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Name: People v. Superior Court (Salter)
Case #: B227337
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 02/24/2011

Once an MDO extension petition has been filed based on the recommendation of the medical director, the prosecution has a right to a jury trial to resolve any conflicts about the medical condition of the prisoner. When appellant was a prison inmate, he was identified as a potential mentally disordered offender (MDO) and sent to a state hospital. The hospital director recommended appellant’s commitment be extended, and so the prosecutor filed an MDO extension petition. There were two doctor reports which disagreed on whether appellant needed a civil commitment or whether he was in remission, and the hospital director subsequently changed his mind. The trial court granted appellant’s motion to dismiss the extension petition and the People appealed, arguing a jury should have decided the issue since there were conflicting opinions. The Court of Appeal agreed. In People v. McKee (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1172, the California Supreme Court noted MDO’s and SVP’s are similarly situated. And Gray v. Superior Court (2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 322, holds that once an SVP petition has been filed and the trial court has found probable cause to exist, the matter should go to trial for a jury to determine whether a person is an SVP. The same reasoning applies since these inmates are similarly situated. The cases appellant relies on do not apply because they are factually distinguishable. In those cases, the director had not recommended a petition be filed and the prosecutor simply tried to obtain a desired result.