40 W. St. U. L. Rev. 73 (2012-2013)
California's Sexually Violent Predator Act and the Dangerous Patient Exception

handle is hein.journals/wsulr40 and id is 77 raw text is: California's Sexually Violent Predator Act and the
Dangerous Patient Exception
INTRODUCTION ............................................................. 73
I. BACKGROUND......................................................  74
A. The Sexually Violent Predator Act .........................74
B. Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege ...........................76
C. Dangerous Patient Exception..   ............................77
H. PEOPLE v. GONZALES..................................  ............. 78
III. SVP AND THE DANGEROUS PATIENT ExCEPTION......................     81
A. People v. Martinez & People v. Lakey   ....................... 81
B. In re Pedro M     ........................................ 83
C.  Story  v. Superior  Court.........................................  83
IV .  DISCUSSION ...........................................................  85
CONCLUSION..................................................... .......... 86
INTRODUCTION
California legislators, concerned with the continuing danger posed by certain
convicted sex offenders when they are released back into society, passed the Sexually
Violent Predator Act (SVPA) in 1995.' A study conducted by the Department of
Justice found sex offenders have a notoriously high rate of recidivism.2 Child
molesters are fifty percent more likely to reoffend than offenders convicted of other
types of sex crimes.3 In addition, child molesters with more than one prior arrest for
child molesting are more likely to be rearrested for molesting a child (7.3%) than child
molesters with no more than one such prior arrest (2.4%).4
The SVPA permits the state to file a petition that may result in certain
convicted sex offenders being involuntarily civilly committed once they are released
from prison.' Once a petition is filed, the court appoints two independent mental
health professionals to review the offender's criminal history and conduct individual
psychological assessments to determine the potential risk the offender poses to society
if released.6 If both mental health professionals believe the offender poses a moderate-
to-high risk of reoffending, the offender must stand trial (offender may choose
between a bench trial or jury trial) where the state must prove beyond a reasonable
doubt the offender would pose a significant risk to the public if released.7 If the trier
1. CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE §§ 6600-6609.3.
2.  Patrick A. Langan, Ph.D., Erica L. Schmitt & Matthew R. Durose. Recidivism of Sex Offenders
Released From Prison in 1994 (U.S. Dept. of Justice 2003). Available at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/
content/pub/pdf/rsop94.pdj (Accessed March 18, 2012).
3.  Id.
4.  Id.
5.  CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE§ 6601(a); See also Tanya M. Montano, Will California's Sexually
Violent Predators Act Survive Constitutional Attacks? 39 Santa Clara L. Rev. 317 (1998).
6.  CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE § 6601(b).
7.  CAL. WELF. & INST. CODE § 6603(c).

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