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New Hearing Ordered for Mental Health Diversion

California v. Qualkinbush Docket: D078778 (Fourth Appellate District), Opinion Date: June 14, 2022. Defendant-appellant Cristina Qualkinbush threw a pair of scissors at her 75-year-old mother and then spat on a police officer who detained her following the incident. After the trial court denied Qualkinbush’s motion for mental health diversion under Penal Code section 1001.36, she pled guilty to elder abuse and misdemeanor battery on a peace officer. The trial court placed her on formal probation for three years, subject to certain conditions, including residential mental health treatment. Qualkinbush appealed, claiming that the trial court erred in denying her motion for mental health diversion. She also contended, and the State conceded that the Court of Appeal: (1) order an amendment of the probation order to vacate certain fees or costs pursuant to Assembly Bill No. 1869 (2019–2020 Reg. Sess.) (AB 1869); and (2) order a correction of the probation search condition to accurately reflect the trial court’s oral pronouncement. After briefing, the parties agreed that the offense of conviction fell under an exception to Penal Code section 1203.1 and required a three-year minimum probation term. The Court concluded the trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion for mental health diversion, and remanded for the court to consider the primary purposes of the mental health diversion statute. “If after conducting a hearing on the motion, the trial court again denies mental health diversion, the order granting formal probation shall be reinstated, as modified, to vacate the unpaid portion of the challenged fees and costs, and to correct the probation search conditions to delete authorization of searches of computers and recordable media.”


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