Sen. Fran Pavley jointly authored an urgent law, approved by Governor Brown, preventing the unintended release of sexually violent predators. Senate Bill 760 ensures California’s Sexual Violent Predator (SVP) mental health evaluators can be rapidly replaced as openings occur. This law fixes a problem where courts did not have the ability to replace evaluators for trials when an SVP evaluator resigned or retired.
Pavley said, “By giving the court the flexibility to appoint replacement evaluators for evaluators who have resigned or retired, ongoing sexually violent predator cases can continue to proceed through the legal process. It is outrageous that a lack of mental health evaluators can result in the release of any violent predator.” SB 760 was sponsored by the Los Angeles District Attorney, the Santa Clara District Attorney Offices and supported by the California District Attorneys Association.
Los Angeles County had two potential SVP cases dismissed in May because the original evaluators had resigned. As a result, two sex offenders who were designated as being likely to commit another sex crime were released. Santa Clara County has an ongoing SVP case set for jury trial in October, where the original evaluators resigned. Without a change in the law, it was likely the judge would have had to dismiss the case since no evaluators would have been available to testify during the trial. This law allows the trial courts the discretion to make needed replacement appointments.
The new law received bi-partisan support as an urgency measure and it took effect immediately when Governor Brown signed it on Sunday, September 30. This law is in addition to another law Senator Pavley authored providing trial assistance for victims of child pornography, pimping, pandering and for sex trafficking (SB 1091, signed by Governor Brown on July 17, 2012).
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said the new law can help in the prosecution of approximately 126 pornography cases, 97 prostitution cases and 3 human trafficking cases in Los Angeles County, alone.