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Name: People v. Martinez
Case #: G052440
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/26/2016

Wende/Anders procedures are not required in appeal from an order extending the commitment of a defendant found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI). In 2004, Martinez was found NGI of first degree burglary and attempted burglary. In 2015, his civil commitment was extended. He appealed the extension and appellate counsel filed a brief advising the court that he found no issues. However, counsel also argued that due process required the appellate court to undertake an independent review of the appellate record. Held: Appeal dismissed. When the defendant has a federal constitutional right to appellate counsel, and appellate counsel cannot find any issues to raise on appeal, the appellate court must conduct an independent review of the entire record. (Anders v. California (1967) 386 U.S. 738; People v. Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436.) The Anders/Wende procedures do not apply in proceedings where there is no underlying constitutional right to counsel. This is true even if a state has elected to provide appointed counsel. The California Supreme Court has applied a three-prong test to determine whether due process requires the extension of Anders/Wende to other types of appeals. (See In re Sade C. (1996) 13 Cal.4th 952.) Applying this test, the court here determined that “due process does not require the adoption of the Anders procedure in an appeal from a judgment extending an NGI’s civil commitment.” Although the private interest at stake (deprivation of liberty) is great, the state’s interest in treating the mentally ill and protecting society from individuals who pose a danger due to their mental illness is also significant and the risk of an erroneous deprivation absent Anders/Wende procedures is minimal due to other procedural protections that are already in place, like a jury trial.

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