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Name: In re Howard N.
Case #: S123722
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 02/24/2005

The extended detention scheme outlined in Welfare and Institutions Code section 1800 et seq, which provides for the civil commitment of a person who would otherwise be discharged from the Youth Authority, violates due process because it does not expressly require a finding that the person’s mental deficiency, disorder, or abnormality causes serious difficulty in controlling behavior. The California Supreme Court concluded that, in order to preserve the constitutionality of the commitment scheme, such a requirement should be read into the relevant statutes. Because the jury in this case was not instructed in regard to this requirement, and little evidence was presented regarding the effect of the defendant’s mental disorder on his ability to control his behavior, he was entitled to a new commitment hearing. The court declined to address other constitutional challenges to the extended detention scheme, citing defendant’s failure to raise those issues in an answer to the petition for review.