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Name: People v. Powell
Case #: B168083
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 01/08/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 3/30/04

A defendant need not personally waive his right to a jury trial in a commitment extension proceeding under Penal Code section 1026.5. Counsel had waived jury trial on appellant’s behalf, and when appellant later tried to invoke the right, the trial court refused to grant the request despite appellant’s objection that he had not entered a personal waiver. The Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s ruling, holding that unlike the right to jury trial in a criminal case, the right to jury trial in a 1026.5 extension proceeding need not be personally waived, in spite of the language of section 1026.5, subdivision (b), which states that the trial shall be before a jury “unless waived by both the person and the prosecuting attorney.” The court’s rationale for this holding was that appellant had twice been adjudged to be insane, that state doctors had never indicated that he had regained his sanity, and that he sought release in order to kill people. The court found that “common sense” dictated that such a person was not competent to determine whether he should be tried by jury or by court trial, holding that there was no reason to believe that Legislature intended to leave the decision to proceed before a jury “in the hands of such a person.” The court further held that appellant was properly removed from the courtroom on the grounds that he was disruptive.