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Name: Langhorne et al v. Superior Court
Case #: H033845
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/16/2009

Under Welfare and Institutions Code section 6601, subdivision (a)(2), a petition to extend a sexually violent predator (SVP) commitment to an indefinite term will not be dismissed if it is shown that the failure to timely pursue the action was a good faith mistake of law. Petitioners were initially subject to a determinate two-year term under the SVPA. When the act was amended to provide for an indeterminate term, the People filed motions to automatically convert the terms to indeterminate terms. People v. Whaley (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 778 was then decided which held that an automatic commitment was improper because the person is entitled to an extension hearing at which there is to be a new determination of whether the person is an SVP. In the meantime, petitioners’ two-year commitments had expired. Petitioners sought dismissal of the extended commitment petitions on the grounds that they were not legally in custody when the petitions were filed. The court affirmed the trial court denial of motion to dismiss, holding that under the good faith exception of Welfare and Institutions Code section 6601, subdivision (a)(2), the court did not lose jurisdiction when, as here, the untimely recommitment petitions were due to the People’s mistake of law.