People v. Jackson, No. G059593 (Cal. Ct. App. 2022)
Nature of Case: At trial, Appellant was found to be a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) under the Sexually Violent Predator Act, Welfare and Institutions Code section 6600 et seq. As a result, the trial court ordered Appellant committed to the California Department of State Hospitals for an indeterminate amount of time.
Appellant argues that the trial court prejudicially erred by granting the prosecution’s motion to exclude Appellant’s only SVP expert witness from testifying at trial.
Holding: The California Court of Appeal reversed and remanded, holding in the context of SVP cases, in determining whether to exclude defense expert witness testimony, the trial court must consider both applicable statutory law and the defendant’s constitutional due process right to present such evidence. Here the appellate court held that the trial court’s exclusion of critical defense expert testimony to rebut the prosecution’s two expert witnesses deprived Appellant of a fair trial.