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Name: People v. J.S.
Case #: E058471
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/26/2014

Defendant was entitled to have her petition challenging her MDO classification heard on the merits after her initial commitment period expired because the petition was filed during the initial year of commitment and was not moot. Defendant was convicted of several criminal offenses and, after serving a prison term, was certified as an MDO. The Board of Parole Hearings rejected defendant’s challenge to her MDO classification and she filed a petition requesting judicial review under Penal Code section 2966, subdivision (b). Although her trial was set to begin in San Bernardino County before her one-year term of involuntary treatment ended, Madera County, where she was in custody, did not transport her to court for her trial before her term expired. The People filed a motion to dismiss the petition as moot, which the trial court granted. On appeal, defendant contended that she was entitled to have her petition heard on the merits even though the initial term was already complete because the petition was filed during the initial year of commitment. Held: Reversed. Section 2966, subdivision (b) does not state whether a defendant must fully litigate her petition challenging the initial determination that she qualifies as an MDO during her initial year of commitment. Here, the court concluded that “a petition filed before the initial commitment term expires—regardless of when it is heard—is timely and is not subject to dismissal on grounds of mootness, at least so long as the People seek to continue the offender’s involuntary treatment.” The petition is not moot because an offender’s involuntary commitment may be continued beyond the initial one-year term and the offender will not have another opportunity to challenge three of the “static” criteria used to establish MDO status.