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The People v. Merle Glasper Wakefield

COURT OF APPEAL, FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION ONE STATE OF CALIFORNIA


December 15, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
MERLE GLASPER WAKEFIELD, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.

Super. Ct. No. MH100328 APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of San Diego County, Melinda J. Lasater, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: McINTYRE, J.

P. v. Wakefield CA4/1

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Reversed and remanded with directions.

In 2009, a jury found true an allegation that Merle Glasper Wakefield is a sexually violent predator (SVP) (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600 et seq.). The trial court ordered Wakefield committed to the Department of Mental Health indeterminately for appropriate treatment and confinement in a secure facility. In 2010, in People v. McKee (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1172 (McKee), the California Supreme Court concluded: "[T]he state has not yet carried its burden of demonstrating why SVP's, but not any other ex-felons subject to civil commitment, . . . are subject to indefinite commitment. . . . [W]e remand to the trial court to permit the People the opportunity to justify the differential treatment in accord with established equal protection principles." (Id. at p. 1184.)

Wakefield appeals, contending that in light of McKee, we must vacate the indefinite commitment and remand the matter to the trial court for consolidation with McKee, supra, 47 Cal.4th 1172 and other SVP cases currently being heard in San Diego County. Alternatively, Wakefield requests that this case be suspended until a final resolution in McKee, an alternative that he claims will be less efficacious in terms of judicial efficiency and a timely determination of his equal protection claim. Respondent concedes that if the matter is remanded, the trial court should be ordered to suspend further proceedings in this case pending finality of the proceedings on remand in McKee.

McKee, supra, 47 Cal.4th 1172 requires us to vacate the indefinite commitment and remand the matter to the trial court. An order for suspension of proceedings, rather than constraining the trial court with an order for consolidation, is the best way to ensure judicial efficiency and timely resolution of Wakefield's claim.

DISPOSITION

The order for indefinite commitment is reversed, and the case is remanded to the trial court for reconsideration of Wakefield's equal protection argument in light of McKee, supra, 47 Cal.4th 1172, and the final resolution of the proceedings on remand in McKee. (Id. at pp. 1208-1210.) In this regard, the trial court shall suspend further proceedings in this case pending finality of the proceedings on remand in McKee, including any proceeding in the Superior Court of San Diego County in which McKee may be consolidated with related matters, any subsequent appeal and any proceedings in the California Supreme Court.

WE CONCUR:

BENKE, Acting P. J.

McDONALD, J.

20101215

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