Walker v. Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco, No. S263588 (Cal. 2021)
Nature of Case: In this case, the Supreme Court of California addressed the admissibility of hearsay evidence in probable cause hearings for involuntary civil commitment under The Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA).
Petitioner challenged the Court of Appeal’s denial of his writ petition, arguing that the trial court relied on inadmissible hearsay in finding probable cause by admitting two psychological evaluations that included factual details underlying two rape offenses for which Petitioner had been charged but not convicted. Petitioner argued that the trial court’s decision to admit this hearsay evidence represented prejudicial error.
Holding: The Supreme Court of California declined to find that the Legislature explicitly or implicitly created a hearsay exception in the context of SVPA probable cause hearings and reversed and remanded the matter to the trial court after concluding that inadmissible hearsay was foundational to the trial court’s probable cause determination.
- California Supreme Court Opinion | view via Google Scholar
- California Supreme Court Order Modifying Opinion and Denying Petition for Rehearing