Saturday, March 28, 2015

Right to counsel and notice in SVPA cases

In In re Zishka, No. 112,116 (Kan. App. March 6, 2015), Mr. Zishka won his pro se appeal obtaining a new annual review hearing with appointment of counsel.  Mr. Zishka had been involuntarily committed under the Sexually Violent Predator Act and is entitled to an annual review hearing.The Court of Appeals held that the district court failed on several points: (1) Mr. Zishka was entitled to appointment of counsel, which is even more important because SVPA respondents are not entitled to be present at the annual hearing in person, (2) the district court should have considered having an suitable independent person examine Mr. Zishka, and (3) the district court should have given Mr. Zishka notice of the annual review hearing.  These failures required reversal and remand for a proper hearing.

[Update: the state did not file a PR and the mandate issued on April 9, 2015.]

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