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Name: People v. Pipkin
Case #: A148228
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 10/02/2018

Appeal dismissed as moot where appellant’s mentally disordered offender (MDO) commitment expired (and was not renewed) before the appellate court determined the impact of Proposition 47’s reduction of his felony to a misdemeanor. Appellant was committed as a mentally disordered offender in 2011 following his felony conviction for grand theft (Pen. Code, § 487) in 2009. During recommitment proceedings in 2015, appellant’s grand theft conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor pursuant to Proposition 47. Appellant moved to dismiss the pending recommitment petition, arguing that further commitment was unauthorized given that his qualifying conviction must be treated as a misdemeanor for all purposes. The trial court denied his motion to dismiss and granted the recommitment petition. He appealed. Held: Dismissed as moot. As a general rule, appellate courts decide actual controversies and do not give opinions on moot questions or abstract propositions. An appeal is moot when the occurrence of events renders it impossible for the appellate court to grant appellant any effective relief. Here, no meaningful relief was possible because appellant’s recommitment expired during the course of the appeal and no further recommitment petition was filed. Although this case may involve an important matter of public interest that is likely to recur, the issue raised by appellant’s case is not likely to evade review. The same question was addressed in People v. Goodrich (2017) 7 Cal.App.5th 699, 705-706, which held that the redesignation of a qualifying offense as a misdemeanor pursuant to Proposition 47 does not preclude recommitment as an MDO. In addition, the California Supreme Court has granted review on this issue in People v. Foster (Feb. 27, 2018, D071733) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 6/13/2018 (S248046). Thus, there is no reason for this court to resolve the matter, which has become moot in appellant’s case.

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