an underlying offense that is specified in subdivision (b) of Section 6600 is a child under the age of 14, the offense shall constitute a “sexually violent offense...." (WIC 6600.1 Abbrev.).


WIC 6601(d): ...the person shall be evaluated by two practicing psychiatrists or psychologists..., designated by the Director of State Hospitals (DSH). If both evaluators concur that the person has a diagnosed mental disorder so that the person is likely to engage in acts of sexual violence without appropriate treatment and custody, the DSH shall forward a request for a petition for commitment…, WIC 6601(d) Abbrev.).


WIC 6601(e): If one of the professionals performing the evaluation… does not concur that the person meets the criteria…, but the other professional concludes that the person meets those criteria, the Director of State Hospitals shall arrange for further examination of the person by two independent professionals…, (WIC 6601(e) Abbrev.).


WIC 6601.3(a): Upon a showing of good cause, the Board of Parole Hearings may order that a person referred to the State Department of State Hospitals… remain in custody for no more than 45 days beyond the person’s scheduled release date for full evaluation… (WIC 6601.3 Abbrev.).


WIC 6603(a): A person subject to this statute is entitled to a trial by jury, to the assistance of an attorney, to the right to retain experts or professional persons to perform an examination on the person’s behalf, and to have access to all relevant medical and psychological records and reports…. (WIC 6603(a) Abbrev.)


WIC 6603(f): If the person subject to this article or the petitioning attorney does not demand a jury trial, the trial shall be before the court without a jury.


WIC 6603(g): A unanimous verdict shall be required in any jury trial.


WIC 6604.9(a): A person found to be a sexually violent predator (SVP) and committed to the custody of the State Department of State Hospitals shall have a current examination of his or her mental condition made at least once every year.... The person may retain or, if he or she is indigent and so requests, the court may appoint, a qualified expert or professional person to examine him or her.... (WIC 6604.9(a) Abbrev.).


For more information on California’s sexual violent predator statute, or welfare and institutions code section 6600, contact our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys. Our team of experienced and award-winning sex crimes criminal defense attorneys have helped hundreds of men and women charged just about every type of felony and misdemeanor sex crime in the Inland Empire.


Our successful and passionate sex crimes criminal defense attorneys, including trial attorneys, represent defendants charged with a sex crimes, including sexually violent predatory sex crimes (SVP Crimes), in the IE, including lewd acts on child (PC 288(a)), possession of child porn (PC 311.1), sexual battery (PC 243.4), prostitution (PC 647(b)), rape (PC 261(a)), oral copulation (PC 287), sexual penetration (PC 289(h)), continuous sexual abuse of a child (PC 288.5), engage in obscene live act (PC 311.6), and more. Call today!


909-913-3138


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Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Statute Explained

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