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Accused sex offender too ill to appear in California court

A 54-year-old alleged sex offender from the Santa Maria area is currently too ill for a trial to determine whether he's a violent sexual predator. He's been convicted of various sex crimes over the years. One of the earliest is a 1992 conviction involving four teenage boys.

After being released for the 1992 crimes, he committed other offenses that sent him back to prison. After he was paroled in 2000, however, he was arrested again and convicted of felony child annoying. He received a 16-month sentence. In 2004, he was convicted of sexual sadism charges and received a 12-year sentence.

California has a Mentally Disordered Offender law, or MDO, that is intended to provide mental treatment for prisoners who are deemed to be a danger to society. The Board of Parole Hearings, or BPH, determines which prisoners qualify for MDO, and in general, their parole is spent as an inpatient at a state hospital. When the probation period is complete, it is possible for the Department of Mental Health to deem the parolee to be a continued danger and to order a civil commitment. The case will be reviewed on an annual basis, and as long as a unanimous jury or a judge believes the parolee is a danger to society, the parolee will remain as an inpatient for treatment.

When individuals are accused of sex crimes, they may benefit from allowing criminal defense lawyers to review the cases. Penalties for sex crimes can be serious and can include prison time, fines and mandatory inclusion on the sexual offenders list, so it is important for the defendants to understand their rights.

Source: Santa Maria Times, "Trial delays continue for chronic sex offender," Samantha Yale Scroggin, March 7, 2013

Source: California Penal Code, "PENAL CODE SECTION 2960-2981"

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