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Name: People v. Crivello
Case #: C066994
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/01/2011

Where the trial court found reasonable doubt that defendant had a substantial mental disorder that was a causative factor in the commission of his crime, the prosecution is barred from seeking to recommit the defendant as a mentally disordered offender (MDO). In 2003, defendant was charged with robbery and other offenses. Criminal proceedings were initially suspended when defendant was found incompetent to stand trial. After criminal proceedings were reinstated, defendant pled no contest to robbery and was sentenced to state prison. Prior to his release in 2005, the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) determined he was a MDO and required him to undergo mental health treatment as a condition of parole. Defendant challenged this condition and after a hearing in 2006, the court found there was reasonable doubt whether defendant had a substantial mental disorder that was a causative/aggravating factor of the crime. Thereafter on several occasions, the BPH found defendant to be a MDO and required mental health treatment. When the prosecution filed a petition in 2010 for continued involuntary treatment, defendant argued that a recommitment was barred by principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel, based on the court’s 2006 finding appellant was not a MDO. Nonetheless in 2010 the court ordered continued treatment. Defendant appealed, contending he had been illegally committed under Penal Code section 2970. The prosecution agreed. The Court of Appeal reversed the order. Where a trial court determines that a mental disorder was not an aggravating factor in the commission of a crime, the prosecution is precluded from seeking further MDO determinations based on that same offense. Here, the trial court in 2006 found insufficient evidence to support a finding that any mental disorder was an aggravating or causative factor in appellant’s crime. This is a static factor, not subject to change. As such, it is binding as to subsequent proceedings.