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Name: Ramirez v. Superior Court (People)
Case #: D072473
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 09/22/2017

Trial court improperly ordered appellant’s extradition to Arizona under California’s extradition statutes rather than the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS). Ramirez was an Arizona probationer who had his supervision transferred to California under the ICAOS. The Arizona state court found probable cause to believe Ramirez had violated his probation terms (the violations occurred in California) and issued an arrest warrant. Arizona requested his return under ICAOS. A week later, the Imperial County Sheriff’s office filed a fugitive complaint against Ramirez, seeking his extradition under California’s extradition statutes (Pen. Code, § 1548 et seq.) and alleging that he was a fugitive from justice. Ramirez was arrested and arraigned on the complaint in Imperial County. At the identification hearing, court and counsel proceeded under California’s extradition statutes and did not reference the ICAOS process. The court found overwhelming evidence that Ramirez was the person wanted in Arizona state court and ordered that he be extradited to Arizona under Penal Code section 1552. Ramirez filed a petition for writ of mandate challenging the order. Held: Petition granted. Under ICAOS, a sending state has the discretion to retake or order the return of an offender from the receiving state at any time. (ICAOS Rule 5.101.) An offender subject to retaking that may result in revocation of supervision is entitled to a probable cause hearing before being returned to the sending state. (Rule 5.108(a).) Here, Arizona initiated proceedings to revoke Ramirez’s probation under the ICAOS, so he was entitled to a probable cause hearing conducted in accordance with ICAOS rules. The identification hearing, while in accordance with California’s extradition procedures, fell far short of ICAOS requirements, which deprived Ramirez of “essential elements of due process and resulted in a fundamentally unfair proceeding.” The Court of Appeal vacated the superior court’s extradition order.

An offender under ICAOS supervision has a right to competence under California’s competency statutes at an ICAOS Rule 5.108 probable cause hearing. Prior to the identification hearing, defense counsel expressed doubt about Ramirez’s mental competency, and the court stayed the proceedings under Penal Code section 1368. The court subsequently vacated the stay based on its conclusion that section 1368 did not apply to extradition proceedings, despite receiving two mental health reports concluding that Ramirez was not competent. At the identification hearing, the court found that Ramirez was not competent under California’s criminal competency statutes or in the specific context of extradition proceedings, but found that his competence was “irrelevant” given the “overwhelming evidence of identity.” In his writ petition, Ramirez argued that subjecting him to extradition proceedings while he was not mentally competent violated his due process rights. The Court of Appeal declined to decide whether an alleged fugitive in extradition proceedings has a statutory or constitutional right to competence (a question that has not been addressed by California courts), and instead concluded that an offender under ICAOS supervision has a state statutory right to competence at a Rule 5.108 probable cause hearing. California’s criminal competency statutes apply to proceedings to revoke probation or other supervision. (Pen. Code, § 1367, et. seq.) These rules are intended to protect the accused who cannot understand the alleged violations, defend himself, or assist his counsel adequately. Here, the probable cause hearing under Rule 5.108 was the first step in proceedings to revoke supervision and therefore constituted part of the revocation proceedings under the competency statutes. Because the trial court found Ramirez incompetent under California’s criminal competency statutes, it should proceed in accordance with those statutes on remand.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: