Not guilty by reason of insanity commitment

In proceeding by the state to extend NGRI acquittee’s commitment beyond the length of the maximum prison sentence for the originally charged offense(s), the individual facing extended commitment has the right to refuse to testify in the proceeding

Hudec v. Superior Court Orange County, 339 P.3d 998 (Cal. 2015)

Charles Hudec, a person diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of killing his father and was committed to a state hospital for a period of time reflecting the maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter. In March 2012, the district attorney petitioned to extend Hudec’s commitment pursuant to Cal. Penal Code § 1026.5. That section allows a person’s commitment to be extended if, because of mental disorder, he “represents a substantial danger to others.” The section also states that a person so tried is “entitled to the rights guaranteed under the federal and State Constitutions for criminal proceedings.” The California Supreme Court noted that, although § 1026.5 does not “expressly grant NGI [sic] extension respondents all the rights of a criminal defendant,” the statute “reflects a legislative effort to prescribe procedures fair to both the respondent and the People.” The Court found the right to refuse to testify among those afforded because recognition of the right would not result in “any absurd consequence”—such as would ensue were a respondent to attempt to assert the right not to be tried while mentally incompetent.

Found in DMHL Volume 34 Issue 2