People v. DeCasas

Filed 8/31/20; Certified for Publication 9/17/20 (order attached) IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION ONE THE PEOPLE, B301297 Plaintiff and Appellant, (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. ZM010896) v. RODRIGO DECASAS, Defendant and Respondent. APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, William C. Ryan, Judge. Affirmed. Jackie Lacey, District Attorney, Phyllis C. Asayama and Matthew Brown, Deputy District Attorneys for Plaintiff and Appellant. Robert S. Gerstein, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Respondent. ____________________________ Thirteen years after the People filed a petition to have Rodrigo DeCasas civilly committed under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) (Welf. & Inst. Code,1 § 6600 et seq.), the trial court granted DeCasas’s motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that he had been deprived of his due process right to a speedy trial. The People appealed. We affirm. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND A. Background In 1994, DeCasas pleaded guilty to one count of a forcible lewd act with a child under 14 years (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (b)), three counts of lewd acts with children under 14 years (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a)), and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 years (Pen. Code, § 288.5). The court sentenced him to 20 years in prison. On November 2, 2006, the Los Angeles County District Attorney filed a petition under the SVPA to have DeCasas committed as a sexually violent predator (SVP).2 The petition 1Unless otherwise specified, subsequent statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code. 2 At the time the original petition was filed against DeCasas, a sexually violent predator was defined as “a person who has been convicted of a [statutorily defined] sexually violent offense against two or more victims and who has a diagnosed mental disorder that makes the person a danger to the health and safety of others in that it is likely that he or she will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior.” (Former § 6600, subd. (a)(1).) By the time the People filed an amended petition in September 2007, the electorate had expanded the definition to require a conviction of a sexually violent offense against only one 2 was supported by evaluations from Thomas MacSpeiden, Ph.D., and Bruce Yanofsky, Ph.D., who diagnosed DeCasas with pedophilia and schizophrenia, primarily because of his qualifying offenses, which predisposed him to commit sexually violent predatory offenses. The court appointed the Los Angeles County Public Defender to represent DeCasas. Deputy Public Defender Craig Osaki represented DeCasas at an initial review hearing held on November 16, 2006 with DeCasas present in court. Osaki waived DeCasas’s right to a probable cause hearing and the court ordered DeCasas to “remain in custody in a secure facility” pending trial. DeCasas waived his right to be present at subsequent hearings pending trial. During Osaki’s tenure as DeCasas’s counsel, the court held pretrial conferences in January, April, July, and September 2007.3 Osaki was present at ...

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