People v. Superior Court, No. A155969 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019)
Nature of Case: California authorities brought a civil commitment petition against an individual who was incarcerated for a sex offense. At the probably cause hearing, prosecutors submitted the case on the basis of expert evaluation reports, but did not produce live testimony. The respondent objected on the basis that the reports constituted inadmissible hearsay, and the trial court sustained the objection and excluded the reports. Because the state could not establish that the respondent met the statutory criteria, the petition was dismissed. The state thereafter sought review on the the evidentiary ruling.
Holding: California Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of the trial court in excluding the expert reports on the basis that they were inadmissible hearsay. In light of California caselaw, as well as the statutory structure of California’s SVP laws, the expert reports tendered by the state were inadmissible hearsay.
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