Skip to content
Name: People v. Landau
Case #: G044359
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/30/2011

The language of Welfare and Institutions Code section 6605 requires that the director of the State Department of Mental Health (DMH) authorize a petition for the release of an inmate held under the Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) if his annual evaluation results in a recommendation for release. The language of section 6605 is such that “if the Department of Mental Health determines,” based on the evaluation, that release is recommended, then the director is required to authorize the petition. Landau’s evaluator found that he remains a pedophile, but that he is no longer likely to engage in sexually violent criminal behavior. The medical director refused to recommend release under section 6605, which entitles the inmate to an order to show cause hearing, the threshold to a jury trial on the issue of release. When the director failed to concur with the evaluator and did not authorize the petition under section 6605, the trial court treated the petition as one filed under section 6608. That procedure only allows for an initial review to determine if the petition is based on frivolous grounds and Landau’s petition was dismissed as frivolous. The dismissal was reversed because the statutory language does not give the director discretion in 6605 circumstances.