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Name: People v. Starr
Case #: B155507
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 03/11/2003
Subsequent History: None

Appellant was sentenced to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to four counts of committing lewd acts on a minor under 14. The Board of Prison Terms (BPT) found that appellant fit the criteria for a mentally disordered offender (MDO). Appellant filed a petition to review the determination and set the case for trial. An examining psychologist concluded that appellant had a severe mental disorder because of pedophilia and chronic schizophrenia, and represented a substantial danger of harm to others. An examining psychiatrist testified that he had severe depression with psychotic features and was a danger to others; if released, he might molest children again. A second examining psychologist testified that appellant had severe mental disorders including schizophrenia, and that pedophelia was a factor in his offenses. One defense psychiatrist found that appellant did not have pedophilia; the other said he did suffer from pedophilia, but that it was not a severe mental disorder. The court found appellant to be a pedophile, and ordered him committed as an MDO. On appeal, appellant argued that even though substantial evidence supported the court’s finding that he was a pedophile, pedophilia is not a severe mental disorder under the MDO statutory commitment scheme. The appellate court here affirmed the commitment order. The MDO statute was drafted with the widest latitude and did not restrict the disorders which would fall within the statute to a list of diseases. Pedophilia is a condition which grossly impairs behavior and falls within the broad statutory definition. Further, the Legislature’s selection of qualifying offenses, including lewd acts with a child under 14, shows an intent to include pedophilia as a qualifying disorder.