California Penal Code 1026.2 - Interpretation

In People v. Sword (1994) 29 Cal.App.4th 614, the court rejected a due process challenge to the imposition of the burden of proof on a defendant found not guilty by reason of insanity to establish his entitlement to be released from confinement on outpatient status. (Pen. Code, 1026.2.) "The fact of the criminal conviction provides a basis for inferring that defendant is both mentally ill and dangerous, and may therefore be committed," and "there is also a presumption of continued insanity ... ." (People v. Sword, supra, 29 Cal.App.4th at p. 624.) Other courts have reached the same result in similar circumstances. (See Jones v. United States (1983) 463 U.S. 354 "The fact that a person has been found, beyond a reasonable doubt, to have committed a criminal act certainly indicates dangerousness" and "it comports with common sense to conclude that someone whose mental illness was sufficient to lead him to commit a criminal act is likely to remain ill and in need of treatment"; People v. Beck (1996) 47 Cal.App.4th 1676 "an acquittal by reason of insanity entails a finding that the defendant in fact committed a criminal offense," and "commission of the crime in turn supports an inference of potential dangerousness and possible continuing mental illness ... which justifies the state in exercising great care in evaluating the offender prior to release into the community".)