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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Crim Defense Atty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  CA Atty since 1976, primarily criminal law. 150+ jury trials.
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My brother in law is in Mule Creek State Prison in California.

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My brother in law is in Mule Creek State Prison in California. His sentence ends on Oct 5th but now we hear he is not being released but instead moved to Atascadero State Hospital indefinitely. How can his family obtain his records to understand how and why this decision had been made. Can a family member be appointed as his representative? We don't know where to begin. Any guidance is appreciated.
If your brother was in prison for a sexual offense, particularly one involving violence of any kind, he may be subject to the Sexually Violent Predator law. This allows the state to detain a person who meets the legal requirements to be detained indefinitely in a state mental facility such as Atascadero.

A family member can be his representative only if the family member is a lawyer.

The SVP procedure in California is set forth in Welfare & Institutions Code sections 6600-6608. If this is what is happening, your brother-in-law is entitled to a trial on the issue and, if he cannot afford a lawyer, court-appointed counsel. His lawyer will be provided with copies of all of the documents, records and psychiatric evaluations which will be used as evidence in any trial of the issue.

If this is not the basis for the move to Atascadero, let me know, but I suspect that it is. If you have any other questions about this, please let me know.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, that is the case. He was charged as sexual offender for groping but the sentence seems to be excessive. We either don't have the full picture or he has not been adequately represented.

Can we hire an attorney on his behalf and get access to his information. Or will the attorney not be able to share that information with us?


Thank you.

Yes, you can hire an attorney on his behalf and that attorney will be provided with all of the documentation involved.

At this time, has he actually been committed as an SVP? Or has he just been sent to Atascadero for the required psychiatric evaluations?

The state has to file a formal petition asking for the indeterminate SVP commitment and your brother-in-law is entitled to a trial on that issue and the burden of proof, just as in a criminal case, is beyond a reasonable doubt. So, unless there is significant reason to believe that he is a danger to others, an indeterminate commitment cannot be ordered.

Whether or not the attorney representing your brother-in-law can share with you whatever information he gets is up to your brother-in-law. All such information would be subject to attorney-client privilege, which means that the lawyer cannot share it with any third part except with the specific consent of the client.

"Groping" would normally be a misdemeanor violation of Penal Code section 243.4, but can if particularly egregious, be charged as a felony and be punishable by up to 4 years in state prison. Do you know the exact code section he was convicted of? And what was his original sentence?

Also, a conviction of 243.4 would not usually trigger an effort by the prosecution to obtain an SVP commitment. Which suggests that your surmise that you don't have the full picture may in fact be the case.
Jim Reilly and 2 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you very much for the positive rating and, in particular, the bonus, which I really appreciate. Good luck with this situation. If you have questions about it in the future, please let me know.
Hi Alex,

I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. If you have any other questions about this situation, please let me know.

Jim Reilly