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Name: People v. Graham
Case #: C097971
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/10/2024

A trial court can consider trial transcripts from the current case when on remand for a “pretrial” mental health diversion hearing under PC section 1001.36. After defendant was convicted of several felonies in 2018, the Court of Appeal conditionally reversed and remanded the case for a mental health diversion eligibility hearing pursuant to section 1001.36. At the hearing, defendant objected to the trial court’s consideration of the trial transcripts, arguing this was remand for a “pretrial” hearing so the court was limited to viewing the matter as it stood before trial. The Court of Appeal disagreed, holding that consistent with its plain language, section 1001.36, subdivision (b)(2) authorizes the trial court to consider any relevant and credible evidence regardless of the format or timing of its presentation.

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in basing its section 1001.36 subdivision (c)(4) determination on the serious and violent nature of defendant’s current crimes. Under section 1001.36(c)(4), defendant is not suitable for diversion if the defendant is “too dangerous to be treated in the community because he [or she] would commit a new violent super strike.” The trial court did not err in basing its dangerousness finding on defendant’s participation in the crimes that resulted in her current super strike convictions. Section 1001.36 grants broad discretion to the court to consider any factors it deems appropriate when assessing dangerousness, and it expressly includes “the defendant’s violence and criminal history” and “the current charged offense” among the permissible factors. (§ 1001.36, subd. (c)(4).) [Editor’s Note: The Court of Appeal acknowledged that one could read the trial court’s dangerousness analysis to indicate it found defendant’s super strike convictions themselves dispositive as a matter of law, however it “did not read the analysis so narrowly.” The Court of Appeal found that the evidence at trial of defendant’s charged crimes, and not simply the fact that she was convicted, guided the trial court’s finding of dangerousness.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: