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Name: People v. Cobb
Case #: E040848
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/28/2007
Subsequent History: Rev. gr. 3/12/08: S159410

A mentally disordered offender’s right to due process is not violated when the trial on the commitment does not commence before his scheduled release date. Penal Code section 2972, subdivision (a) provides that trial on an MDO commitment should commence no later than 30 days prior to the prisoner’s scheduled release date, absent a waiver or a finding of good cause for a continuance. Generally speaking, before the state can deprive a person of his liberty, the person is entitled to notice and hearing. However, under the MDO scheme, a prisoner cannot be committed for the one-year treatment unless he is first made subject to treatment as a condition of parole which, in turn, requires finding that the prisoner has a severe mental disorder that is not treatable, etc. The prisoner can request review of the finding if he disagrees. As such, the MDO scheme, which is civil rather than criminal, incorporates a constitutionally sufficient notice and hearing requirement allowing for confinement of the person after his release date until trial is completed, even if trial commences after the scheduled release date.