Cruz, In re, Cr. 8063

Decision Date27 January 1965
Docket NumberCr. 8063
Citation398 P.2d 412,62 Cal.2d 307,42 Cal.Rptr. 220
CourtCalifornia Supreme Court
Parties, 398 P.2d 412 In re Harry A. CRUZ on Habeas Corpus.

Harry A. Cruz, in pro. per.

Robert N. Beechinor, San Francisco, under appointment by Supreme Court, for petitioner.

Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen., and Gordon Ringer, Deputy Atty. Gen., for respondent.

SCHAUER, Justice.*

This matter is before us on an order to show cause issued upon an application for habeas corpus filed in propria persona by petitioner Harry A. Cruz, who is confined for treatment as a narcotics addict (Pen.Code, § 6450) in the branch of the California Rehabilitation Center located in the California Men's Colony, East Facility. We appointed counsel to represent petitioner in these proceedings.

Petitioner contends that in the pre-hearing stages of his commitment process the authorities failed in several respects to comply with the strict statutory requirements of Penal Code section 6450 1 and hence that his commitment is invalid under In re Jones (1964) 61 A.C. 322, 324(1)-325(3), 38 Cal.Rptr. 509, 392 P.2d 269, and In re Raner (1963) 59 Cal.2d 635, 641-643(6), 60 Cal.Rptr. 814, 381 P.2d 638. We need not reach that issue, however, for the record shows that in the course of the proceedings petitioner personally asked to be committed, and with advice of counsel and full knowledge of his rights signed a 30 Cal.Rptr. 814, 381 P.id 638. were held controlling in Raner and Jones. The facts also fail to support petitioner's second main contention, i. e., that his transfer to and current confinement in the California Men's Colony branch of the California Rehabilitation Center constitutes 'cruel and unusual punishment' under Robinson v. California (1962) 370 U.S. 660, 82 S.Ct. 1417, 8 L.Ed.2d 758.

The waiver signed by petitioner is on a typed form which states: 'I, Harry A. Cruz, in order to begin treatment for my narcotic drug addiction as soon as possible, hereby freely and voluntarily make this waiver in open court of my statutory rights in this proceeding, including but not limited to those rights contained in Sections 5353, 5053, 5054 and 5055 of the Welfare and Institutions Code of this State.' We need not now determine whether so sweeping a waiver of all the statutory safeguards surrounding these special proceedings would, or in all circumstances should, be valid; 2 rather, and commendably, the reporter's transcript discloses that the waiver here made was augmented by interrogation and a specificity of facts, so that the validity of the commitment does not rest on giving the waiver an actual effect as broad as it purports to declare on its face.

The trial court first informed petitioner (and a group of other persons being similarly processsed) of the nature and purpose of the proceedings, saying:

'All of you ladies and gentlemen before me at the present time have been certified to me by some other Court in which you stand convicted either by plea or conviction by Court or jury of an offense, either a misdemeanor or a felony, and you have been certified to me, to the Court, as possibly being addicted to the use of narcotics.

'The function of this Court on that certification is to appoint doctors and to try to ascertain the facts of whether you are or are not addicted.

'If we find after that examination, after a hearing on that, that you are addicted, then the ultimate order will be the narcotics rehabilitation program, committing you.

'If we find you are not addicted to narcotics, on medical testimony or otherwise, you will be recertified to the certifying Court for the criminal charge there pending.

'You are here at the present time to be advised of your rights, or at least advised of these proceedings, and of certain rights that you have in respect to them.'

The court then appointed the necessary physicians, fixed the date and time of the medical examination, and stated that 'Their reports will be rendered to the Court, and the hearing on those reports, and their testimony, will be set the following Wednesday, a week from today * * * at which time you will have the opportunity to present evidence on your own behalf.'

Next, to represent those persons (including petitioner) who had no private attorney, the court appointed the Public Defender 'to counsel and advise you concerning these proceedings, and we will take any necessary motions or otherwise in your behalf for your protection.'

The matter of waiver was then raised by the court as follows: 'Those of you who desire to go to the Center right away, waive your time of hearing and be off, on signing the appropriate waivers of time I can see that you are examined this afternoon by the doctors, and if they find you addicted I will have you on your way Friday with the other group that are going, that have already been examined, so those who want to waive their time of hearing and go immediately, raise your hands * * * and give your name to my clerk.'

Petitioner called out his name, and that afternoon the court reconvened and questioned him as follows:

'THE COURT: Harry Cruz

'Mr. Cruz, this morning you were in here and you said that you felt possibly you were actually addicted, wanted to go to the rehabilitation program as soon as possible.

'Do you still feel that way about it?

'MR. CRUZ: Yes.

'THE COURT: You want to go right now?

'MR. CRUZ: Yes.

'THE COURT: During the recess there was shown you a written document, a waiver of various rights and notices. Did you read that?

'MR. CRUZ: Yes.

'THE COURT: Did you talk to the Public Defender about it?

'MR. CRUZ: I did.

'THE COURT: Counseled with him?

'MR. CRUZ: Yes.

'THE COURT: All right, you are still of the same mind, want to go right away, want to waive those time requirements? If so, you can sign that waiver.'

Petitioner apparently signed the waiver at that time. The court then asked the two physicians who had examined petitioner to give their findings. They testified that 'Mr. Cruz is addicted to narcotics, and he would benefit by the rehabilitation program.' The physicians' certificate was filed at the same time, recting petitioner's narcotics history and noting the fact that 'Both arms show evidence of recent use.' The court ruled that the waiver would be received into evidence, and committed petitioner to the rehabilitation program as a person addicted to narcotics.

Penal Code section 6507 declares that 'Hearing may be waived by consent of the person sought to be committed, expressed in open court.' In In re Jones (1964) supra, 61 A.C. 322, 326-327(4), 38 Cal.Rptr. 509, 392 P.2d 269, we held in effect that although section 6507 is found in article 3 of chapter 11 of the narcotic addict commitment law (§§ 6500-6510, dealing with 'persons not charged with a crime'), it should likewise be deemed applicable to commitment proceedings instituted as in the case at bench pursuant to article 2 of that law (§§ 6450-6455, dealing with 'persons charged with a crime'). We there observed (61 A.C. at p. 326, fn. 6, 38 Cal.Rptr. at p. 512, 392 P.2d at p. 272) that 'the Legislature does not consider narcotic addicts incompetent to voluntarily submit to treatment,' and concluded that 'Since voluntary submission to commitment conserves the time and effort of the parties and the judiciary, such waiver, if properly made, should be facilitated.'

The question now to be determined comprehends recognizing the essentials of such a waiver and whether it was here 'properly made.' On the record in Jones we rejected as insufficient an alleged waiver on behalf of the person there committed. That person had been brought before the court without arraignment or notice, and had not personally requested indeed, had expressed opposition to commitment as a narcotics addict; in such circumstances we held that the acts of counsel in stipulating to the admission of certain alienists' reports and submitting the entire matter thereon were inadequaate to constitute a waiver binding on his client.

Here, by contrastThe necessary elements of a valid waiver are present: i. e., (1) petitioner was first fully informed by the court of the nature and purpose of the commitment proceeding and of his rights therein; (2) an attorney was appointed to represent petitioner in this proceeding, and petitioner was given an opportunity to obtain his advice in regard to the proposed waiver; 3 (3) a medical examination was conducted by court-appointed physicians to verify petitioner's addicted condition; and (4) thereafter the judge in open court questioned petitioner individually as to his desire to begin treatment as soon as possible, received from him the waiver set forth hereinabove, and took in evidence the testimony and report of the examining physicians.

No reason appears why this informed and limited waiver should not be given effect. We do not thereby retreat from our holdings in In re Jones (1964) supra, 61 A.C. 322, 324(1)-325(3), 38 Cal.Rptr. 509, 392 P.2d 269, or In re Raner (1963) supra, 59 Cal.2d 635, 637(1)-643(6), 30 Cal.Rptr. 814, 381 P.2d 638, establishing the principle of strict compliance with each of the statutory prerequisites for maintenance of these special proceedings; but we take this opportunity to commend a practice which, while fully protecting the rights of the individual, permits the start of treatment and rehabilitation to be expedited in uncontested commitment cases and thus 'conserves the time and effort of the parties and the judiciary' (In re Jones (1964), supra, 61 A.C. 322, 326, fn. 6, 38 Cal.Rptr. 509, 512, 392 P.2d 269, 272).

Petitioner was committed to the California Rehabilitation Center on August 14, 1963; on December 13, 1963, he was transferred from the main California Rehabilitation Center facility at Corona to the branch facility located at California Men's Colony-East. He contends that his transfer to and current confinement in that branch amounts to 'imprisoning' him 'as a criminal,' and hence is unconstitutional...

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