Page v. King, No. 17-16364 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's judgment dismissing a habeas corpus petition in which petitioner, who has been detained for thirteen years awaiting trial for recommitment under the California Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), alleged that the State of California was violating his due process rights by continuing to detain him pretrial based on an outdated and scientifically invalid probable cause finding.
The panel rejected petitioner's contention, that his SVPA case has been stalled for so long that it was no longer "ongoing" for purposes of Younger abstention, as foreclosed by precedent. The panel also held that the delay in bringing petitioner's case to trial was not an extraordinary circumstance under Younger. Furthermore, petitioner's claim fits squarely within the "irreparable harm" exception to Younger abstention in Arevalo v. Hennessy, 882 F.3d 763 (9th Cir. 2018). Therefore, the district court erred in abstaining under Younger from hearing petitioner's claim that the state was violating his pretrial due process rights. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings.