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People v. Parker

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Sixth Division

January 13, 2020

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
ANDREW JOSEPH PARKER, Defendant and Respondent.

          Superior Court County, No. 18PT-00854 of San Luis Obispo Jesse John Marino, Judge.

          Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Zee Rodriguez, Susan Sullivan Pithey and Amanda V. Lopez, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Appellant.

          Gerald J. Miller, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Respondent.

          TANGEMAN, J.

         The Mentally Disordered Offender Act (MDO Act) provides that individuals with severe mental disorders who are convicted of certain felonies may be ordered to participate in inpatient mental health treatment after they have completed their prison terms. (Pen. Code, [1] § 2960 et seq.) To qualify as a mentally disordered offender (MDO), a prisoner must have “been in treatment for the severe mental disorder for 90 days or more within the year prior to [their] parole or release.” (§ 2962, subd. (c).) Here we consider whether treatment during an extension of a prisoner's custodial time to complete a psychiatrist's evaluation (see § 2963) may be included in the required 90 days of treatment. We conclude that it can.

         The Attorney General appeals from the trial court's order finding that Andrew Joseph Parker did not meet the criteria to be treated as an MDO because he did not receive 90 days of treatment before his scheduled parole date. He contends treatment during the additional 45-day custody period authorized by the Board of Parole Hearings (Board) pursuant to section 2963 should have counted toward the 90 days of treatment required by section 2962, subdivisions (c) and (d)(1). We agree, and reverse.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On December 19, 2017, Parker pled no contest to making criminal threats (§ 422). The trial court sentenced him to two years in state prison. Over the next two months, Parker received 17 days of mental health treatment while housed in the county jail.

         Parker was delivered to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on February 16, 2018, with a scheduled release date of March 31. Daily treatment at CDCR for Parker's mental disorder began on February 22. On March 20, the Board ordered Parker to remain in custody for 45 days beyond his scheduled release date, through May 14. Treatment of Parker's mental health disorder continued during this period. On May 11, the Board determined that he had been in treatment for his mental disorder for the required 90 days.

         Parker challenged the Board's determination in the trial court (§ 2966, subd. (b)), arguing that section 2963's 45-day extension period did not count toward section 2962's 90-day treatment requirement. The court agreed, and reversed the Board's determination that Parker met the criteria for MDO treatment.

         DISCUSSION

         To uphold a Board determination committing a prisoner for MDO treatment, the prosecution must prove that the prisoner “has been in treatment for [a] severe mental disorder for 90 days or more within the year prior to [their] parole or release.” (§ 2962, subd. (c); People v. Foster (2019) 7 Cal.5th 1202, 1207.) The 90-day treatment period may begin while the prisoner is in county jail, but no earlier than the day they are convicted. (People v. Achrem (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 153, 157, 159.) “Upon a showing of good cause, [the Board] may order that a person remain in custody for no more than 45 days beyond [their] scheduled release date for full evaluation.” (§ 2963, subd. (a).) “[G]ood cause” includes “the receipt of the prisoner into custody, or equivalent exigent circumstances [that] result in there being less than 45 days prior to the person's scheduled release date for the evaluations.” (§ 2963, subd. (b).)

         Here, Parker received 17 days of treatment while in county jail. And because he went to prison fewer than 45 days before his scheduled release date, the Board found exigent circumstances to retain him in custody for an additional 45 days for his MDO evaluation. Whether treatment during that period can help to satisfy the criteria of section 2962 is the question we must resolve.

         This question presents an issue of statutory interpretation, which we review de novo. (People v. Morales (2018) 25 Cal.App.5th 502, 509.) When interpreting a statute, we first examine its plain language, “giving the words their usual, ordinary meaning.” (People v. Canty (2004) 32 Cal.4th 1266, 1276.) We “give meaning to every word of [the] statute if possible, and... avoid a construction [that renders] any word surplusage.” (Arnett v. Dal Cielo (1996) 14 Cal.4th 4, 22.) We interpret the language “in the context of the statute as a whole and the overall statutory scheme, [giving] ‘significance to every word, phrase, sentence, and part of [the] act in pursuance of the legislative purpose. [Citation.]' [Citations.]” (Canty, ...


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