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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Sex Offender to Be Held Beyond His Original Sentence

October 26, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A man convicted of molesting a 9-year-old Pasadena girl lost another attempt to gain freedom Wednesday, under a law designed to keep mentally disturbed sexual predators in custody beyond their sentences.

At a hearing before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Teri Schwartz Carnot, Lyles, 43, was ordered back to Atascadero State Hospital. The hospital told the court that Lyles remains a danger to the community if released.

Lyles was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

He was denied parole in 1994, and in 1996 became subject to a law on violent sexual predators that carries the potential of indefinite confinement. The law allows offenders to be confined for additional two-year periods if a jury agrees with psychiatric evaluations showing that an offender has ongoing mental disorders.

Lyles is scheduled for release in August 2001 but could be recommitted to the state hospital at a jury trial.

In December 1998, the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles ruled that Lyles could remain in state hands--even though he was among prisoners denied parole without legal authority. Lyles was among 38 inmates whose sex-offender classification was used to keep them in custody after 80 other inmates wrongly denied parole were ordered freed.

Recommitment proceedings every two years could continue "in light of the serious public safety purpose" of the sexual predator law, according to another state appeals court ruling in 1998 applied in the Lyles case. The state Supreme Court declined to review that ruling last year.

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