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Name: Conservatorship of Christopher B.
Case #: C077467
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/28/2015

Because trial court did not have jurisdiction to reconsider its unambiguous, but mistaken, dismissal of criminal charges, there was no criminal indictment to support a Murphy conservatorship. Following a bench trial in probate court in September 2014, the court imposed a "Murphy conservatorship" over Christopher B. This conservatorship is a renewable one-year civil commitment for criminal defendants who are otherwise incompetent to stand trial for a felony involving death, great bodily harm, or a serious threat to the physical well-being of another and who do not have the prospect of a restoration of competency. On appeal, Christopher argued…

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Name: People v. Cowart
Case #: A141043
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/17/2015

Leaving the scene of an accident in violation of Vehicle Code section 20001 is not a "felony involving death" within the meaning of Penal Code section 1601, subdivision (a) when there is no evidence that the victim's death resulted from the flight. Cowart was charged with a hit and run offense (Veh. Code, § 20001, subd. (a)) and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter (Pen. Code, § 192, subd. (d)(2)) after he hit and fatally injured a bicyclist with his car, then left the scene of the accident. He was found incompetent to stand trial due to vascular dementia. At a hearing to…

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Name: People v. Brewer
Case #: C075255
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/13/2015

Changes in the law regarding transfer of defendants found incompetent to stand trial (IST) require remand for reconsideration of Sacramento trial court's injunction mandating 14-day transfer of defendants to state hospital. When a defendant is found IST, the trial court orders that the defendant be delivered by the sheriff to a state hospital or other treatment facility for restorative treatment (Pen. Code, § 1370, subd. (a)(1)(B)(i)). In 2005 the Sacramento Public Defender filed a writ petition on behalf of defendants who had been found IST but who were being detained at county jail rather than transferred to a state hospital…

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Name: People v. Gardner
Case #: A135615
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/21/2014

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying request for self-representation where defendant suffered from an expressive language disorder that would prevent him from coherently communicating with the court or a jury. Gardner was convicted of first degree murder, torture, and other offenses. Prior to trial Gardner requested self-representation; his attorney expressed a doubt regarding his competence to stand trial. Criminal proceedings were suspended and a doctor was appointed to evaluate Gardner. The doctor reported that Gardner was competent to stand trial and to waive his right to counsel. However, she opined with "reasonable medical certainty" that Gardner was…

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Name: People v. Kirvin
Case #: B246329
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/04/2014

Substantial evidence supported the trial court's competency determination where two experts agreed that defendant understood the charges and proceedings, but only one found him to be competent. Before Kirvin's trial, the court declared a doubt about his competence, suspended proceedings under Penal Code section 1368, and appointed two mental health experts to evaluate him. The experts agreed that Kirvin understood the nature of the charges against him and what was at stake, but they reached different conclusions regarding Kirvin's ability to assist in his defense. The court appointed a third expert, but Kirvin refused to meet with him. That expert,…

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Name: People v. G.H.
Case #: E059718
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/30/2014

Trial court properly determined that defendant was not entitled to have precommitment custody credits applied against commitment period in state hospital to restore competency. In May 2010, G.H. was charged with multiple offenses. He was found incompetent to stand trial and committed to Patton State Hospital, not to exceed three years. The trial court ultimately concluded that G.H. was not entitled to have his precommitment custody credits applied against the commitment. G.H. appealed this ruling. Held: Affirmed. Under Penal Code section 1370, subdivision (c)(1), a defendant who has been found incompetent to stand trial may be committed to a…

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Name: In re Williams
Case #: B252654
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 08/08/2014

Trial court did not have authority under Penal Code section 1370.1 to place mentally incompetent defendant in county jail to receive competency services. Due to his developmental disability, Williams was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial for a number of sex offenses. The regional center provided a recommendation to the trial court to place Williams in the Porterville Developmental Center where he was to receive services designed to restore him to competency. The court ordered Williams placed there, but Porterville refused to accept him because of safety concerns. After finding no other options, the trial court ordered that Williams remain…

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Name: People v. Salter
Case #: E054646
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/26/2012

Defendant is not denied due process where the trial court fails to appoint a second attorney to advocate her competency after trial defense counsel has declared a doubt as to defendant's competence to stand trial. After killing a pedestrian with her car, appellant was charged with vehicular manslaughter and other offenses. Prior to trial her attorney moved for a mental health evaluation (Evid. Code, § 1017), which was performed. Thereafter counsel moved to suspend criminal proceedings (Pen. Code, § 1368) and agreed to submit the issue of mental competence on two doctors' reports. Defense counsel informed the court that appellant…

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Name: People v. Coleman
Case #: A133226
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/01/2012

Substantial evidence supported the trial court's order authorizing the defendant's involuntary medication for purposes of restoring him to competency to stand trial. While the defendant was pending felony sex charges, he was found incompetent to stand trial pursuant to Penal Code section 1368. The court authorized the involuntary administration of antipsychotic medications and he was restored to competence. In a letter, the hospital requested authorization to involuntarily medicate the defendant again because he was refusing to take the medication that had restored him to competence and there was significant worsening of his symptoms of mental illness. Soon afterwards, the defendant…

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Name: People v. Christiana
Case #: E048681
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/10/2010

An order authorizing a hospital to involuntarily administer antipsychotic medication to a defendant found incompetent to stand trial and committed for treatment must be predicated, in part, on identification of the specific medication. Under Penal Code section 1370, the state may authorize involuntary medication for treatment of a defendant who has been found incompetent to stand trial and has been committed for treatment. Any order must be supported by substantial evidence of the necessity, with focus on the following four factors: (1) whether important governmental interests were at stake, namely, was defendant charged with a serious crime, in light of…

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