Wednesday, November 23, 2011

People v. Crivello (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 1, 2011)

Justice Robie ends this opinion with:

"The record before us indicates that this latest effort to commit defendant is the fourth time in as many years that the board has determined defendant is an MDO and the People have sought his commitment based on his 2003 robbery conviction. Twice before the court has rejected that commitment based on the res judicata and collateral estoppel effect of the 2006 determination that defendant’s crime was not an aggravating or causative factor in his underlying offense. In the face of these determinations and existing legal authority, it is inexplicable why the board and the People continue to seek defendant’s commitment using this particular statutory scheme and underlying offense as the basis. They must know such a commitment cannot stand.
But, just in case, let us make this perfectly clear. The predicate basis for defendant to be committed as an MDO based on his 2003 robbery conviction does not exist. Because the court found in 2006 that defendant’s mental disorder was not a causative or aggravating factor in that 2003 robbery, defendant cannot now, or ever, be committed as an MDO under sections 2962 or 2970 based on that conviction. Continued attempts to commit defendant on this basis violate the principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel, and represent an enormous waste of resources.
The judgment ordering defendant committed is reversed. The circumstances of this case compel us to remind the parties of the availability of California Rules of Court, rule 8.272(c)(1) whereby the parties can stipulate to the immediate issuance of a remittitur."
Not very difficult to figure out where the Court of Appeal stands on this one, eh?
To its credit, the Attorney General's Office did concede error.  Though that doesn't explain why the People did what they did before, or excuse the conduct below.  As the Court of Appeal makes clear.