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Sexual History May Trump Test Results Leading to SVP Classification Despite Castration

California prisoner and sexually violent predator (SVP) Edward Flores appealed a 2005 jury decision to retain him in the state hospital as a civilly-committed sex offender. He claimed that his voluntary castration should render the use of regularly-used sexual testing instruments void, leaving insufficient evidence for SVP commitment criteria, and that the modified pattern jury instruction regarding future dangerousness was misleading. The judgment was affirmed on appeal.

Flores? lengthy admitted sexual abuse of adults and multiple children (15 18 known victims) included his eight year old daughter. After various convictions and prison sentences he was civilly committed to the state hospital in 1997 for a two year term as an SVP. In 1999 the District Attorney petitioned for a two year extension, and before its expiration filed for another extension. Flores contested the petition; he previously had physical castration performed in addition to a prior chemical castration. The first extension petition had not yet been heard in 2003.
Both petitions were heard together and, after a mistrial in 2003, a second jury trial in 2005 found Flores an SVP, determining his motivation was more than just physical gratification despite the conflicting experts? testimony. Flores appealed, claiming no method existed to combine the results of regularly-used sexual testing instruments with a decreased re-offense rate following castration.

The California Fifth Appellate District found that other factors such as Flores? history of offending were considered, rendering the test results moot. The appeals court held that the substitution of wording in the jury?s instruction was proper and Flores had not argued that the instruction would have been erroneous even if the court had not modified it. The judgment was affirmed. See: People v. Flores, 144 Cal.App.4th 625, 50 Cal.Rptr.3d 567 (Cal.App. 5 Dist., 2006).

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Related legal case

People v. Flores