Supreme Court of California Justia
Citation 44 Cal. 4th 843, 187 P.3d 1018, 80 Cal. Rptr. 3d 183

People v. Allen

Filed 7/28/08

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA

THE PEOPLE,
Plaintiff and Respondent,
S148949
v.
Ct.App. 4/2 E039518
TONY LEE ALLEN,
San Bernardino County
Defendant and Appellant.
Super. Ct. No. FSB-47031

Defendant Tony Lee Allen committed two forcible rapes in 1990. (Pen.
Code, § 261, subd. (a)(2).) He pleaded guilty to those offenses and was sentenced
to 20 years in state prison. Upon his release from prison in 2001, he was
committed to Atascadero State Hospital (Atascadero) under the Sexually Violent
Predator Act. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600 et seq. (SVPA or Act).1) This case
arises from a proceeding to extend defendant’s commitment as a sexually violent
predator. At the trial by jury in the underlying proceeding, defendant personally
asserted a right and a desire to testify, but his counsel advised the court that for
tactical reasons counsel was opposed to defendant’s testifying. After informing
defendant that counsel controlled this decision, the court agreed it would not be in
1
All further statutory references are to this code unless otherwise specified.
1


defendant’s interest to testify. For this reason, defendant did not testify. After the
jury reached a verdict, the court extended his commitment.
We granted defendant’s petition for review to address the issue whether a
defendant in a sexually violent predator proceeding has a state or federal
constitutional right to testify over the objection of his or her counsel.2 We
conclude that a defendant in such a proceeding has a right under the California and
the federal Constitutions to testify despite counsel’s decision that he or she should
not testify. We further conclude that the denial of the right to testify is subject to
harmless error analysis under Chapman v. California (1967) 386 U.S. 18
(Chapman). Finally, we conclude that the trial court’s error in refusing to allow
defendant to testify was harmless.
I.
On November 29, 2004, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s
Office filed a petition to extend defendant’s commitment under the Act. On
January 5, 2005, the trial court held a hearing to determine whether there existed
probable cause to believe defendant was likely to engage in sexually violent
predatory criminal behavior absent appropriate treatment and custody. On
January 28, 2005, the trial court found probable cause and set the petition to
extend defendant’s commitment under the SVPA for a jury trial. (§ 6602.) Trial
2
The parties have not identified and this court has not located an opinion in
this state or any other state addressing this precise issue. Although a Washington
state court held that a sexually violent predator has a right to testify over the
objection of counsel, its holding was based upon Washington’s statutory scheme
governing the confinement of sexually violent predators, which provides that
defendants in such proceedings have all of the constitutional rights available to
defendants in criminal actions. (In re Detention of Haga (Wn.Ct.App. 1997) 943
P.2d 395, 396-397, disapproved on other grounds, State v. Robinson (Wn. 1999)
982 P.2d 590, 599.)
2
was held in August 2005, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict, and the trial
court declared a mistrial.3 Following retrial in November 2005, the jury found
true the allegation that defendant met the criteria of a sexually violent predator
under sections 6600 through 6604, and the court ordered defendant committed to a
state mental hospital for two years of confinement. (Former § 6604.)4
At trial, the People presented testimony of Drs. Robert Owen and Shoba
Sreenivasan, psychologists retained by the State Department of Mental Health to
evaluate defendant. The People also presented testimony of Dr. Jackson Rowland,
a psychiatrist employed at Atascadero. Defendant presented no evidence.
Dr. Robert Owen testified that he reviewed police reports and court
documents from the cases in which defendant pleaded guilty to rape, documents
from the Department of Corrections and from Atascadero, and other medical and
psychiatric records and reports concerning defendant.5 Subsequently, in October
2004, Owen met with defendant at Atascadero and interviewed him for
approximately one and one-half hours about his life, including his sexual history.
Owen also interviewed Michael Pritchard, a psychologist who was treating
defendant at Atascadero.
3
Defendant did not testify at the first trial on the petition to extend his
commitment.
4
The SVPA was amended in various respects by Proposition 83, The Sexual
Predator Punishment and Control Act: Jessica’s Law (hereinafter, Proposition 83),
which was approved by the voters at the General Election in November 2006.
Among the changes made by this enactment was an amendment to section 6604
providing a commitment for an indeterminate term rather than for two years.
5
The court admonished the jury that the information obtained by an expert
from documents prepared by others was admissible to explain the basis of the
expert’s opinions, but was not evidence of the truth of the information. The
documents upon which the experts relied were not admitted into evidence.
3
Owen began by describing the two rapes of which defendant was convicted.
In January 1990, defendant entered Sandra C.’s vehicle as she stopped in the
parking lot of a small store to buy a soda. He asked for a ride, and she told him to
leave. He demanded that she drive him “somewhere.” After she did so, he
directed her to stop the vehicle in an alleyway. He then pulled wires out of her
ignition, disabling her vehicle. He unscrewed the lock on her side of the car and
locked the doors, smoked cocaine and drank wine and forced her to do the same,
grabbed her by the hair, held a screwdriver to her throat, hit her with the wine
bottle, and sexually assaulted her. As he tried to reconnect the ignition wires, she
escaped from the car and was assisted by a passing driver in contacting the police.
Approximately two weeks later, defendant entered Lisa L.’s automobile
while she was waiting in the vehicle for a friend. Defendant wrapped his hands
around Lisa’s neck and dragged her out of her vehicle and to a dark area. She
resisted, but noticed that he had a hammer. He raped and sodomized her. In the
course of sexually assaulting her, defendant became angry and hit her in the face
and arms with his fist. After sexually assaulting her, he smoked cocaine and blew
smoke in her face and vagina.
Owen testified that these two offenses were predatory in nature because
both victims were strangers to defendant, and opined that any future offenses also
would be predatory. Owen explained that in evaluating whether a person’s
behavior reflects a sexual disorder, he focuses upon any pattern reflected in the
behavior. In support of his opinion that defendant suffers from a sexual disorder,
Owen testified concerning three incidents that occurred prior to the commission of
the rapes of Sandra C. and Lisa L. but that did not lead to convictions.
In July 1989, defendant asked for a ride from Rhonda A., a woman he
knew. She gave him a ride to one location, but then declined to drive him to
another location. He became angry, grabbed her by the hair, pulled out a knife,
4
forced her to the passenger side of the vehicle, and drove to various locations,
smoking cocaine and speaking with persons where he stopped. At one home
where they stopped, the occupants of the residence encouraged defendant to return
the vehicle to Rhonda, but he refused. Rhonda reported the incident to the police.6
The next day, he smoked cocaine with Tambria R., a woman he
encountered at a friend’s apartment. Defendant then removed his clothing and
asked Tambria to have sex with him. She was frightened by him and agreed to
have sexual relations to avoid being raped. Later the same day, he returned with
more cocaine, and when Tambria refused to have sex with him, he slapped her
face, threatened her with a bottle, and raped and sodomized her for more than an
hour. When defendant went to the restroom, Tambria escaped to a neighbor’s
apartment. The neighbor informed the police that Tambria was hysterical as she
reported the assault, and that Tambria told the neighbor to call the police because
the assailant had a beer bottle and was coming after her.
In September 1989, defendant approached Melanie H., 17 years of age,
outside a grocery store where she had arrived at approximately 6:00 p.m. to buy
food for her grandmother. Defendant asked Melanie to drink wine with him.
When she declined, he grabbed her by the throat, forced her to drink some wine,
and took her behind the store, where he ripped off her clothes and raped her on
cement steps in a loading zone. Some children walked by while the rape was
occurring, and Melanie motioned to them to get help. After raping Melanie,
6
Owen testified that, although the incident did not involve sexual
misconduct, it reflected defendant’s use of force, violence, and a weapon, as well
as his disregard for others. Owen viewed this incident as evidence tending to
establish that defendant is a psychopath, and testified that a psychopath who
suffers from paraphilia is likely to reoffend.
5
defendant wrote his telephone number on a piece of paper, gave it to her, and told
her to call him and meet him the next day or he would kill her. Melanie reported
the attack to the police. Owen testified that these assaults were predatory and
violent and demonstrated a lack of volitional and emotional control.
Owen further testified that while defendant was in prison, he stalked female
prison guards, attempted to be alone with them, made sexual statements to them,
wrote a note to one proposing a personal relationship, stared at a female guard
while standing in front of his cell door with the lights on and his erect penis
protruding from his boxer shorts, and stared at another female guard while
masturbating. This conduct led to defendant’s repeated segregation in prison, but
discipline did not deter him from continuing to engage in inappropriate sexual
conduct toward female prison staff. Defendant also violated other prison rules by
refusing to enter his cell, defacing property with gang graffiti, fighting with
cellmates, stealing, and refusing to report for work.
After defendant was committed to Atascadero in 2001, he sexually harassed
female staff members, stared at them for minutes at a time, attempted to move
close to them, touched one on the leg, exposed his penis, and wrote sexual notes to
staff, some of which were delivered by other patients whom defendant
intimidated. Defendant’s inappropriate behavior was reported to his parole officer
within days after defendant arrived at Atascadero; his parole was revoked, and he
was sentenced to an additional year in custody. While serving his sentence in
2002, defendant continued to defy authority and, in one incident, grabbed the arm
of a female officer in the county jail and told her, “You know what I want.”
Defendant continued to engage in inappropriate sexual behavior after he
returned to Atascadero from county jail. He stared at female staff members and
approached them. He told a staff member he would see her again outside of
Atascadero. He loitered at the door of a female social worker whom he had been
6
stalking, despite having been told he was not allowed to be near the social worker
except in a class setting. He stared into her office window intently, said he wanted
to speak to the social worker, and declined to leave. According to Owen,
defendant “had to be within line of sight of staff because he was stalking so many
women at the hospital.” Owen viewed this conduct as evidence tending to
establish that defendant cannot control his sexual drive.
Owen also noted defendant’s long criminal record. When he was a
juvenile, defendant was arrested for illegal possession of weapons and placed on
probation. In 1985, at 18 years of age, defendant was found in possession of
cocaine in a house in which weapons were found. His crimes from 1986 through
1988 included trespass, burglary, grand theft, robbery, possession of drugs, and
resisting a peace officer. As noted above, the uncharged conduct against Rhonda
A., Tambria R., and Melanie H. occurred in 1989, and the predicate offenses
occurred in 1990, after which time he has been continuously in prison, county jail,
or Atascadero.
Based upon defendant’s long criminal history, deceitfulness, violent
conduct, reckless behavior toward others, lack of remorse, and lack of empathy,
Owen concluded that defendant’s mental disorders include paraphilia (specifically,
an urge for sex with nonconsenting adults), antisocial personality disorder,
psychosis, and cocaine dependency. To assess the likelihood that defendant will
reoffend, Owen reviewed risk factors that are considered in making an assessment
on the “Static-99” scale, which predicts the likelihood that an individual will
reoffend. Based upon various risk factors, such as his age (37 years of age at the
time of trial), history, behavior, and lifestyle, defendant’s score on the Static-99
scale was an eight. Men with similar scores have a 39 percent probability of being
convicted of a new sexual offense within five years of returning to the community,
a 45 percent probability of such a conviction within 10 years, and a 52 percent
7
probability of such a conviction within 15 years. Owen explained that these
figures underestimate the probability that an individual will commit another sexual
crime, because the figures relate only to convictions for new sexual offenses and
do not include conduct that does not lead to an arrest and conviction. Owen also
testified that defendant was in the second phase of a five-phase sex offender
treatment program at Atascadero, but he explained that defendant’s treatment had
not really begun, because defendant continued to deny committing any sexual
offenses. Owen concluded defendant is in a high-risk category for reoffending.
Owen confirmed that defendant earned his high school graduate
equivalency degree and also participated in classes concerning human sexuality
and medications and their side effects. Defendant participated in Alcoholics
Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, anger management, and interpersonal skills
groups. He attended popcorn socials and bingo games, and exercised in the gym.
Defendant expressed concern regarding his mother, and spoke of his brother and
his son.
Dr. Shoba Sreenivasan also reviewed background documents and
interviewed defendant. She explained that her diagnosis of defendant was based
upon behavior over his lifetime, and provided additional details concerning that
behavior. She testified that defendant had reported to her that when he was 13
years of age, he and three other boys of similar age had engaged in sexual relations
with a girl who was 13 years of age. Defendant had rejected Sreenivasan’s
suggestion that the incident was a gang rape, and instead seemed to perceive that
“this thirteen-year-old girl really wanted to have sex with all four of these boys.”
Sreenivasan noted that law enforcement records reflect — in addition to
defendant’s lengthy criminal history and wide range of criminal behavior — that
defendant had used seven or eight aliases, which demonstrated a pattern of being
untruthful. She observed that when defendant was confined at Atascadero before
8
his parole was revoked, he received eight “behavioral notes” in a six-day period
instructing him to cease engaging in various behavior. She concluded from his
behavior that he had “no boundaries” and respected no one. When defendant
returned to Atascadero in 2003, he participated in a treatment program, but his
participation did not diminish his inappropriate behavior. For example,
immediately after concluding a group session, he left the room and began stalking
a female social worker. When defendant was told to stop circling female staff in
an outdoor courtyard where the staff took their breaks, he laughed and continued
the behavior at a further distance. He also was observed staring at a female
student while he had a visible erection, and was seen in a public area with a visible
erection. In Sreenivasan’s opinion, defendant was “just showing up at treatment”
and was not making progress in addressing his sexual deviancy.
Sreenivasan diagnosed defendant with untreated paraphilia, a personality
disorder, and cocaine dependence. She stated that his Static-99 score of eight is
very high; individuals with a score of six or higher are in the highest risk group.
She agreed with the probabilities of reconviction as noted by Owen, and added
that research data concerning high-risk offenders released from California prisons
in 1989 and 1990 reflect that 90 percent of those with a score of six on the Static-
99 scale committed another sexual offense within 14 years, and all of those with a
score of seven or higher committed another sexual offense within that period.
Sreenivasan also testified that approximately two-thirds of sexual assaults are not
reported to the police, and that approximately 60 percent of the reported assaults
are not solved. Therefore, the probabilities reflected in the Static-99 evaluation
underestimate the risk that an individual will reoffend. She confirmed on cross-
examination that originally she had given defendant a score of six on the Static-99
scale, which is the low end of the high range, but explained that she arrived at a
score of eight after she received more information concerning his criminal history.
9
Dr. Jackson Rowland treated defendant when he was admitted to
Atascadero in 2001, and again beginning in 2003 when defendant returned to
Atascadero, until he was transferred to county jail in December 2004 for the
underlying proceeding to extend his commitment. Rowland testified concerning
defendant’s inappropriate behavior toward female staff at Atascadero, such as
writing “love letters” to staff, stalking staff, and exposing himself. Rowland stated
that defendant suffers from paraphilia, and also seems to have erotomanic
delusions, signifying that he believes women are in love with him. According to
Rowland, female employees complained about defendant’s inappropriate behavior
“[a]ll the time.” When staff confronted defendant concerning instances of
inappropriate behavior, he would deny that such behavior occurred.
Rowland testified that in addition to defendant’s paraphilia and delusions,
defendant suffers from a psychotic disorder, which is characterized by
disorganized and confused thinking. For example, when defendant arrived at
Atascadero, he was unable to perform the minimal tasks required by Atascadero
“Patient Access System” in order to be allowed to visit areas of the hospital
outside of his unit. To travel to another location in the hospital, such as the
library, a patient must write his or her destination, and the time of the visit, on two
“hall cards.” Defendant required several weeks to prepare such cards successfully
and to travel to the identified destination; on numerous occasions, he failed to
complete the hall cards, or he prepared them incorrectly, or he would be found
someplace other than the destination specified on his card.
Rowland recommended to defendant that he take medication for his
psychotic disorder. Despite hours spent by Rowland as well as a staff
psychologist, the supervisor of defendant’s unit, and a social worker, explaining to
defendant the necessity of medication, he declined to take medication because he
did not believe he has a psychotic disorder. Defendant eventually agreed to take a
10
lower dose of the medication than recommended, if he was rewarded with a peanut
butter and jelly sandwich at night. While on medication, defendant’s behavior
improved sufficiently to elevate him to level three of the Patient Access System,
which allowed him to prepare a hall card and travel outside his unit to another
location in the hospital. When defendant was not taking medication, he was on
level one of the Patient Access System, and therefore was confined to his unit
within the hospital.
After several months of taking the first medication prescribed, defendant
discontinued its use when he learned that diabetes is a potential side effect, despite
defendant’s lack of any diabetic symptoms. Some weeks later, he agreed to take a
low dose — less than half of the therapeutic dose — of a different medication, and
he took it “on and off” while at Atascadero but complained of its sedative effect.
Rowland explained to defendant that he would experience side effects at first, but
those would dissipate “and then the good [e]ffects would come into play,” but
according to Rowland, defendant “never received an adequate trial” of either
medication. Rowland testified defendant’s medical records reflect that after his
transfer to county jail for the present proceedings, defendant was asked numerous
times to take medication but refused, stating he did not need to take medication
because there was nothing wrong with him.
Rowland described the five phases of treatment provided at Atascadero.
Phase one is an “informational phase,” during which the staff helps a patient
understand the program, and the patient decides whether to accept treatment. If
the patient accepts treatment, he or she enters phase two, during which the patient
learns about his or her “cognitive distortions,” which Rowland described as the
distorted thought processes that allow the patient to rationalize, justify, and engage
in inappropriate behaviors. In phase three, the patient applies what he or she has
learned in phase two to the patient’s current behavior, with the goal of interacting
11
more appropriately with staff and other patients. When appropriate behavior is
achieved, the patient enters phase four, which involves preparation for entering the
community. Finally, in phase five, the patient is released from the hospital and
resides in the community, but remains supervised. Rowland testified that
defendant is in phase two of the treatment program, and “if he’s released today,
he’d be as he was when he entered the facility. There’s been no substantial
progress . . . in any regard.”
During the trial, defendant’s counsel stated his intention not to call any
witnesses on defendant’s behalf, but informed the court that defendant desired to
testify and that counsel desired that defendant not testify. The court expressed the
view that, because an SVPA proceeding is not a criminal proceeding, counsel had
authority to decide whether his client would testify.
When the court inquired as to the subject matter upon which defendant
wished to testify, counsel identified three topics. First, defendant would address
the issue of the asserted consent of the female victims to the predicate offenses and
the uncharged conduct. The court responded that the issue of consent was “not
relevant and germane at this point.”
Second, defendant would testify that “he has not refused to take medication
to the extent that people in this case have testified to; that he has basically been
glad to take medication that he’s been offered except for some further and
subsequent understanding regarding the side effects.” The court asked defendant,
“Is that correct?” Defendant responded, “Um, yes. To a degree.” The court
acknowledged the relevance of such testimony but “suspect[ed] that as soon as he
testified in that area, there would be rebuttal testimony on behalf of the People,
and it might be counterproductive for him.” Defense counsel agreed with the
court’s assessment. The court observed that “if Counsel has made a decision from
a tactical standpoint, the Court has to recognize that decision.” The court then
12
inquired whether counsel had adequately described the reasons for counsel’s
decision. Defendant responded that “he has a right to his opinion, but I do have a
right to testify.” Defendant also asserted that the SVPA afforded him a statutory
right to testify. The court explained to defendant that this is not a criminal
proceeding, and informed defendant that “the decision by trial counsel is
paramount.”
Third, in response to a question from the court, directed to defendant,
whether there were any other areas about which he wished to testify, defendant
responded “inappropriate behavior.”7 Counsel then explained, “as an offer of
proof I believe he would deny many of the allegations that have been made.”
Defendant interjected, “No. I wouldn’t deny.” Counsel then stated, “or even
worse, I think he would testify that — that the women somehow flirted with or
made some advancements towards him. I think the Court can understand why I
believe that testimony would be counterproductive.” Defendant did not disagree
with counsel’s amended description of his proffered testimony. The court
predicted that the People would call a witness to rebut such testimony, and the
district attorney stated that she would “have Dr. Rowland here who could testify to
each and every incident, if we have to, and take the records apart.” Defendant
countered that Dr. Rowland “doesn’t see me. He just looks at the reports, and
7
Defendant’s reference to “inappropriate behavior” apparently concerned his
conduct in Atascadero, and perhaps his conduct in prison. The phrase
“inappropriate behavior” was used throughout the proceeding to refer to
defendant’s conduct at these two institutions. In addition, the prosecutor
responded to this proffer of testimony by confirming that Dr. Rowland “could
testify to each and every incident.” Defendant disputed the value of Dr.
Rowland’s testimony, but did not suggest that his own testimony would concern
“inappropriate behavior” other than the incidents Dr. Rowland might address.
13
people write reports, you know. People falsify information.” The court
responded, “I think it boils down to an issue of credibility, and I don’t think it
would be in your best interest.”
The court proceeded with the trial, without testimony from defendant, and
the jury found true the allegation that defendant meets the criteria of a sexually
violent predator pursuant to sections 6600 through 6604.
II.
The SVPA was enacted to identify incarcerated individuals who suffer from
mental disorders that predispose them to commit violent criminal sexual acts, and
to confine and treat such individuals until it is determined they no longer present a
threat to society. (Hubbart v. Superior Court (1999) 19 Cal.4th 1138, 1143-1144
(Hubbart).) At the time of the underlying proceeding to extend defendant’s
commitment, the Act defined a sexually violent predator as “a person who has
been convicted of a sexually violent offense against two 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.” (Former § 6600, subd. (a)(1), as amended by Stats. 2000,
ch. 643, § 1.)8 “Sexually violent offense[s]” consist of enumerated sex crimes
“when committed by force, violence, duress, menace, fear of immediate and
unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person, or threatening to retaliate
in the future against the victim or any other person . . . .” (§ 6600, subd. (b).) In
addition, if one of these enumerated crimes is committed against a child under the
8
Proposition 83 amended the definition of a sexually violent predator to
include individuals who have been convicted of a sexually violent offense against
one or more victims. (§ 6600, subd. (a)(1).)
14
age of 14 years, the crime constitutes a “sexually violent offense.” (§ 6600.1,
subd. (a).)
The process for confining an individual pursuant to the SVPA begins when
the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation determines that
an individual in the custody of the department may be a sexually violent predator,
and the secretary refers the individual to the State Department of Mental Health
for an evaluation. If two evaluators concur that the individual meets the statutory
criteria of a sexually violent predator, the Director of Mental Health shall request
the county in which the person was convicted of the offense for which he or she is
incarcerated to file a petition for commitment under the SVPA. (§ 6601.)
If the trial court determines that the petition establishes “probable cause to
believe that the individual named in the petition is likely to engage in sexually
violent predatory criminal behavior upon his or her release,” the court shall order a
trial to determine whether the person is a sexually violent predator. (§§ 6601.5,
6602.) The individual “shall be entitled to a trial by jury, to the assistance of
counsel, to the right to retain experts or professional persons to perform an
examination on his or her behalf, and to have access to all relevant medical and
psychological records and reports.” (§ 6603, subd. (a).) If the individual is
indigent, the court shall appoint counsel and assist the individual in obtaining an
expert evaluation and expert assistance at trial. (Id.) To secure the individual’s
commitment, the district attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the
person is a sexually violent predator. (§ 6604.) When a jury decides the case, its
verdict must be unanimous. (§ 6603, subd. (f).) The statutory scheme does not,
however, expressly grant the defendant a right to testify.
At the time of the hearing upon the petition to extend defendant’s
commitment, the SVPA provided: “If the court or jury determines that the person
is a sexually violent predator, the person shall be committed for two years to the
15
custody of the State Department of Mental Health for appropriate treatment and
confinement in a secure facility designated by the Director of Mental Health . . . .”
(Former § 6604, as amended by Stats. 2000, ch. 420, § 3.)9 The Act also required,
at least once a year, an examination of the defendant’s mental condition, and
afforded the defendant a right to retain or, if indigent, to have appointed, an expert
to examine the defendant and review all records concerning the defendant.
(Former § 6605, subd. (a), added by Stats. 1995, ch. 763, § 3, p. 5926.10) The Act
required notice to a defendant of his or her right to petition the court for
conditional release. If a defendant did not affirmatively waive the right to seek
conditional release, the Act required the court to “set a show cause hearing to
determine whether facts exist that warrant a hearing on whether [the defendant’s]
condition has so changed that he . . . would not be a danger to the health and safety
of others if discharged.” (Former § 6605, subd. (b) , added by Stats. 1995,
9
Proposition 83 amended section 6604 to provide that “the person shall be
committed for an indeterminate term to the custody of the State Department of
Mental Health for appropriate treatment and confinement in a secure facility
designated by the Director of Mental Health . . . .” (§ 6604, italics added.)
10
Proposition 83 retained these provisions, and added requirements
concerning the content and dissemination of the annual report on the defendant’s
mental condition: “The annual report shall include consideration of whether the
committed person currently meets the definition of a sexually violent predator and
whether conditional release to a less restrictive alternative or an unconditional
release is in the best interest of the person and conditions can be imposed that
would adequately protect the community. The Department of Mental Health shall
file this periodic report with the court that committed the person under this article.
The report shall be in the form of a declaration and shall be prepared by a
professionally qualified person. A copy of the report shall be served on the
prosecuting agency involved in the initial commitment and upon the committed
person.” (§ 6605, subd. (a).)
16
ch. 763, § 3, p. 5926.)11 If such facts were found, the court was required to hold a
hearing on the issue, at which the defendant would be entitled to all of the
constitutional protections afforded at his or her initial commitment hearing.
(§ 6605, subds. (c), (d).) A verdict against the defendant would result in a new
two-year commitment, and a verdict for the defendant would lead to his or her
unconditional release. (Former § 6605, subd. (e), added by Stats. 1995, ch. 763,
§ 3, p. 5926.)12 Alternatively, if the State Department of Mental Health had
reason to believe the defendant no longer was a sexually violent predator, it was
required to seek judicial review of the commitment pursuant to section 7250.
(§§ 6605, subd. (f), 7250 [any person who has been committed to a state hospital
for the mentally disordered is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus upon a proper
application by the State Department of Mental Health, the person, or a friend or
relative].) Finally, the SVPA did not “prohibit the person who has been
committed as a sexually violent predator from petitioning the court for conditional
release and subsequent unconditional discharge without the recommendation or
11
Proposition 83 replaced subdivision (b)’s provisions concerning notice of
the defendant’s right to petition for conditional release and the court’s duty to set a
show cause hearing, with provisions that require the State Department of Mental
Health to authorize the defendant “to petition the court for conditional release to a
less restrictive alternative or for an unconditional discharge” “[i]f the Department
of Mental Health determines that either: (1) the person's condition has so changed
that the person no longer meets the definition of a sexually violent predator, or
(2) conditional release to a less restrictive alternative is in the best interest of the
person and conditions can be imposed that adequately protect the community.”
(§ 6605, subd. (b).) Upon receipt of a petition, the court “shall order a show cause
hearing at which the court can consider the petition and any accompanying
documentation provided by the medical director, the prosecuting attorney or the
committed person.” (Ibid.)
12
Proposition 83 amended section 6605, subdivision (e), to provide that a
commitment will be for an indeterminate period.
17
concurrence of the Director of Mental Health.” (Former § 6608, subd. (a), added
by Stats. 1995, ch. 763, § 3, p. 5926.)13 No hearing could be held on a defendant’s
petition, however, until the defendant had been committed for at least one year.
(§ 6608, subd. (c).)
III.
The defendant in a criminal proceeding has a right to testify over the
objection of his or her counsel. As we have explained in that context, “the right to
testify in one’s own behalf is of such fundamental importance that a defendant
who timely demands to take the stand contrary to the advice given by his counsel
has the right to give an exposition of his defense before a jury. (People v. Blye
[(1965)] 233 Cal.App.2d 143, 149.) The defendant’s insistence upon testifying
may in the final analysis be harmful to his case, but the right is of such importance
that every defendant should have it in a criminal case. Although normally the
decision whether a defendant should testify is within the competence of the trial
attorney (see People v. Gutkowsky [(1963)] 219 Cal.App.2d 223, 227), where, as
here, a defendant insists that he wants to testify, he cannot be deprived of that
opportunity.” (People v. Robles (1970) 2 Cal.3d 205, 215, fn. omitted (Robles).)
Proceedings to commit an individual as a sexually violent predator in order
to protect the public are civil in nature. (Kansas v. Hendricks (1997) 521 U.S.
346, 361-369 [because Kansas’s sexually violent predator scheme was not
intended to punish, it did not violate ex post facto prohibition or constitute double
13
The current version of section 6608 provides that a person committed under
the SVPA is not prohibited from petitioning for “conditional release or an
unconditional discharge” (italics added), and requires that the person petitioning
for such relief serve a copy of the petition upon the State Department of Mental
Health.
18
jeopardy]; Hubbart, supra, 19 Cal.4th 1138, 1170-1179 [because California’s
SVPA does not inflict punishment, it does not violate the federal or state ex post
facto clauses]; see § 6250 [persons subject to commitment under the SVPA “shall
be treated, not as criminals, but as sick persons”].) Therefore, the Fifth
Amendment’s guarantee against compulsory self-incrimination does not apply in
proceedings under the SVPA. (Allen v. Illinois (1986) 478 U.S. 364, 375; People
v. Leonard (2000) 78 Cal.App.4th 776 (Leonard).) Nor do the Sixth Amendment
rights to self-representation and to confront witnesses apply in such proceedings.
(People v. Otto (2001) 26 Cal.4th 200, 214 [reliable hearsay statements concerning
the predicate offenses are admissible in an SVP proceeding; “[t]here is no right to
confrontation under the state and federal confrontation clause in civil
proceedings”] (Otto); People v. Fraser (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 1430, 1446
(Fraser) [“because a civil commitment proceeding under the SVPA has a
nonpunitive purpose and is therefore not equivalent to a criminal prosecution, we
determine that there is no Sixth Amendment right to self-representation in SVPA
proceedings”]; People v. Angulo (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 1349, 1367 [rejecting
reliance upon Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 36 in an SVP proceeding,
because Crawford “was based solely on the Sixth Amendment right of
confrontation”].)
Notwithstanding the repeated rejection in these and other cases of the
applicability of constitutional rights afforded to criminal defendants in the context
of proceedings under the SVPA, defendant contends that the right of a criminal
defendant to testify over the objection of his or her counsel should apply in such
proceedings because these proceedings include many of the procedural protections
afforded in criminal cases, such as the right to court-appointed counsel and
experts, the right to trial by jury and a unanimous verdict, and the requirement of
proof beyond a reasonable doubt to support the verdict. This theory for the
19
importation of criminal constitutional rights into civil commitment proceedings
has been rejected in other cases. The state’s provision of procedural protections
similar to those afforded criminal defendants “does not transform a civil
commitment proceeding into a criminal prosecution.” (Kansas v. Hendricks,
supra, 521 U.S. at 364-365; see also Hubbart, supra, 19 Cal.4th at p. 1174, fn. 33
[“the use of procedural safeguards traditionally found in criminal trials [does] not
mean that commitment proceedings [are] penal in nature”].) Defendant also cites
the circumstance that both criminal and SVPA proceedings are brought by the
district attorney or the attorney general in the name of the People, and notes that
both types of proceedings concern “the defendant’s liberty interests and society’s
interest in protecting itself against dangerous persons.” These observations fail to
establish that proceedings under the SVPA share the characteristics necessary to
transform a civil commitment proceeding into a criminal proceeding, the latter
having the underlying purpose of punishing the defendant. (Hubbart, supra, 19
Cal.4th at p. 1171.)
Defendant next contends that Proposition 83, which was approved by the
voters in November 2006, establishes that a purpose of proceedings under the
SVPA is to punish individuals found to be sexually violent predators. The trial of
the allegations under the petition to extend defendant’s commitment occurred in
2005, prior to the passage of Proposition 83. Moreover, defendant’s reliance upon
references in the preamble of Proposition 83 to “adequate penalties” and “laws
that punish,” and upon the circumstance that many of the amendments made by
Proposition 83 concern the punishment of sex offenders, is misplaced. Proposition
83 amended the Penal Code as well as the Welfare and Institutions Code. The
intent to punish sexually violent predators through Penal Code provisions that
apply to criminal prosecutions does not establish an intent to punish sexually
violent predators through Welfare and Institutions Code provisions that apply to
20
civil commitment proceedings. Although Proposition 83 made amendments to
both the criminal and the civil schemes, it recognized the different purposes of
these two schemes, stating in the preamble: “Existing laws that punish aggravated
sexual assault, habitual sexual offenders, and child molesters must be strengthened
and improved. In addition, existing laws that provide for the commitment and
control of sexually violent predators must be strengthened and improved.” (Voter
Information Guide, Gen. Elect. (Nov. 6, 2006) text of Prop. 83, § 2, subd. (h),
p. 127, italics added.) For the same reason, the argument of the proponents of
Proposition 83 that “[o]ur families deserve the protection of a tough sex offender
punishment and control law” (Voter Information Guide, Gen. Elec., supra,
argument in favor of Prop. 83, p. 46) does not establish that the provisions of
Proposition 83 addressing the civil commitment of sexually violent predators were
intended to punish defendants.
IV.
Our conclusion that the right of a criminal defendant to testify over the
objection of his or her counsel does not extend to an individual who is the subject
of a proceeding under the SVPA does not end our analysis. “Because civil
commitment involves a significant deprivation of liberty, a defendant in an
SVP[A] proceeding is entitled to due process protections. (Foucha v. Louisiana
(1992) 504 U.S. 71, 80.)” (Otto, supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 209; see Martinez v. Court
of Appeal (2000) 528 U.S. 152, 161 [“In light of our conclusion that the Sixth
Amendment does not apply to appellate proceedings, any individual right to self-
representation on appeal based on autonomy principles must be grounded in the
Due Process Clause”]; Fraser, supra, 138 Cal.App.4th at 1446 [“Absent a Sixth
Amendment right [to self-representation in SVPA proceedings], the individual
right to self-representation ‘must be grounded in the Due Process Clause’ ”].)
21
“ ‘Once it is determined that [the guarantee of] due process applies, the
question remains what process is due.’ (Morrisey v. Brewer (1972) 408 U.S. 471,
481.) We have identified four relevant factors: (1) the private interest that will be
affected by the official action; (2) the risk of an erroneous deprivation of such
interest through the procedures used, and the probable value, if any, of additional
or substitute procedural safeguards; (3) the government’s interest, including the
function involved and the fiscal and administrative burdens that the additional or
substitute procedural requirement would entail; and (4) the dignitary interest in
informing individuals of the nature, grounds, and consequences of the action and
in enabling them to present their side of the story before a responsible government
official. ([In re] Malinda S. [(1990)] 51 Cal.3d [368,] 383.)” (Otto, supra, 26
Cal.4th at p. 210.)14
We begin with the private interests at stake. As we noted in Otto, supra, 26
Cal.4th 200, “the private interests that will be affected by [a finding that the
defendant continues to be a sexually violent predator] are the significant
limitations on [the defendant’s] liberty, the stigma of being classified as [a
sexually violent predator], and subjection to unwanted treatment. [Citation.]” (Id.
at p. 210.) The circumstance that a commitment is civil rather than criminal
scarcely mitigates the severity of the restraint upon the defendant’s liberty.
14
Defendant does not distinguish between his rights under the federal and
state Constitutions. “Although the state and federal Constitutions differ somewhat
in determining when due process rights are triggered, once it has been concluded
that a due process right exists we balance similar factors under both approaches to
decide what process is due.” (In re Malinda S., supra, 51 Cal.3d at p. 383, fn.
omitted; see also Hubbart, supra, 19 Cal.4th at p. 1152, fn. 19 [“While we
recognize our power and authority to construe the state Constitution independently
[citation], we find no pressing need to do so here”].)
22
(Conservatorship of Roulet (1979) 23 Cal.3d 219, 223-227.) “[T]he California
Legislature has recognized that the interests involved in civil commitment
proceedings are no less fundamental than those in criminal proceedings and that
liberty is no less precious because forfeited in a civil proceeding than when taken
as the consequence of a criminal conviction.” (In re Gary W. (1971) 5 Cal.3d 296,
307 [holding that the right to trial by jury is a requirement of due process and
equal protection in a proceeding to extend detention by the Youth Authority for
treatment].) Thus, the first factor weighs heavily in favor of providing all
reasonable procedures to prevent the erroneous deprivation of liberty interests.15
Second, we consider the risk, in the absence of a right to testify, of an
erroneous finding that the defendant is a sexually violent predator and the probable
value, in reducing this risk, of allowing him or her to testify over the objection of
counsel. In evaluating this factor, the Court of Appeal looked to the analysis in
Otto, supra, 26 Cal.4th 200. Otto addressed section 6600, subdivision (a)(3),
which authorizes the admission of documentary evidence — including preliminary
hearing transcripts, trial transcripts, probation and sentencing reports, and
evaluations by the State Department of Mental Health — to establish the details
surrounding the commission of predicate offenses. The defendant in Otto
contended that reliance upon hearsay evidence in such reports violated his due
process right to be convicted only upon reliable evidence. In addressing whether
the challenged procedure enhanced the risk of an erroneous deprivation of the
defendant’s liberty interests, the court in Otto agreed that “the victim hearsay
statements must contain special indicia of reliability to satisfy due process,”

15
To the extent Proposition 83 has increased the burden upon liberty interests
by requiring only one predicate offense and imposing an indeterminate term of
commitment, it has increased the weight of the first factor.
23


because hearsay “permeates not only the substantial sexual conduct component of
the prior crime determination, but also the psychological experts’ ‘conclusion that
[Otto] was and remained a pedophile . . . likely to reoffend.’ [Citation.] Thus, if
these facts are unreliable, a significant portion of the foundation of the resulting
[sexually violent predator] finding is suspect.” (Otto, supra, 26 Cal.4th at pp. 210-
211.) We concluded in Otto that “the victims’ hearsay statements possess
sufficient indicia of reliability to satisfy due process.” (Id. at p. 211.) We added:
“Implicit in the above discussion are other factors (in addition to the reliability of
the victims’ hearsay statements) that diminish the risk of an erroneous deprivation
of rights as a result of reliance on the hearsay statements, and the probable value
of additional or substitute procedural safeguards. Otto had the opportunity to
present the opinions of two psychological experts, and cross-examine any
prosecution witness who testified. Moreover, the trial court retained discretion
under Evidence Code section 352 to exclude unreliable hearsay, which acted as a
further safeguard against any due process violation.” (Id. at p. 214.)
Otto’s focus upon the reliability of the hearsay evidence admitted in that
case led the Court of Appeal in the present case to evaluate the reliability of
defendant’s proffered testimony. The appellate court concluded that “the
reliability of defendant’s testimony is highly questionable. Not only was there
strong incentive for him to fabricate but, in addition, defendant’s own attorney
advised defendant against testifying, thus indicating that his testimony would not
be beneficial to defendant’s defense. Defendant further lacked credibility as a
witness. His proffered testimony was not believable, i.e., that his victims
consented to the sexual acts and Atascadero staff members were flirting with him.
Defendant’s testimony had little if any probable value as an additional safeguard
against the erroneous deprivation of his private interests affected by SVP
proceedings.”
24
Otto, supra, 26 Cal.4th 200, concerned the admission of a category of
evidence — hearsay — that generally is considered unreliable. (See Chambers v.
Mississippi (1973) 410 U.S. 284, 298 [“The hearsay rule . . . is . . . grounded in the
notion that untrustworthy evidence should not be presented to the triers of fact”].)
Because hearsay evidence tends to be unreliable, as a general matter its admission
may contribute to an erroneous result unless indicia of reliability are established.
In contrast, trial testimony from a witness sworn to tell the truth and subject to
cross-examination is not considered, as a general proposition, to be unreliable.
Although, as explained below, we agree with the Court of Appeal that defendant’s
testimony would not have assisted him in preserving his liberty interests in this
case, here we seek to establish a rule of general application in proceedings under
the SVPA. “[P]rocedural due process rules are shaped by the risk of error inherent
in the truthfinding process as applied to the generality of cases, not the rare
exceptions.” (Mathews v. Eldridge (1976) 424 U.S. 319, 344.) Therefore, we
consider generally whether allowing a defendant in a proceeding under the SVPA
to testify over the objection of his or her counsel may aid the defendant in
preventing the erroneous deprivation of liberty interests, rather than whether the
right would aid the particular defendant before us.
Absent the objection of defendant’s counsel, defendant would have been
permitted to testify to the extent his testimony was admissible and sufficiently
relevant. (See In re Waite’s Guardianship (1939) 14 Cal.2d 727, 729-730 [in a
conservatorship proceeding, it was error to allow only expert testimony, and to
preclude the individual who was the subject of the conservatorship proceeding
from testifying]; Caldwell v. Caldwell (1962) 204 Cal.App.2d 819, 821 [in a
marital dissolution proceeding, it was error to preclude a parent from testifying
concerning the need for increased child support].) In addition, as has been
recognized in cases in which a sexually violent predator has asserted the privilege
25
against self-incrimination, the defendant’s participation in the proceedings,
through pretrial interviews and testimony at trial, generally enhances the reliability
of the outcome.16 Moreover, as observed in Otto, supra, 26 Cal.4th 200, if critical
information, such as the details surrounding the commission of the predicate
offenses, is questionable, “a significant portion of the foundation of the resulting
[sexually violent predator] finding is suspect.” (Otto, supra, 26 Cal.4th at pp. 210-
16
In Allen v. Illinois, supra, 478 U.S. 364, the high court rejected a claim that
the defendant in a civil proceeding to commit the defendant as a sexually
dangerous person has a privilege against self-incrimination based upon the due
process clause. In the course of discussing the impact such a privilege would have
upon the reliability of those proceedings, the court stated that “the State takes the
quite plausible view that denying the evaluating psychiatrist the opportunity to
question persons alleged to be sexually dangerous would decrease the reliability of
a finding of sexual dangerousness.” (Id. at pp. 374-375, italics omitted.)
Similarly, the court in Leonard, supra, 78 Cal.App.4th 776, which considered the
claim of a defendant in a sexually violent predator proceeding that he could not be
forced to speak to a psychiatrist or to take the stand at trial, observed that “the
inmate’s participation enhances the reliability of the outcome.” (Id. at p. 793.)

The People assert defendant will testify falsely, and therefore his testimony
will not enhance the reliability of the outcome. Of course, a right to testify does
not authorize a witness to commit perjury, and counsel must not cooperate in a
client’s perjury. (LaChance v. Erickson (1998) 522 U.S. 262, 266 [“a criminal
defendant’s right to testify does not include the right to commit perjury”]; Nix v.
Whiteside
(1986) 475 U.S. 157, 173 [“a lawyer who would . . . cooperate [with
planned perjury] would be at risk of prosecution for suborning perjury, and
disciplinary proceedings, including suspension or disbarment”].) Defendant’s
counsel did not suggest, however, that defendant would testify falsely. The
circumstance that defendant’s perception of reality is at variance with the
perception of his victims and of the staff at the prison and Atascadero does not
establish that defendant was being untruthful. Rather, based upon the testimony of
Dr. Rowland, it appears that defendant’s perception that numerous women flirted
with him may be bona fide, and may be evidence of erotomania. The possibility
that a defendant in an SVPA proceeding may testify untruthfully does not justify
conferring upon counsel the authority, solely for strategic reasons, to preclude his
or her client from testifying.
26


211.) Because the testimony of a defendant typically will concern his or her
conduct, this testimony may relate to information that is critical to the experts’
testimony. Attorneys are not infallible in appraising their clients and in assessing
the impression a client’s testimony may have on a jury, or in evaluating the
credibility of other witnesses. In some cases, the defendant’s testimony may raise
a reasonable doubt concerning the facts underlying the experts’ opinions.
Accordingly, in every case there exists a risk that allowing counsel to preclude the
defendant from testifying will lead to an erroneous deprivation of rights.
Guaranteeing the defendant a right to testify, even over counsel’s objection, will
mitigate this risk. The potential consequence of the defendant’s testimony being
harmful to his or her case does not justify a rule that would bar a defendant from
testifying absent the concurrence of his or her counsel. For these reasons, we
conclude the second factor weighs in favor of allowing the defendant to testify
over the objection of counsel.
Third, we consider “the government’s interest, including the function
involved and the fiscal and administrative burdens that the additional or substitute
procedural requirement would entail.” (Otto, supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 210.) The
government has a strong interest in protecting the public from sexually violent
predators, and in providing treatment to these individuals. (People v. Vasquez
(2001) 25 Cal.4th 1225, 1232; Hubbart, supra, 19 Cal.4th at pp. 1143-1144.)
Because the defendant’s participation in the proceedings through his or her
testimony at trial generally enhances the reliability of the outcome, the recognition
of a right to testify over the objection of counsel may serve the government’s
interest in securing an accurate factual determination concerning the defendant’s
status as a sexually violent predator. If, contrary to defense counsel’s expectation,
the defendant’s testimony is credible and beneficial to the defendant, the
prosecution may elect to present additional witnesses to rebut that testimony, and
27
this may add to the government’s burden. That possibility, however, presents a
consequence no different from the situation faced by the prosecution when the
defendant’s counsel has elected to have his or her client testify, and it affords no
legitimate reason to preclude the defendant from testifying.17
The fiscal and administrative burdens associated with a right to testify over
counsel’s objection are de minimis. As noted above, the defendant generally has a
right to testify in such proceedings, subject to the rules of evidence and procedure.
Therefore, recognizing a right of the defendant to testify against the advice of
counsel will lengthen the proceedings only in that subset of cases in which the
defendant’s counsel determines not to call the defendant to testify and the
defendant decides to reject counsel’s advice and insists upon his or her right to
17
In Otto, supra, 26 Cal.4th 200, we recognized that “[r]equiring the
government to adduce live testimony from the victims could potentially impede
[the purpose of protecting the public]. The SVP proceeding occurs at the end of
the defendant’s sentence, which may be years after the events in question. As one
Court of Appeal has observed, if the People can ‘obtain civil commitment of
sexually violent predators only in cases where the conviction record was
extensive, and included victim testimony . . . as to the details of the sexually
violent offense,’ in those cases where ‘the defendant pled guilty before the
preliminary hearing, or the victims’ testimony was not sufficient to establish the
details of the offense as required by the SVP Act, the state would never be able to
meet its burden.’ [Citation.]” (Id. at pp. 214-215.) Because we held in Otto that
the circumstances of the predicate offenses may be established by hearsay, it is
unnecessary for the prosecution to call witnesses to establish the nature of the
predicate offenses.

Depending upon the particular facts of the case and the defendant’s
testimony, the prosecution may find it necessary to present witnesses concerning
the defendant’s subsequent conduct while confined in prison or in a mental
institution, but the presentation of more recent evidence concerning the
defendant’s continuing inability to control his or her conduct should pose less of a
burden than the presentation of evidence concerning the predicate offenses.
Moreover, as explained below, this burden should arise in only a relatively small
percentage of the cases.
28


testify. The added expense of receiving the defendant’s testimony in those
relatively few cases is of course no reason to deny the defendant a right to testify.
(See Lassiter v. Department of Social Services (1981) 452 U.S. 18, 28
[government’s pecuniary interest in not appointing counsel for parents in parental
rights termination proceedings “is legitimate, [but] it is hardly significant enough
to overcome private interests as important as those here, particularly in light of the
concession” that the costs would be de minimis compared to the costs of appointed
counsel in criminal matters].)
The state contends it “has a strong interest in not allowing the defendant to
sabotage the proceedings for purposes of his own amusement or otherwise commit
perjury and thereby degrade the integrity of the process as a whole. (See Harris v.
New York [(1971)] 401 U.S. [222,] 225 [although every criminal defendant has the
privilege to testify in his own defense, ‘that privilege cannot be construed to
include the right to commit perjury’].)” As we have noted, a right to testify over
the objection of counsel does not authorize a witness to commit perjury. (See
fn. 14, ante.) In addition, a right to testify does not entitle a defendant “to lash out
at the SVPA process to a captive audience of jurors,” as the state fears will occur.
As in all cases, the trial court retains authority to manage the proceedings and to
prohibit abusive conduct by the parties. (Code Civ. Proc., § 128.) The possibility
that a defendant in a sexually violent predator proceeding may attempt to disrupt
the proceedings or may testify falsely does not justify denying all defendants in
such proceedings a right to testify over the objection of counsel.
Because the number of cases in which (1) counsel advises the defendant not
to testify, (2) the defendant nonetheless elects to testify, and (3) the defendant’s
testimony hinders rather than assists the prosecution’s overall case will be small,
and because the added burden on the prosecution of responding to a credible
defense most certainly is not a legitimate reason to preclude the defendant from
29
testifying, we conclude that the third factor does not weigh against allowing the
defendant to testify against the advice of counsel.
Finally, we consider “the dignitary interest in informing individuals of the
nature, grounds, and consequences of the action and in enabling them to present
their side of the story before a responsible government official. [Citation.]” (Otto,
supra, 26 Cal.4th at p. 210.) Considering the question of a defendant’s right to
self-representation in proceedings under the SVPA, the appellate court in Fraser,
supra, 138 Cal.App.4th 1430, stated: “[t]he SVPA contains built-in procedural
safeguards to protect the dignitary interest, which include the commencement of
the proceedings by a petition supported by the concurring opinions of two
psychologists (§ 6604.1, subd. (b)); the right to have access to relevant medical
and psychological reports and records (§ 6603, subd. (a)); the right to retain
experts to perform an examination (§ 6603, subd. (a)); the right to a probable
cause hearing (§ 6602, subd. (a)); the right to a jury trial (§ 6604.1, subd. (b)); and
the right to be present at the hearing (§ 6605, subd. (c)). [¶] The SVPA also
provides for the right to counsel at section 6603, subdivision (a). Accordingly,
self-representation is not necessary for a defendant to be informed about the SVPA
proceeding or to preserve the ability to tell his or her side of the story, since these
rights can be protected by counsel.” (Id. at pp. 1448-1449.)
We agree with the court in Fraser, supra, 138 Cal.App.4th 1430, that the
SVPA scheme informs the defendant of the nature, grounds, and consequences of
the proceeding. But in a case in which the defendant’s counsel declines to agree to
allow the defendant testify, mandatory representation by counsel (which generally
is beneficial in assisting a defendant in telling his or her story) may impair the
defendant’s ability to present his or her side. Although it is true, as the Court of
Appeal noted, that a defendant generally can communicate his or her version to
and through the experts and counsel and through other witnesses, these means all
30
involve a filtering process before the story reaches the finder of fact. In a case in
which the experts do not believe the defendant and in which counsel concludes the
defendant’s testimony will have a negative impact on the outcome, the defendant’s
story may not reach the fact finder.18
Because a defendant in a proceeding under the SVPA has no right to
represent himself or herself and no privilege against self-incrimination, denial of a
right to testify over the objection of counsel might relegate the defendant to the
role of a mere spectator, with no power to attempt to affect the outcome. The
defendant might be both forced to testify as to matters the prosecution seeks to
establish, and prevented from testifying as to matters the defendant seeks to
establish, or might be ignored. The circumstance that the defendant may fare
better by remaining silent at trial does not negate the dignitary interest in being
heard. The government has no interest in assuming a paternal role to prevent a
defendant from pursuing a strategically misguided path in a proceeding under the
SVPA. “The fundamental requirement of due process is the opportunity to be
heard ‘at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.’ [Citation.]” (Mathews
v. Eldridge, supra, 424 U.S. at p. 333.) Because denial of a right to testify over
the objection of counsel would impair the defendant’s ability to be heard, we

18
The Court of Appeal concluded that “defendant had ample opportunity to
tell his version in the underlying criminal proceedings and during his
psychological examinations, as well as through his attorney, cross-examination of
witnesses, and presenting his own witnesses.” Defendant pleaded guilty to the
charges in the underlying proceeding, and therefore did not present his story
concerning the details surrounding the offenses. Although defendant could tell his
story to the psychologists, this forum did not ensure that his story would reach the
trier of fact. And because defendant’s attorney believed defendant’s story would
be detrimental to the effort to avoid further confinement, counsel presumably did
not attempt to present that story through cross-examination and the presentation of
witnesses.
31


conclude that the fourth factor weighs in favor of allowing the defendant to testify
against the advice of counsel.
In summary, (1) the private interests at stake in an SVPA proceeding are
significant; (2) there is a risk counsel may misjudge the effect the defendant’s
testimony will have upon the finder of fact, and allowing the defendant to testify
over the objection of counsel will mitigate the risk of an erroneous deprivation of
the defendant’s liberty interests that might result from counsel’s misjudgment;
(3) as a general matter, the government’s interest in protecting its citizens and
treating sexually violent predators pursuant to an efficient procedure is not
significantly burdened by allowing such testimony — and, in any event, this
burden would not justify deprivation of the defendant’s right to testify; and (4) the
defendant’s dignitary interest in presenting his or her side of the story is protected
by allowing the defendant to testify despite counsel’s judgment that such
testimony will be detrimental. Therefore, we conclude that the balancing test set
forth above establishes that the defendant in a sexually violent predator proceeding
has a right under the due process clauses of the federal and state Constitutions to
testify, in accordance with the rules of evidence and procedure, over the objection
of counsel.
In opposing this conclusion, the People rely upon the principle that counsel
has the authority to control strategic decisions in litigation. We agree that counsel
generally has such authority, but in light of our conclusion that allowing counsel to
preclude the defendant from testifying in an SVPA proceeding violates his or her
due process rights, counsel’s authority must yield to the defendant’s choice in this
context. (See Robles, supra, 2 Cal.3d at p. 215 [trial counsel normally may decide
whether a defendant in a criminal proceeding should testify, but when “a
defendant insists that he wants to testify, he cannot be deprived of that
opportunity”].)
32
V.
Having decided it was error to preclude defendant from testifying, we next
consider whether the judgment extending defendant’s commitment must be
reversed. Defendant contends the denial of his right to testify is “structural” error,
requiring automatic reversal. Respondent urges application of harmless error
analysis, and claims the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.
The United States Supreme Court “has recognized that most constitutional
errors can be harmless. [Citations.]” (Arizona v. Fulminante (1991) 499 U.S. 279,
306 (Fulminante).) “The common thread connecting [cases in which the high
court has applied the harmless error standard] is that each involved ‘trial error’ —
error which occurred during the presentation of the case to the jury, and which
may therefore be quantitatively assessed in the context of other evidence presented
in order to determine whether its admission was harmless beyond a reasonable
doubt.” (Id. at pp. 307-308.) Among the examples Fulminante cited of cases
involving trial error subject to harmless error analysis were Crane v. Kentucky
(1986) 476 U.S. 683, 691 (citing the constitutional rights to present a complete
defense and to an opportunity to be heard, the high court held that exclusion of
evidence concerning the credibility of the defendant’s confession was error, and
that the error should be subject to harmless error analysis) and Delaware v. Van
Arsdall (1986) 475 U.S. 673, 684 (trial court ruling that prohibited the defendant
from inquiring into the possibility that a witness was biased as a result of the
state’s dismissal of a charge against the witness violated the defendant’s rights
under the confrontation clause; although the erroneous ruling involved the
exclusion rather than the admission of evidence, “the reviewing court should be
able to decide whether the not-fully-impeached evidence might have affected the
reliability of the factfinding process at trial”; accordingly, the error was reviewable
under the harmless error standard).
33
The court in Fulminante contrasted these examples of trial error with
structural errors such as denial of the right to representation by counsel, or to trial
before a judge who is not impartial. “These are structural defects in the
constitution of the trial mechanism, which defy analysis by ‘harmless-error’
standards. The entire conduct of the trial from beginning to end is obviously
affected by the absence of counsel for a criminal defendant, just as it is by the
presence on the bench of a judge who is not impartial. Since our decision in
Chapman, [supra, 386 U.S. 18,] other cases have added to the category of
constitutional errors which are not subject to harmless error the following:
unlawful exclusion of members of the defendant’s race from a grand jury
[citation]; the right to self-representation at trial [citation]; and the right to public
trial [citation]. Each of these constitutional deprivations is a similar structural
defect affecting the framework within which the trial proceeds, rather than simply
an error in the trial process itself.” (Fulminante, supra, 499 U.S. at pp. 309-310.)
The denial of defendant’s right to testify did not affect any aspect of his
trial other than his ability to present personal testimony; it was “error which
occurred during the presentation of the case to the jury, and which may therefore
be quantitatively assessed in the context of other evidence presented . . . .”
(Fulminante, supra, 499 U.S. at pp. 307-308.) For these reasons, the error was
trial error rather than structural error. (See People v. Johnson (1998) 62
Cal.App.4th 608, 634-636 [the court rejected the argument that improper denial of
a defendant’s right to testify is structural error, and applied the Chapman
standard]; People v. Hayes (1991) 229 Cal.App.3d 1226, 1234, fn. 11 [the court
stated in dicta that any error in excluding the defendant from the courtroom and
thereby preventing him from testifying was subject to harmless error analysis
under Chapman]; Martinez v. Ylst (9th Cir. 1991) 951 F.2d 1153, 1157 (Martinez)
[an erroneous ruling that certain prior offenses could be introduced to impeach the
34
defendant led to defendant’s decision not to testify; the court concluded: “we must
reverse unless the state can demonstrate that the error was harmless beyond a
reasonable doubt”]; see also People v. Jablonski (2006) 37 Cal.4th 774, 816-817
[the defendant claimed the erroneous admission of his confession prevented him
from testifying; the court rejected his assertion the error was reversible per se].)
Therefore, we evaluate whether the error committed in the present case was
harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. (Chapman, supra, 386 U.S. 18, 24 [“before
a federal constitutional error can be held harmless, the court must be able to
declare a belief that it was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt”]; People Hurtado
(2002) 28 Cal.4th 1179, 1194 [“Because the Chapman test . . . is used for the
review of federal constitutional error in civil commitment cases in California
generally, that test necessarily governs review under the SVPA”].)
Defendant asserts “it is sheer speculation to say that [his] testimony would
have made no difference. The jury was never able to assess his credibility.” We
agree that issues of credibility are for the jury to resolve. For this reason, “it is
only the most extraordinary of trials in which a denial of the defendant’s right to
testify can be said to be harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. [Citation.]”
(Martinez, supra, 951 F.2d 1153, 1157.) Nonetheless, if the facts to which a
defendant offered to testify would not have affected the verdict, the exclusion of
his or her testimony was harmless. Therefore, we consider the facts defendant
sought to establish.19
19
To preserve a contention that evidence should have been admitted, a party’s
offer of proof must make clear the substance of the proffered testimony. (See
People v. Whitt (1990) 51 Cal.3d 620, 649 [ “We do not read Chapman . . . as
placing an impossible ‘burden’ upon the People, such that a defendant who
withholds the nature of excluded evidence at trial is guaranteed reversal on
appeal”].) We acknowledge that when a defendant’s counsel seeks to prevent the
(footnote continued on next page)
35
First, defendant proposed to address the issue of the victims’ consent to the
predicate offenses and to the uncharged conduct. Defendant pleaded guilty to the
predicate offenses, and therefore was precluded from contending that the victims
consented. Moreover, the proceeding in which defendant originally was
adjudicated a sexually violent predator necessarily established that the two
convictions were “sexually violent offenses” within the meaning of section 6600.
Therefore, testimony that Sandra C. and Lisa L. consented was irrelevant.
Even if defendant could have convinced any juror that whatever transpired
in the incidents involving Rhonda A., Tambria R., and Melanie H. might have
been consensual, this feat would have made no difference in the outcome.20 The
purpose of the trial was not to determine whether defendant committed the
uncharged conduct. The sole issue the jury was called upon to decide was

(footnote continued from previous page)
defendant from testifying, an appellate court reasonably might view counsel’s
summary of the proffered evidence with suspicion. In the present case, however,
counsel described with adequate detail the facts defendant sought to establish
through his testimony, and defendant did not hesitate to argue personally in favor
of his right to testify and to clarify the facts to which he would testify. Under
these circumstances, it is reasonable to accept counsel’s and defendant’s
descriptions of the proffered testimony.
20
We note that the circumstances surrounding the uncharged conduct weigh
heavily against defendant’s claim of consent. His claim that Melanie H., 17 years
of age, while on an errand to buy groceries for her grandmother, consented to
accompany defendant behind a store and engage in sexual relations on the
concrete steps of a loading area — and thereafter promptly reported the incident to
the police — was not worthy of belief by any standard. The allegations of
Rhonda A., whose vehicle defendant commandeered, and Tambria R., who fled
her own apartment and hysterically reported defendant’s conduct to a neighbor,
also exhibit indicia of truth — defendant’s alleged conduct is similar to the
predicate offenses and occurred close in time to the predicate offenses; the victims
apparently did not know one another; the victims promptly reported the conduct to
the police, and third parties witnessed the victims’ escape.
36


whether, as of the date of the trial, defendant had a mental disorder that made it
likely he would engage in sexually violent criminal behavior. (Former § 6600,
subd. (a)(1).) Therefore, we consider whether any doubt concerning these three
uncharged incidents could have affected the jury’s finding that defendant had a
mental disorder in November 2005 that made it likely he would engage in sexually
violent criminal behavior.
The evidence in support of the verdict consisted of the testimony of three
experts — Drs. Owens, Sreenivasan, and Rowland. All three concluded that
defendant suffers from various mental disorders that render him incapable of
controlling his violent sexual urges. Owens and Sreenivasan based their
conclusions upon defendant’s conduct over a period of approximately 24 years,
beginning with his juvenile record and continuing through his commitments to
prison, jail, and Atascadero. The three uncharged incidents in the latter half of
1989 were merely a small part of the extensive data upon which the experts relied.
Defendant did not propose to dispute the balance of his lengthy criminal history,
nor did he suggest he would deny engaging in the behavior documented during his
confinement in various institutions. Moreover, the uncharged conduct was similar
to subsequent conduct established in connection with the predicate offenses, and
this uncharged conduct was distant in time and therefore less probative of
defendant’s current inclination to engage in sexually violent behavior. (See
Hubbart, supra, 19 Cal.4th at p. 1145 [“prior crimes play a limited role in the
[sexually violent predator] proceeding;” a currently diagnosed mental disorder is
necessary to adjudicate an individual a sexually violent predator].) Finally,
Rowland’s testimony was based upon defendant’s conduct at Atascadero, and the
expert’s conclusions did not depend upon the uncharged conduct. In these
circumstances, no reasonable juror could have concluded that the proffered
testimony would have altered the experts’ opinions concerning defendant’s current
37
status, and no reasonable juror could have rejected the experts’ opinions
concerning defendant’s current status based upon any doubt with respect to the
nature of the uncharged conduct that had occurred 16 years earlier. Therefore, the
jury’s verdict would not have been affected by defendant’s testimony that
Rhonda A., Tambria R., and Melanie H. consented to his conduct.
Second, defendant sought to testify that he had been willing to take
medication “except for some further and subsequent understanding regarding the
side effects.” He did not offer to testify that he was taking medication, and Dr.
Rowland’s testimony established that defendant had not taken medication
following his transfer a year earlier to the county jail in conjunction with the
proceeding to extend his commitment. Rowland’s testimony also established that
medication could assist defendant in organizing his thinking sufficiently to enable
him to complete a hall pass and travel to a selected destination within the hospital,
but that the medication required a trial period to evaluate its efficacy, and that
neither defendant’s several months of taking his first medication nor his
subsequent “off and on” acceptance of medication constituted an adequate trial.
Finally, both Rowland and Sreenivasan testified that defendant had not completed
phase two of Atascadero’s treatment program for sexual offenders (the phase in
which he would learn about his distorted thought process) and thus was not yet
prepared to begin changing the patterns of behavior that resulted from his mental
distortions. Even if defendant had testified and promised to take any medication
that might help him control his behavior, no reasonable juror could have
concluded that defendant’s promise established, contrary to the verdict the jury
reached absent such evidence, that defendant no longer was a sexually violent
predator.
Finally, defendant proposed to testify that female staff in prison and at
Atascadero flirted with him. Even in the unlikely event a juror were to believe
38
that female staff who complained of defendant’s inappropriate sexual behavior
were flirting with defendant, no reasonable juror could have reached a different
verdict based upon such belief. At both institutions, defendant consistently was
informed that his behavior was inappropriate; the alleged flirting could not have
led him to believe it was appropriate to stalk staff, expose his penis, or touch
female staff members or write them sexually explicit notes. Therefore,
defendant’s intended testimony would not have diminished the probative value of
the experts’ opinion that defendant was unable to control his sexual urges, or of
the other evidence introduced by the prosecution. No reasonable juror could have
concluded, based upon defendant’s testimony that staff members flirted with him,
that defendant was capable of controlling his behavior.
In sum, the proffered testimony that the uncharged conduct in 1989 was
consensual, that defendant was willing to take his medication, and that staff
members flirted with him could not, in the circumstances of this case, have had
any impact upon the jury’s conclusion that defendant is a sexually violent
predator. Therefore, the error in prohibiting defendant from testifying over the
objection of his counsel was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.21
21
It also follows, of course, that there is no reasonable probability that
defendant would have achieved a more favorable result but for the erroneous
denial of his right to testify. (People v. Watson (1956) 46 Cal.2d 818, 836.)
39
VI.
The judgment of the Court of Appeal is affirmed.
GEORGE, C. J.
WE CONCUR:

KENNARD, J.
BAXTER, J.
WERDEGAR, J.
CHIN, J.
MORENO, J.
CORRIGAN, J.

40



See next page for addresses and telephone numbers for counsel who argued in Supreme Court.

Name of Opinion People v. Allen
__________________________________________________________________________________

Unpublished Opinion


Original Appeal
Original Proceeding
Review Granted
XXX 144 Cal.App.4th 1132
Rehearing Granted

__________________________________________________________________________________

Opinion No.

S148949
Date Filed: July 28, 2008
__________________________________________________________________________________

Court:

Superior
County: San Bernardino
Judge: Kenneth G. Ziebarth*

__________________________________________________________________________________

Attorneys for Appellant:

Christopher Blake, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Attorneys for Respondent:

Bill Lockyer and Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorneys General, Robert R. Anderson and Dane R. Gillette,
Chief Assistant Attorneys General, Jeffrey J. Koch and Gary W. Schons, Assistant Attorneys General, Brad
Weinreb and Steve Oetting, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

*Retired judge of the San Bernardino Superior Court, assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to article VI,
section 6 of the California Constitution.

Counsel who argued in Supreme Court (not intended for publication with opinion):

Christopher Blake
4455 Lamont Street, #B
San Diego, CA 92169
(858) 274-1772

Steve Oetting
Deputy Attorney General
110 West A Street, Suite 1100
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 645-2206


Petition for review after the Court of Appeal affirmed an order of commitment as a sexually violent predator. This case presents the following issue: Does a defendant represented by counsel have the right to testify over counsel's objection in a proceeding to commit the defendant as a sexually violent predator?

Opinion Information
Date:Citation:Docket Number:Category:Status:
Mon, 07/28/200844 Cal. 4th 843, 187 P.3d 1018, 80 Cal. Rptr. 3d 183S148949Review - Criminal Appealclosed; remittitur issued

Parties
1The People (Plaintiff and Respondent)
Represented by Steven T. Oetting
Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 85266
San Diego, CA

2Allen, Tony Lee (Defendant and Appellant)
Represented by Christopher Blake
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 90218
San Diego, CA

3Allen, Tony Lee (Defendant and Appellant)
Represented by Appellate Defenders, Inc.
555 W. Beech Street, Suite 300
555 W. Beech Street, Suite 300
San Diego, CA


Disposition
Dec 31 1969Opinion: Affirmed

Dockets
Dec 31 1969Petition for review filed
  Tony Lee Allen, appellant by Christopher Blake, counsel
Dec 31 1969Record requested
 
Dec 31 19692nd record request
 
Dec 31 1969Received Court of Appeal record
  one doghouse
Dec 31 1969Time extended to grant or deny review
  the time for granting or denying reivew in the above-entitled matter is hereby extended to and including march 21, 2007, or the date upon which review is either granted or denied.
Dec 31 1969Petition for review granted (criminal case)
  Votes: George, C.J., Kennard, Werdegar, Chin, Moreno, and Corrigan, JJ.
Dec 31 1969Counsel appointment order filed
  Upon request of appellant for appointment of counsel, Christopher Blake is hereby appointed to represent appellant on the appeal now pending in this court. Appellant's brief on the merits must be served and filed on or before thirty (30) days from the date of this order.
Dec 31 1969Opening brief on the merits filed
  Appellant, Tony Lee Allen by counsel, Christopher Blake.
Dec 31 1969Compensation awarded counsel
  Atty Blake
Dec 31 1969Request for extension of time filed
  Attorney General is asking to June 25 2007 to file the Answer brief on the merits.
Dec 31 1969Extension of time granted
  On application of the Attorney General and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the answer brief on the merits is extended to and including June 25, 2007.
Dec 31 1969Answer brief on the merits filed
  The People, respondent by Steve Oetting, Supervising Deputy Attorney General
Dec 31 1969Request for extension of time filed
  Appellant, Tony Lee Allen , asking to Aug. 1, 2007, to file the reply brief on the merits by counsel, Christopher Blake.
Dec 31 1969Extension of time granted
  on application of appellant (Tony Lee Allen) and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the reply brief on the merits is extended to and including August 1, 2007.
Dec 31 1969Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
  Tony Lee Allen, appellant by Christopher Blake, counsel
Dec 31 1969Case ordered on calendar
  to be argued on Wednesday, May 7, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. in San Francisco
Dec 31 1969Filed:
  Apellant's additional authorities by counsel, Christopher Blake.
Dec 31 1969Cause argued and submitted
 
Dec 31 1969Notice of forthcoming opinion posted
 
Dec 31 1969Opinion filed: Judgment affirmed in full
  Opinion by George, C.J. -----joined by Kennard, Baxter,Werdegar, Chin, Moreno & Corrigan, JJ.
Dec 31 1969Compensation awarded counsel
  Atty Blake
Dec 31 1969Remittitur issued (criminal case)
 
Dec 31 1969Received:
  receipt for remittitur from Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two

Briefs
Dec 31 1969Opening brief on the merits filed
 
Dec 31 1969Answer brief on the merits filed
 
Dec 31 1969Reply brief filed (case fully briefed)
 
If you'd like to submit a brief document to be included for this opinion, please submit an e-mail to the SCOCAL website
Jan 9, 2009
Annotated by diana teasland

Written by Charlin Lu

Defendant sought to testify over his counsel’s objection at a hearing for extending his civil commitment as a sexually violent predator under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA). The trial court held that counsel controlled this decision and did not allow defendant to testify. The jury found defendant to be a sexually violent predator, and the court extended his commitment. The Court of Appeal affirmed the order of recommitment.

It is well established that defendants in criminal proceedings have the right to testify over the objection of counsel. The proceeding to commit an individual as a sexually violent predator, however, is civil in nature. Moreover, the state’s provision of procedural protections similar to those afforded criminal defendants does not transform a civil commitment proceeding into a criminal prosecution.

Nonetheless, because civil commitment involves a significant deprivation of liberty, a defendant in a SVPA proceeding is entitled to due process protections. In determining what process is due, there are four relevant factors: (1) the private interest that will be affected by the official action; (2) the risk of an erroneous deprivation of such interest through the procedures used, and the probable value, if any, of additional or substitute procedural safeguards; (3) the government’s interest, including the function involved and the fiscal and administrative burdens that the additional or substitute procedural requirements would entail; and (4) the dignitary interest in informing individuals of the nature, grounds, and consequences of the action and in enabling them to present their side of the story before a responsible government official. In this case: (1) the private interests at stake are significant – potential for significant limitations on the defendant’s liberty, the stigma of being classified as a sexually violent predator, and subjection to unwanted treatment; (2) there is a risk counsel may misjudge the effect of the defendant’s testimony, and allowing the defendant to testify over the objection of counsel would mitigate the risk of an erroneous deprivation of the defendant’s liberty interests; (3) allowing such testimony generally enhances reliability, thus serving the government’s interest in an accurate factual determination for protecting the public and treating sexually violent predators, and the fiscal and administrative burdens associated with such testimony are de minimis; and (4) allowing the defendant to testify would protect the defendant’s dignitary interest in presenting his side of the story. Consequently, the defendant in a SVPA proceeding has a right under the due process clauses of the federal and state Constitutions to testify over the objection of counsel.

Because denial of defendant’s right to testify did not affect any aspect of his trial other than his ability to present personal testimony, the error was trial error, rather than structural error, and is subject to harmless error analysis. The error in the present case was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt because the facts about which defendant sought to testify could not have had any impact upon the jury’s conclusion that defendant is a sexually violent predator. The judgment of the Court of Appeal is affirmed.

Before 1985 Defendant was arrested for illegal possession of weapons and placed on probation.
1985 Defendant was found in possession of cocaine in a house in which weapons were found.
1986 - 1988 Defendant was convicted for trespass, burglary, grand theft, robbery, possession of drugs, and resisting a peace officer.
July 1989 Defendant assaulted Rhonda A. and raped Tambria R.
Sept. 1989 Defendant raped Melanie H.
Jan. 1990 Defendant raped Sandra C. and Lisa L.
1990 - 2000 Defendant was sentenced to prison, where he stalked female prison guards and engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior
2001 Defendant was committed to Atascadero State Hospital.  His parole was revoked within days for inappropriate sexual conduct.
2001 - 2002 Defendant was sentenced to an additional year in custody. He continued to engage in inappropriate sexual behavior in county jail.
2003 Defendant returned to Atascadero State Hospital and continued to engage in inappropriate sexual conduct.
11/29/04 San Bernardino County D.A.’s Office filed petition to extend defendant’s commitment.
Dec. 2004 Defendant was transferred to county jail for SVPA proceeding.
1/5/05 Trial court held hearing to determine whether there was probable cause.
1/28/05 Trial court found probable cause.
Oct. 2004 Dr. Owen interviewed defendant.
Aug. 2005 Jury trial resulted in mistrial.
Nov. 2005 Jury retrial found defendant to be a sexually violent predator. Defendant was committed to a state mental hospital for 2 years.
11/16/06 Court of Appeal opinion filed, affirming defendant’s recommitment.
7/28/08 Supreme Court opinion filed, affirming Court of Appeal judgment