East County News Service
January 28, 2021 (San Diego) - Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) has reintroduced legislation in partnership with San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan to extend the presumption of openness that exists in California courtrooms to proceedings under the Sexually Violent Predator Act. They 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.