Original Proceeding Orange County Super. Ct. No. M11860, Ct.App. 4/3 G045118
Superior Court Orange County, Richard M. King, Judge
Deborah A. Kwast and Frank Ospino, Public Defenders, Jean Wilkinson, Chief Deputy Public Defender, Denise Gragg, Sharon Petrosino and Mark S. Brown, Assistant Public Defenders, for Petitioner.
Michael Leon Seaton as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Petitioner.
No appearance for Respondent.
Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General. Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Julie L.Garland, Assistant Attorney General, Steven T. Oetting and Bradley A. Weinreb, Deputy Attorneys General, for Real Party in Interest.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney (Orange) and Elizabeth Molfetta, Deputy District Attorney, for the Orange County District Attorney as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Real Party in Interest.
Counsel who argued in Supreme Court (not intended for publication with opinion): Mark S. Brown Assistant Public Defender, Bradley A. Weinreb, Deputy Attorney General
We granted review in this case to determine whether a court must dismiss a Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) civil commitment petition filed under Welfare and Institutions Code section 6600 et seq. if the Office of Administrative Law determines that the initial evaluations supporting the petition were conducted under an assessment protocol that did not comply with its procedural requirements. We conclude the court was not required to dismiss the commitment proceedings under these circumstances. Instead, an alleged sexually violent predator (SVP) must show that any fault that did occur under the assessment protocol created a material error. (See People v. Superior Court (Ghilotti) (2002) 27 Cal.4th 888, 913 (Ghilotti).) Because the Court of Appeal erroneously dismissed the SVPA commitment petition against Kevin Michael Reilly without requiring a finding of material error, we reverse the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
A. SVPA Statutory Framework
Under the SVPA, the state can civilly commit individuals found to be SVPs after they conclude their prison terms. (See People v. McKee (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1172, 1186-1187.) Section 6600, subdivision (a)(1) defines the SVP as “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.”
The Welfare and Institutions Code outlines the procedure for determining whether a person is an SVP. (§ 6600 et seq.) Under section 6601, whenever the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Department) determines that a person may be an SVP, the secretary refers that person to the Department and the Board of Parole Hearings for an initial screening. (§ 6601, subds. (a) (1), (b).) In screening, the Department considers “whether the person has committed a sexually violent predatory offense” and reviews “the person’s social, criminal, and institutional history.” (Id., subd. (b).) If the Department determines that the individual is likely to ...