California Court of Appeals, First District, Third Division
Superior Court of Contra Costa County, Super. Ct. No.
5-171905-3 Lewis A. Davis, J. Trial Judge
District Appellate Project, Jonathan Soglin and Jeremy Price
for Defendant and Appellant.
Becerra, Attorney General, Lance E. Winters and Jeffrey M.
Laurence, Assistant Attorneys General, Seth K. Schalit and
Lisa Ashley Ott, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and
Jack Blanchard appeals from an order that adjudicated him
incompetent to stand trial for a probation revocation charge
and committed him to the Department of State Hospitals. His
court-appointed counsel has filed a brief seeking our
independent review of the record pursuant to People v.
Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436 (Wende) to determine
whether there are any arguable issues on appeal. After
considering whether Wende requires our independent
review of the record in this circumstance, we conclude it
does not. Instead, we follow and apply the process for review
identified by our Supreme Court in Conservatorship of Ben
C. (2007) 40 Cal.4th 529 (Ben C.).
reviewed the brief provided by appointed counsel. It contains
a summary of the relevant facts and law, and there appear to
be no arguable issues to be pursued on appeal. Accordingly,
this appeal is dismissed.
was arrested after he was seen carrying a backpack and
running away from a home that was not his own. The homeowners
identified items in the backpack as theirs.
entered a no contest plea to second degree burglary. The
court suspended the imposition of sentence and placed
Blanchard on behavioral health probation for three years.
Between January and November 2018, Blanchard was twice
charged with violating the terms of his probation, and each
time probation was reinstated. On November 29, 2018, he was
charged with a third violation for a possible commercial
burglary. That charge was quickly supplemented with two other
December 11, 2018, his counsel on the probation violation
charges declared a doubt regarding Blanchard's competence
to stand trial. Blanchard objected to any finding of his
incompetence, and the court appointed experts to evaluate
him. With the agreement of all counsel, the expert reports
were admitted into evidence, and the matter was submitted. On
the basis of the reports, Blanchard was found incompetent to
stand trial. The court referred Blanchard to the Contra Costa
Conditional Release Program (CONREP) for a recommendation
regarding his proper placement. Based on the CONREP
recommendation, the court committed Blanchard to a state
hospital for two years. He appealed the finding of
incompetency and his hospital commitment.
[Anders v. State of California (1967) 386 U.S. 738
(Anders)], the United States Supreme Court held that
when appointed counsel in a criminal defendant's first
appeal is unable to find any arguable issues for briefing,
counsel should submit a brief referring to any matters in the
record that might arguably support the appeal, provide the
defendant a copy, and request permission to withdraw.
[Citation.] After the defendant is given the opportunity to
raise any points he or she wants the appellate court to
consider, the court independently reviews the proceedings to
determine whether the appeal is ‘wholly frivolous.'
[Citation.] In Wende, the California Supreme Court
concluded that Anders required the Courts of Appeal
‘to conduct a review of the entire record whenever
appointed counsel submits a brief which raises no specific
issues or describes the appeal as frivolous. This obligation
is triggered by the receipt of such a brief from counsel and
does not depend on the subsequent receipt of a brief from the
defendant personally.' [Citation.] The court further
recognized that ‘counsel may properly remain in the
case so long as he has not described the appeal as frivolous
and has informed the defendant that he may request the court
to have counsel relieved if he so desires.'
[Citation.]” (People v. Taylor (2008) 160
Cal.App.4th 304, 309.) This process is commonly referred to
as an Anders/Wende review. (Id. at p. 312.)
In re Sade C. (1996) 13 Cal.4th 952, 959 (Sade
C.), our Supreme Court held that Anders/Wende
review does not apply to an indigent parent's appeal of
an order terminating parental rights or a custody
determination. Sade C. began by recognizing the
obvious qualification for Anders/Wende review. By
its very terms, the Anders/Wende procedures apply to
appointed counsel's representation of an indigent
criminal defendant in the defendant's first appeal as of
right. (Id. at p. 982.) Beyond this obvious
distinction from a dependency case, the Sade C.
court considered whether due process required
Anders/Wende review as a matter of fundamental
fairness. The Court balanced three elements in reaching its
conclusion that it does not. They are: “(1) the private
interests at stake; (2) the state's interests involved;
and (3) the risk that absence of the procedures in question
will lead to an erroneous resolution of the appeal.”
(Id. at p. 987.)
Ben C., supra, 40 Cal.4th 529, the court
applied the Sade C. factors to a request for
Anders/Wende review of a conservatorship imposed
under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (Welf. & Inst. Code,
§ 5000 et seq.) (LPS). In rejecting the necessity for
such a review, the court first focused on the private and
public interests at stake under the LPS scheme. It recognized
that among the LPS Act's goals are the prompt evaluation
and treatment of persons with serious mental disorders;
individualized treatment supervision and placement services
for the gravely disabled; judicial review to safeguard the
rights of those ...