Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
April 24, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
SERIAL CHILD MOLESTER ORDERED TO BE CIVILLY COMMITTED POTENTIALLY FOR LIFE AFTER JURY AND JUDGE FIND HIM A CONTINUED THREAT TO SOCIETY
SANTA ANA – Today a judge ordered that a sexually violent child molester should remain confined in a mental hospital as a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP). On July 31, 2008, a jury unanimously reached a verdict after a 1-month civil commitment trial and found that he is a continued threat to children and the community. This was the third civil commitment trial in two years against Sid Landau, 69, who has previously been convicted of multiple counts of child molestation. Two juries, in 2006 and 2008, were unable to reach a unanimous decision in Landau’s case.
Under the law, SVPs are subject to mental health reviews once they have completed their criminal sentence. The People file a petition to have the defendant civilly committed and a jury is presented evidence to decide if the defendant is a continued threat to the community. There are three criteria that must be met in order to designate a person as SVP. First, the defendant must have committed at least two sexually violent offenses. Second, he/she must be diagnosed with a mental disorder. Finally, it must be found that he/she is likely to re-offend unless he/she is held in custody and treated. If these three conditions are met and the petition is found true by the jury, the defendant is admitted into a mental care facility.
In 2006, Proposition 83, Jessica’s Law changed the law to improve protection of children and sexual assault victims from dangerous SVPs. Under Jessica’s law, Landau now faces a potential life commitment in a state hospital. In order to get out of the hospital, Mr. Landau will have to prevail at a future hearing, at which he has the burden of proving to a judge that he is no longer dangerous or poses a threat to society. In order for Landau to leave the Coalinga Mental Hospital: (1) The State Director of Mental Health must determine that Landau has changed so that he is no longer a danger if released and send a recommendation to the court recommending Landau’s release; or (2) Landau may file his own petition for release. If Landau files his petition for release without the concurrence of the State Director of Mental Health, a judge may summarily deny the petition without a hearing if the court finds the petition for release does not sufficiently show a reasonable probability that conditions have changed such that Landau would no longer be a danger to molest children. No hearing can be held until Landau has been committed for a full year. Regardless of how the hearing was initiated, Landau will bear the burden of proving at the hearing that he is no longer dangerous. Were Landau to prevail at the hearing, his release would be into a state operated forensic conditional release program, which is a court monitored outpatient program where he would be supervised and treated by trained staff.
In 1982, Landau was convicted of molesting a 10-year-old boy and sentenced to three years in state prison. He was arrested again in 1987 for molesting a 5-year-old boy, but the case was ultimately dismissed. In 1988, Landau pleaded guilty to 18 counts of lewd acts on a child for molesting a 9-year-old boy and received 17 years in state prison. He was paroled in 1996, but only spent 15 months free over the next four years, as he continued to be admitted to state prison for short periods of time for violating the terms of his parole. This included confessing to going to the zoo, a violation because Landau is prohibited from going to places where children are known to congregate, assaulting a cameraman, and possessing teddy bears in his home, items which are lures for children. In 2000, Landau was placed in a mental hospital, where he has been committed for the past nine years.