Svp Probable Cause Hearing

When the Legislature enacted the Sexually Violent Predators (SVP) Act in 1995, it explained the purpose of the Act as identification of incarcerated individuals who "are not safe to be at large and if released would represent a danger to the health and safety of others in that they are likely to engage in acts of sexual violence" and confinement and treatment of those individuals, if they are "found to be likely to commit acts of sexually violent criminal behavior beyond a reasonable doubt." (Stats. 1995, ch. 763, 1, No. 10 West's Cal. Legis. Service, p. 4611.) The process for determining whether a convicted sex offender meets the requirements for commitment under the SVP Act takes place "in several stages, both administrative and judicial." (Hubbart v. Superior Court (1999) 19 Cal. 4th 1138, 1145, 969 P.2d 584.) The judicial process under the SVP Act begins with the filing of a petition. (See Hubbart, supra, 19 Cal. 4th at p. 1146; see also 6601, subd. (i).) After a petition is filed, the superior court "holds a hearing to determine whether there is 'probable cause' to believe that the person named in the petition is likely to engage in sexually violent predatory criminal behavior upon release." (Hubbart, supra, 19 Cal. 4th at p. 1146; see also 6602.) If the court finds the requisite probable cause, "the court orders a trial to determine whether the person is [a sexually violent predator (SVP)] under section 6600." (Hubbart, supra, 19 Cal. 4th at p. 1146; see also 6604.) That section establishes two requirements for classification as a SVP. (Hubbart, supra, 19 Cal. 4th at p. 1144, 81 Cal. Rptr. 2d 492, 969 P.2d 584.) "First, . . . an SVP must suffer from '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.' " (Id. at p. 1144; see also 6600, subd. (a).) "Second, an SVP must have been 'convicted of a sexually violent offense against two or more victims.' " ( Hubbart, supra, 19 Cal. 4th at p. 1145, fn. omitted; see also 6600, subd. (a).) Section 6600, subdivision (b) defines sexually violent offense as any one of a list of enumerated offenses "when committed by force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person, and that are committed on, before, or after the effective date of this article and result in a conviction or a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity, as provided in subdivision (a). . . ." Section 6600.1 includes the following additional definition of sexually violent offense: "If the victim of an underlying offense that is specified in subdivision (b) of Section 6600 is a child under the age of 14 and the offending act or acts involved substantial sexual conduct, the offense shall constitute a 'sexually violent offense' for purposes of Section 6600." ( 6600.1, subd. (a).) "Substantial sexual conduct" is defined by section 6600.1 and "means penetration of the vagina or rectum of either the victim or the offender by the penis of the other or by any foreign object, oral copulation, or masturbation of either the victim or the offender." ( 6600.1, subd. (b).) At the trial, the trier of fact is charged with determining whether these requirements for classification as an SVP have been established "beyond a reasonable doubt." ( 6604.) "Where the requisite SVP findings are made, 'the person shall be committed for two years 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 . . . .' " ( Hubbart, supra, 19 Cal. 4th at p. 1147; see also 6604.)