SAN JOSE, Calif.—A state appeals court has reversed a jury's decision to commit a sexually violent predator to a state mental hospital, saying a San Jose prosecutor engaged in serious misconduct.

The San Jose Mercury News reported (http://bit.ly/ZEZHgN) that the opinion published Thursday claimed Santa Clara County Chief Assistant District Attorney Jay Boyarsky asked improper questions and made improper arguments during the civil trial to commit the man.

Defendant Dariel Shazier pleaded guilty in 1994 to sodomy with a minor under 14, and other charges.

He was sentenced to nearly 18 years in prison, but prosecutors sought to commit him to Coalinga State Hospital upon his release.

A jury voted 11-1 to commit Shazier, who remains in the hospital while the parties decide whether to challenge the appellate ruling or retry him.

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Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com