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Name: In re Michael H.
Case #: F045191
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/28/2005

The minor was committed to CYA for a felony violation of Penal Code section 288. Just prior to the expiration of his commitment, the juvenile court ordered his commitment extended for two years pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 1800 et seq. On appeal, Michael argued the constitutionality of the statute, and also the insufficiency of evidence to support the necessary findings to extend the commitment. The appellate court, citing the recent California Supreme Court opinion in In re Howard N. (2005) 35 Cal.4th 117, upheld the constitutionality of the statute by construing it to require that the mental disorder cause serious difficulty in controlling the behavior of the potential committee, resulting in a serious and well-founded risk of reoffense. This requirement must be alleged in the petition and demonstrated at the probable cause hearing and trial. Because the petition seeking to extend the minor’s commitment did not contain the necessary allegations, the minor’s case was reversed and remanded to the juvenile court. [Editor’s note: look for pre-Howard N. cases where this requirement was not met, even though a Crane instruction may have been given.]