(1) When the state attorney files a petition seeking to have a person declared a sexually violent predator, the judge shall determine whether probable cause exists to believe that the person named in the petition is a sexually violent predator. If the judge determines that there is probable cause to believe that the person is a sexually violent predator, the judge shall order that the person remain in custody and be immediately transferred to an appropriate secure facility if the person’s incarcerative sentence expires.
(2) Upon the expiration of the incarcerative sentence and before the release from custody of a person whom the multidisciplinary team recommends for civil commitment, but after the state attorney files a petition under s. 394.914, the court may conduct an adversarial probable cause hearing if it determines such hearing is necessary. The court shall only consider whether to have an adversarial probable cause hearing in cases where the failure to begin a trial is not the result of any delay caused by the respondent. The person shall be provided with notice of, and an opportunity to appear in person at, an adversarial hearing. At this hearing, the judge shall:
(a) Receive evidence and hear argument from the person and the state attorney; and
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 394.915
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Person: means an individual 18 years of age or older who is a potential or actual subject of proceedings under this part. See Florida Statutes 394.912
- Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
- Sexually violent predator: means any person who:(a) Has been convicted of a sexually violent offense; and(b) Suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility for long-term control, care, and treatment. See Florida Statutes 394.912
- Testify: Answer questions in court.
- Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.(b) Determine whether probable cause exists to believe that the person is a sexually violent predator.
(3) At the adversarial probable cause hearing, the person has the right to:
(a) Be represented by counsel;
(b) Present evidence;
(c) Cross-examine any witnesses who testify against the person; and
(d) View and copy all petitions and reports in the court file.
(4) If the court again concludes that there is probable cause to believe that the person is a sexually violent predator, the court shall order that the person be held in an appropriate secure facility upon the expiration of his or her incarcerative sentence.
(5) After a court finds probable cause to believe that the person is a sexually violent predator, the person must be held in custody in a secure facility without opportunity for pretrial release or release during the trial proceedings.