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Name: People v. Goodrich
Case #: D069515
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 01/17/2017
Summary

Mentally disordered offender (MDO) who had his commitment offense reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor pursuant to Proposition 47 before recommitment is not entitled to dismissal of the recommitment petition. Before Goodrich’s MDO recommitment hearing, he had his commitment offense, grand theft person, reduced to a misdemeanor pursuant to Proposition 47. He moved to dismiss the recommitment petition on the basis that his commitment offense was no longer a felony. The trial court denied the motion and he was recommitted. He appealed. Held: Affirmed. To be committed as an MDO under Penal Code section 2962, there are six requirements, including that the commitment offense be a felony that resulted in a prison sentence. However, to be recommitted as an MDO, there are only three requirements: the offender suffers from a severe mental disorder, that the illness is not or cannot be kept in remission, and that the offender poses a risk of danger to others. Thus, the existence of a felony conviction at the time of recommitment is irrelevant. And while a felony conviction is necessary for a commitment in the first instance, Goodrich had a felony conviction at that time. The fact he later had the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor does not operate retroactively. Although Proposition 47 contains language that a felony reduced to a misdemeanor under its provisions shall be a “misdemeanor for all purposes” (see Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subdivision (k)), that language operates prospectively only. This result is consistent with the voters’ intent to “reduce penalties for certain offenders convicted of nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes.” An MDO, however, is, by definition, a person who committed a serious or violent offense and who “continues to represent a substantial danger of physical harm to others” because of a mental disorder.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/D069515.PDF