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People v. Rosa

California Court of Appeals, Third District, Butte

September 8, 2014

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
RUDY FRANCISCO DE LA ROSA, Defendant and Appellant.

[DEPUBLISHED BY ORDER]

[REVIEW GRANTED BY CAL. SUPREME COURT]

[CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION[*]]

Super. Ct. No. CM035627

Page 1234

COUNSEL

Paul Bernstein, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, Eric L. Christoffersen and Sally Espinoza, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

ROBIE, J.

Defendant Rudy Francisco De La Rosa appeals from an order committing him to the trial competency program at Napa State Hospital

Page 1235

pursuant to Penal Code[1] section 1370.[2] He contends insufficient evidence supports the finding that he was not competent to stand trial. He also contends that after the court decided his placement at Napa State Hospital, the trial court erred in denying him an opportunity to be heard.

While defendant’s appeal was pending in this court, defense appellate counsel advised this court that on April 2, 2013, the trial court terminated defendant’s commitment, finding that defendant had been restored to competency, and reinstated criminal proceedings. Defendant then entered a plea and the court granted probation.

Relying solely upon People v. Lindsey (1971) 20 Cal.App.3d 742 [97 Cal.Rptr. 872], the People argue the issues have been rendered moot due to defendant’s restoration to competency and the resumption of criminal proceedings during which defendant entered a plea and was granted probation. Defendant disagrees the issues are moot, arguing that the People have ignored post-Lindsey cases discussing the continuing stigma of a wrongful commitment.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY[*]

DISCUSSION

I

This Appeal Is Not Moot

An appeal is moot when the outcome of the appeal will have no effect. (See Consol. etc. Corp. v. United A. etc. Workers (1946) 27 Cal.2d 859, 862-863 [167 P.2d 725]; In re Miranda (2011) 191 Cal.App.4th 757, 762 [120 Cal.Rptr.3d 461].) The People argue the issues have been rendered moot due to defendant’s restoration to competency and the resumption of criminal proceedings during which defendant entered a plea and was granted probation.

Page 1236

However, the order here required a finding that defendant had a mental disorder. And the issue of defendant’s mental competence in future proceedings may be based on prior incompetency findings. “Evidence of incompetence may emanate from several sources, including the defendant’s demeanor, irrational behavior, and prior mental evaluations.” (People v. Rogers (2006) 39 Cal.4th 826, 847 [48 Cal.Rptr.3d 1, 141 P.3d 135], citing Drope v. Missouri (1975) 420 U.S. 162, 180 [43 L.Ed.2d 103. 118, 95 S.Ct. 896].)

Accordingly, because the finding that defendant was incompetent could impact future proceedings, defendant is entitled to challenge that finding and the issue is not moot. (See, e.g., People v. Feagley (1975) 14 Cal.3d 338, 345 [121 Cal.Rptr. 509, 535 P.2d 373]; People v. Succop (1967) 67 Cal.2d 785, 789-790 [63 Cal.Rptr. 569, 433 P.2d 473]; People v. DeLong (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 482, 484 [124 Cal.Rptr.2d 293] [defendant’s drug possession conviction set aside after completing treatment program and probation conditions; appeal not rendered moot since defendant entitled to clear her name and stigma of criminality]; see also Conservatorship of Roulet (1979) 23 Cal.3d 219, 228-230 [152 Cal.Rptr. 425, 590 P.2d 1] [stigma attaches to a person found gravely disabled due to mental disorder]; Conservatorship of Jones (1989) 208 Cal.App.3d 292, 298 [256 Cal.Rptr. 415] [collateral consequences remain “after the termination of a conservatorship (such as legal questions arising from the period of incapacity and potential social stigma) justify review” even though arguably moot]; Conservatorship of Wilson (1982) 137 Cal.App.3d 132, 136 [186 Cal.Rptr. 748]; 6 Witkin & Epstein, Cal. Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Criminal Appeal, § 187. p. 472.)

The People rely on People v. Lindsey, supra, 20 Cal.App.3d at page 742, but that case is based on prior law and is inapposite. After Lindsey was decided, the decisions in Jackson v. Indiana (1972) 406 U.S. 715 [32 L.Ed.2d 435, 92 S.Ct. 1845] and In re Davis (1973) 8 Cal.3d 798 [106 Cal.Rptr. 178. 505 P.2d 1018] issued and section 1367 was substantially amended. Unlike in Lindsey, the finding of incompetency in this case may have a future impact, and hence the appeal is not moot. In the unpublished portion of this opinion, we turn to the merits.

II

The Merits of the Order and Right to Be Heard[*]

Page 1237

DISPOSITION

The order (finding of incompetency) is affirmed.

Raye, P. J., and Mauro, J., concurred.


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