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Name: People v. Fisher
Case #: B207595
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 03/27/2009

Denial of the right to be present for a hearing on psychotropic medication was harmless error. Fisher, a mentally disordered offender (MDO) appealed from an order authorizing the administration of psychotropic medication during his treatment. He contended that his due process and statutory rights were violated because he did not personally waive his right to be present for the hearing, and was absent during the doctor’s testimony, nor was he advised of the right to a jury trial. The appellate court held that appellant’s right to a hearing was violated because he did not personally waive the right to be present and was not unable to attend the hearing. However, appellant’s absence from court on the day that the doctor testified was harmless because his counsel thoroughly cross-examined the doctor, and when appellant did appear at the continued hearing, he was given an opportunity to rebut the testimony. Further, there was ample evidence that the administration of psychotropic drugs was medically appropriate. The court also held that Fisher had no right to a jury trial on the question of involuntary psychotropic medication.