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Name: People v. Bailie
Case #: C051476
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/08/2006

Appellant was found to be a mentally retarded person who is a danger to himself and others, under Welfare and Institutions Code section 6500, and was committed to the Department of Developmental Services (DSS) for one year. On appeal, he contended that reversal was required because the trial court failed to advise him of his right to a jury trial or to secure a waiver of that right. He also challenged the statutory scheme because it did not require, nor did the petition allege, nor did county counsel prove, that his mental retardation made it seriously difficult for him to control his dangerous behavior. The appellate court agreed and reversed. Equal protection requires that a defendant subject to a section 6500 proceeding be advised of his right to a jury trial. Since the totality of the circumstances did not show that appellant knew he had a right to a jury trial, reversal was required. Further, pursuant to In re Howard N., the extended detention scheme should be construed to require a serious difficulty in controlling dangerous behavior. Should appellant be the subject of a future section 6500 petition, county counsel shall have the burden of pleading and proving the factors mandated by Howard N.