Sex Offenders likely to Reoffend Definition

In People v. Superior Court (Ghilotti) (2002) 27 Cal.4th 888, the California Supreme Court interpreted the term "likely to reoffend" used to define an SVP in the SVPA. (Ghilotti, supra, 27 Cal.4th at pp. 915-916.) The Ghilotti court noted that the purpose of the SVPA was to protect the public from persons who were previously convicted of violent sex offenses and who, because of a current mental disorder, presented a "high risk of reoffense." (Ghilotti, at p. 921.) Interpreting the statutory language "likely to reoffend" in accordance with this purpose, the Ghilotti court concluded it did not require that the chance of reoffense be better than even. Rather, the test was whether the person presented a "substantial danger -- . . . a serious and well-founded risk -- of reoffense." (Ghilotti, at p. 916.)