Mental Examination of Sexually Violent Predators In California

Sexually Violent Predators (SVP) proceedings are deemed civil in nature. (Hubbart v. Superior Court, supra, 19 Cal. 4th at p. 1144.) The Legislature has made no express provision for discovery in SVP proceedings. (Cf. Pen. Code, 2966, subd. (b) mentally disordered offender proceedings.) The only references to discovery are that the suspected SVP shall "have access to all relevant medical and psychological records and reports" ( 6603, subd. (a)) and that the district attorney shall be given the evaluation reports and any other supporting documents. ( 6601, subds. (c), (h).) the Legislature has not specifically given any authority to the trial courts to order psychiatric interviews. Assuming that the 1986 Civil Discovery Act has application in the SVP context, Code of Civil Procedure section 2032, subdivision (d) requires a good cause requirement to conduct a mental examination. ( Vinson v. Superior Court, supra, 43 Cal. 3d at p. 840.) "The good cause which must be shown should be such that will satisfy an impartial tribunal that the request may be granted without abuse of the inherent rights of the adversary." (Greyhound Corp. v. Superior Court (1961) 56 Cal. 2d 355, 388 15 Cal. Rptr. 90, 364 P.2d 266, italics added.) Code of Civil Procedure section 2032 does not limit the number of examinations ( Shapira v. Superior Court (1990) 224 Cal. App. 3d 1249, 1254-1255 274 Cal. Rptr. 516) but cumulative discovery is prohibited. ( Code Civ. Proc., 2019, subd. (b)(1); Irvington-Moore, Inc. v. Superior Court (1993) 14 Cal. App. 4th 733, 738 18 Cal. Rptr. 2d 49.) "Multiple mental examinations should not be ordered routinely . . . ." ( Shapira v. Superior Court, supra, 224 Cal. App. 3d at p. 1255.) The concept of good cause serves as a barrier to excessive and unwarranted intrusions. (Greyhound Corp. v. Superior Court, supra, 56 Cal. 2d at p. 388; Kees v. Medical Board (1992) 7 Cal. App. 4th 1801, 1815 10 Cal. Rptr. 2d 112; 1 Hogan, Modern Cal. Discovery (4th ed. 1988) p. 471.) Good cause is established by facts that " 'appear in the record as a demonstrable reality.' " ( People v. Gates (1987) 43 Cal. 3d 1168, 1199 240 Cal. Rptr. 666, 743 P.2d 301.) Mere speculation, standing alone, will not suffice. (Mendez v. Superior Court (1988) 206 Cal. App. 3d 557, 571 253 Cal. Rptr. 731.)