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Name: People v. Garcia
Case #: E034552
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/11/2005
Subsequent History: Rhrg. den. 4/5/05

District attorneys are not independently empowered to initiate civil commitment proceedings under Penal Code section 2970 of the Mentally Disordered Offender Act. Instead, district attorneys may only initiate such proceedings when the director of the facility or program providing the prisoner’s treatment, or the Director of Corrections, states in a written evaluation in accordance with section 2970 that the prisoner’s severe mental disorder is not in remission, or cannot be kept in remission without treatment. Here, the director of the facility providing the defendant’s treatment had recommended that civil commitment proceedings under section 2970 not be pursued because the defendant’s severe mental disorder was in remission. The district attorney in this case therefore lacked statutory authority to file a petition and initiate involuntary civil commitment under section 2970 of the MDO Act. The trial court thus also lacked jurisdiction to proceed on that petition and should have granted defendant’s motion to dismiss. The Court of Appeal reversed the civil commitment order and directed the trial court to dismiss the petition.