State Senator Patricia Bates shares update on SB 248
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Earlier this year State Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) reintroduced legislation o extend the presumption of openness that exists in California courtrooms to proceedings under the Sexually Violent Predator Act.
Bates initiated a similar effort last year but had to put it on hold due to the Legislature’s focus on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Bill 248 would require that proceedings for the civil commitment of a sexually violent predator (SVP) and subsequent hearings regarding his/her potential release be in open court and on the record, unless compelling and extraordinary circumstances justify closing the courtroom to the public. This bill would require a notice to all parties of the proposed closure and that it be made at least 10 calendar days prior to the closed court hearing.
SB 248 also closes a loophole that would ensure SVPs return to a state hospital to continue serving their original commitment after a new prison sentence has been completed, so long as evaluators agree that the individual continues to meet SVP criteria.
Senator Bates said, “District Attorney Stephan and I believe that court hearings for sexually violent predators should be open to the public whenever possible. Victims, their families, and the public have the right to witness hearings regarding the potential release of a predator. I look forward to working with the District Attorney and my legislative colleagues to update the law to improve transparency in our courts.”