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Name: People v. Putnam
Case #: A101749
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 02/03/2004
Subsequent History: 3/3/04: opn modified without chg in jmt

Appellant’s commitment as a mentally disordered offender (MDO) was extended following a jury trial. On appeal, he argued that the jury instructions were constitutionally defective because they did not expressly require the jury to find that he had serious present difficulty controlling his behavior such that he presented a serious and well-founded risk of dangerous conduct. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. The trial court was not obligated to give the additional instruction sua sponte. (The court expressed no opinion regarding whether the instructions would have been appropriate if requested.) The jury could not have sustained the petition in this case without having found that, as a result of appellant’s mental disorder, he suffered from an impaired capacity to control his behavior and therefore was a risk to others. The instructions given necessarily covered the issue, and therefore additional instructions were not required.