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Name: People v. Reynolds
Case #: E047192
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/20/2009

Counsel did not provide ineffective assistance by conceding that client’s petition for release was frivolous. Reynolds, an SVP who had been recommitted, filed a pro se petition for unconditional release (Welf. & Inst. Code, sec. 6608) while his recommitment was on appeal. The prosecution moved to dismiss the petition. At a hearing on the petition, defense counsel acknowledged that there had been no changed circumstances. The court dismissed the petition without prejudice. On appeal, Reynolds argued that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to review his petition, and that counsel was ineffective by “abandoning” him by conceding his petition lacked merit. The appellate court found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing the petition where appellant conceded there had been no changed circumstances. Further, the record supported counsel’s concession. The court also rejected appellant’s argument that he was deprived of effective assistance of counsel. The petition was frivolous, and even if counsel had argued in favor of it, no other result was possible, much less likely. Counsel made a wise tactical decision by not opposing the dismissal of the petition in the face of two recent evaluations demonstrating that Reynolds was still an SVP at risk of reoffending. There was no reasonable probability Reynolds would have obtained a favorable result absent counsel’s concession.