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Name: People v. Standish
Case #: S129755
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/05/2006

The trial court’s failure to release the defendant on his own recognizance pending the preliminary hearing was error, but because the error did not affect the outcome of the hearing, no substantial right was implicated. The defendant was initially arrested after he killed a cat, dangled a child over a balcony, and threatened a neighbor who called police. He was released on bail, after which he again threatened the neighbor and attacked his wife, hitting her in the face with his fist. He was arrested again, and the subsequent proceedings were suspended under Penal Code section 1368 due to concerns about his competency. He was found competent to stand trial, but the complaint was dismissed due to the unavailability of a witness. The prosecution refiled the complaint, but later moved to continue the preliminary hearing because a witness was out of state on vacation. The defense objected to the continuance, and in the alternative demanded an OR release. The court declined to release the defendant, and granted the continuance. The superior court later granted the defendant’s request to set aside the information, and the appellate court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeal, holding that the defendant was entitled to a release on his own recognizance when the preliminary examination was continued for good cause, but that the court’s failure to grant him OR release pending the preliminary examination did not amount to denial of a substantial right at the preliminary examination within the meaning of section 995, in the absence of evidence that the error reasonably might have affected the outcome of that hearing.