''Severe Mental Disorder'' Legal Definition

Section 2962, subsection (a) defines "severe mental disorder" as "an illness or disease or condition that substantially impairs the person's thought, perception of reality, emotional process, or judgment; or which grossly impairs behavior; or that demonstrates evidence of an acute brain syndrome for which prompt remission, in the absence of treatment, is unlikely. The term "severe mental disorder" as used in this section does not include a personality or adjustment disorder, epilepsy, mental retardation or other developmental disabilities, or addiction to or abuse of intoxicating substances." It defines "remission" as "a finding that the overt signs and symptoms of the severe mental disorder are controlled either by psychotropic medication or psychosocial support." In People v. Gibson (1988) 204 Cal.App.3d 1425, the court addressed a prior version of the MDO statute and concluded that the People must establish both that the defendant suffered from a mental illness that caused or contributed to the commitment offense, and that the defendant was dangerous as a consequence of that illness. (Id. at pp. 1439-1440.)