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SVPA Determination: Hearsay Not Admissible

Walker v. Superior Court Docket: S263588 Opinion Date: August 30, 2021. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the trial court committing Petitioner as a sexually violent predator, holding that hearsay evidence in a psychological evaluation report in finding probable cause to commit a petitioner under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), Cal. Well. & Inst. Code, 6600 set seq., is not admissible in expert evaluations. At issue was what kind of evidence a trial court may consider in making its initial SVPA probable cause determination. Petitioner argued that the trial court admitted inadmissible hearsay in two evaluations in finding probable cause, including facts underlying two offenses that he had been charged with but not convicted of and resulted in convictions that did not qualify as predicate offenses for commitment under the SVPA. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the introduction of this hearsay evidence prejudicially affected Defendant's ability to challenge the basis of the State's petition and the sufficiency of the evidence.

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