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Name: People v. Taylor
Case #: B194403
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 02/20/2008
Summary

The Anders/Wende review procedures do not apply to post-conviction commitments under the Mentally Disordered Offender Act (MDOA). The MDOA is a civil proceeding and involves interests similar to those addressed in the California Supreme Court’s decisions in In re Sade C. (1996) 13 Cal.4th 952 (indigent parents appeal of an order adversely affecting parental status or custody rights) and In re Conservatorship of Ben C. (2007) 40 Cal.4th 529 (conservatorship proceedings under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act), both cases finding that the proceedings involved were exempt from Anders/Wende review. With the MDOA proceeding, there are procedural protections against unwarranted commitments–factors must be established to sustain a commitment; the prisoner who is certified for MDO treatment has a right to a hearing before the Board of Parole Hearings; the certifying agency has the burden of proof; the prisoner is entitled to appointment of two independent mental health professionals; the prisoner may thereafter petition for a hearing in superior court where he/she has the right to counsel, jury trial, and a unanimous verdict by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The commitment is for one year only with a new commitment subject to the same safeguards. The trial court maintains ongoing supervision over the proceedings which provide more immediate avenue to modification than the appeal process. MDO’s are entitled to counsel on appeal. Due process, therefore, does not require a Wende/Anders review of the MDO proceedings.