Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, August 24, 2023


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C.A. Affirms Order for Hospital-Commitment Of Offender Based Largely on Police Report

Majority: Defendant, Convicted of Indecent Exposure, Was Properly Deemed ‘Offender With Mental Health Disorder’ Based on Witnesses’ Statements


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Court of Appeal for this district has affirmed the commitment to the Department of State Hospitals for treatment of a man who pled guilty to two counts of felony indecent exposure, spurning a concession by the Office of Attorney General that sufficient evidence does not support the order, and being unpersuaded by the dissent’s insistence that a vague reference in the police report to the defendant’s mention of “killing people” lacks force.

Justice Kenneth Yegan wrote the majority opinion, in which Justice Tari L. Cody joined. Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert dissented.

The majority affirmed an order by San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Jacquelyn H. Duffy for the involuntary commitment of Jesus Javier Boytes, under Penal Code §2962, as an “offender with a mental health disorder.” (The statute previously denominated such a person a “mentally disordered offender.”)

Statutory Criterion

At issue was whether Boytes’s offense meets the criterion of §2962(e)(2)(Q):A crime in which the perpetrator expressly or impliedly threatened another with the use of force or violence likely to produce substantial physical harm in a manner that a reasonable person would believe and expect that the force or violence would be used.”

Two female employees at the Crossroads Pregnancy Center in Kings County, located in the San Joaquin Valley, viewed Boytes exposing himself. They did not testify at the commitment hearing but, according to the police report, they recounted that when he came to the front counter, he “began to mumble and his words were ‘incoherent’ ” but that “some of the things” Boytes “ was saying were about sex, sex toys, and killing people.”

Duffy declared that she was finding “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the applicable standard, that Boytes “meets all of the criteria for certification under...Section 2962.”

Yegan’s Opinion

In his opinion upholding that determination, Yegan said that “[a] rational trier of fact could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant’s statements about ‘killing people,’ together with his acts of indecent exposure, would lead a reasonable woman to believe that she was…‘impliedly threatened’ ” in the manner set forth in §2962(e)(2)(Q).

He explained:

“Appellant’s statements immediately preceded his acts and were an integral part of the indecent exposure offense. It is reasonable to infer that appellant intended his statements to intensify the fear and shock the women would experience upon witnessing his exposure.”

Gilbert’s Dissent

Disagreeing, Gilbert wrote:

“…I do not believe the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus Javier Boytes meets the criteria of Penal Code section 2962, subdivision (e)(2)(Q). The People and the defense draw the same conclusion.

“The evidence was submitted on a police report that stated Boytes said ‘something about killing people.’ The trial court had before it the same evidence we reviewed. There was no testimony from the witnesses at the Crossroads Pregnancy Center. We have no knowledge of the context in which Boytes said ‘something about killing people.’ We do not know if he was referring to himself as killing people or expressing regret that others are killing people. The police report does not indicate whether the witnesses at the pregnancy center were in any state of fear or apprehension.”

Both Yegan and Gilbert alluded to testimony by Roxanne Rassti, a forensic psychologist with the Department of State Hospitals. Yegan noted that Rassti “opined that appellant ‘meets the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia’ ” and that he poses “ ‘a substantial danger of physical harm to others by reason of his severe mental health disorder.’ ”

Gilbert responded:

“[A]s the People point out, none of the materials Rassti considered contained any information that Boytes was violent. ‘Dr. Rassti acknowledged that indecent exposure generally does not result in physical harm to another person.’ Rassti also said Boytes’s statement at the pregnancy center made it difficult for her to assess his intent.”

The case is People v. Boytes, B323764.


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