California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 6608
"Welfare and Institutions Code Section 6608 permits a defendant committed as a sexually violent offender (SVP) to petition for conditional release to a community treatment program." (People v. Cheek (2001) 25 Cal.4th 894, 898.)
Section 6605 provides for unconditional release and unconditional discharge as specified. ( 6605, subd. (d).)
Section 6605 requires annual written notice of the right to petition the court for conditional release under section 6608 and makes an affirmative waiver of that right the only exception to the mandated show cause hearing. ( 6605, subd. (b).)
Under section 6605, a person committed as an SVP must receive an annual examination of his or her mental condition and the court must, unless the requisite waiver is given, hold a show cause hearing. ( 6605, subds. (a), (b).)
"Section 6608, which provides for conditional release to a community treatment program, does not mention section 6605, and permits a defendant to be unconditionally released only after the defendant has spent a year in a conditional release program." (People v. Cheek, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 902.)
"A petition for conditional release under section 6608 may be initiated at any time by the defendant, who can accompany such a petition with an explanation why conditional release should be granted. The superior court can review the explanation and determine if the petition is frivolous. In contrast, a proceeding for status review under section 6605 is initiated by the Department of Mental Health without any request by the defendant and is not accompanied by any argument by the defendant. Indeed, the defendant need do nothing affirmatively at all, for the right to the annual review arises automatically unless the defendant affirmatively waives the right to petition for conditional release." (People v. Cheek, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 902.)
Section 6608, subdivision (a), specifically states: "Nothing in this article shall 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 concurrence of the Director of Mental Health. If a person has previously filed a petition for conditional release without the concurrence of the director and the court determined, either upon review of the petition or following a hearing, that the petition was frivolous or that the committed person's condition had not so changed that he or she would not be a danger to others in that it is not likely that he or she will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior if placed under supervision and treatment in the community, then the court shall deny the subsequent petition unless it contains facts upon which a court could find that the condition of the committed person had so changed that a hearing was warranted. Upon receipt of a first or subsequent petition from a committed person without the concurrence of the director, the court shall endeavor whenever possible to review the petition and determine if it is based upon frivolous grounds and, if so, shall deny the petition without a hearing. The person petitioning for conditional release and unconditional discharge under this subdivision shall be entitled to assistance of counsel."
Section 6608, subdivision (d), provides in pertinent part: "The court shall hold a hearing to determine whether the person committed would be 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 due to his or her diagnosed mental disorder if under supervision and treatment in the community. If the court at the hearing determines that the committed person would not be a danger to others due to his or her diagnosed mental disorder while under supervision and treatment in the community, the court shall order the committed person placed with an appropriate forensic conditional release program operated by the state for one year. . . . At the end of one year, the court shall hold a hearing to determine if the person should be unconditionally released from commitment on the basis that, by reason of a diagnosed mental disorder, he or she is not a danger to the health and safety of others in that it is not likely that he or she will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior. The court shall not make this determination until the person has completed at least one year in the state-operated forensic conditional release program."