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Name: People v. Allen
Case #: H027835
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/08/2006
Subsequent History: Review granted 5/17/06: S141483

The statutory requirement that a petition to extend the commitment be filed before the termination of a mentally disordered offender’s current commitment is mandatory and jurisdictional. The defendant’s commitment had last been extended in August of 2002, and was set to expire in October of 2003. In April of 2003, the medical director at Napa State Hospital recommended to the district attorney that a new extension petition be filed, but no petition was filed until January 21, 2004, after the previous term had expired and the defendant had filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus seeking his release. Defendant moved to dismiss the petition, claiming that the belated petition deprived him of due process and that the court was without jurisdiction to hear it. The trial court denied both the petition for writ of habeas corpus and the motion to dismiss, and ordered that the defendant’s commitment be extended until October of 2004. The court of appeal reversed the commitment order and remanded with directions to dismiss the petition, finding that the statutory requirement that a new petition be filed prior to the expiration of the prior commitment was mandatory, and that the statute required dismissal where no new petition was filed. One justice dissented in part, disagreeing that the statute was intended to deprive the trial court of jurisdiction to hear a new petition under the circumstances, and expressing the view that remand was required to determine whether defendant’s due process rights had been violated.