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Name: Blakely v. San Bernadino County Superior Court
Case #: G042107
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/19/2010

Under the MDO Act the deadline to evaluate and certify the prisoner is mandatory and failure to comply with it invalidates the Board’s determination. The Mentally Disordered Offender Act, Penal Code section 2960 et seq., provides for involuntary mental health treatment of the prisoner who meets the criteria set forth in the statute. The Act requires that the evaluation and certification of the prisoner occur prior to release on parole. Here, following her conviction for resisting a peace officer and misdemeanor vandalism, appellant was incarcerated in prison on September 3, 2008, for a 16 month term, but the next day, the authorities calculated that she should be released on parole because of accrued time credits. Before she was released, however, she was evaluated and certified to the Board of Parole Hearings as meeting the MDO criteria and the Board released her on parole on condition she receive treatment at the state hospital. She was then transferred to Patton State Hospital. The appellate court, utilizing rules of statutory construction, held that the deadline (prior to release on parole) for the certification was mandatory and that the statute contained no provision for good cause extensions of the deadline. Because appellant, despite her custody status, was on parole when the evaluation/certification was completed the action was unauthorized and had to be invalidated. The court noted that its holding did not necessarily mean that appellant should be released because, where appropriate, action could be taken under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act for continued detention. Ironically, just prior to oral argument on this case, the Board found appellant no longer met the criteria of a MDO and scheduled her for parole release.