Dortch v. Riverside County Superior Court

Memo of Points and Authorities in Support of Petition for Writ of Mandate

by Melody A. Kramer

Is challenging the conduct of law enforcement and the authority of a court a mental health issue? In Riverside County, the answer appears to be "yes" and you can be put in jail because of it.

Two years ago, Petitioner Dr. David Dortch was blacklisted by Murrieta Police Department with a false allegation that he held “Sovereign Citizen ideology” and thus, they claimed, a safety concern for the community. Since then, law enforcement, in concert with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and the Respondent Riverside County Superior Court, Dr. Dortch and his family have been methodically deprived of their most basic constitutional rights, including being punished for exercising their rights of freedom of speech to talk about how they have been treated by law enforcement, prosecutors, and the court, and the right of redress to the court for violation of their civil rights.

Five months after filing an in pro per civil rights lawsuit against officers of the Murrieta Police Department and others acting in concert with them, Petitioner Dr. Dortch was arrested, without a warrant, by one of the named police officers. That arrest was followed by criminal charges being filed against Petitioner Dr. Dortch, referred to as the 013 Case herein.

This has been followed by the prosecutor advising Petitioner to drop his civil rights case and “stop making trouble for himself,” discovery of falsified police reports and destroyed evidence, the prosecutor willfully withholding Brady materials, extra criminal charges being added after the preliminary hearing was held, Petitioner’s attorney being told by Respondent Court (by Judge Dennis A. McConaghy) that she put Petitioner’s safety in jeopardy by not waiving reading of the information, refusal to read and hear discovery motions filed by Petitioner (Judge McConaghy and Judge Stephen Gallon), refusal to dismiss charges on a statute since held unconstitutional (failure to give a DNA sample), and appointment of a public defender over Petitioner’s objection (also Judge McConaghy).

After almost two years filled with continuances and nothing of substance being done, the Respondent Riverside County Superior Court has upped the ante, suspending the case, and ordering Petitioner jailed without bail for six weeks pending a psychological/psychiatric evaluation on mental competence to stand trial. This set of orders has been made even though Petitioner had been out on bail for almost two years, never missing a single court hearing, even while he has challenged the jurisdiction of the court, and even though there is no evidence of mental incompetency, nor any allegation or finding that he is a flight risk, a danger to himself, others, or the community at large, and even though he has no history of violence.

Respondent Court suspended the criminal case against him under Penal Code § 1368 when a public defender, Richard Briones-Colman, appointed without request or consent of Petitioner, felt “boxed in a corner” and, to protect against the risk that any subsequent conviction might be overturned, argued that due to the nature of the (unproven) criminal charges, Petitioner’s legal defense positions, and unwillingness to cooperate with the public defender, the Court needed to do psychological evaluations.

Even a person believed to be, as a result of a mental health disorder, a dangers to others, or himself or herself, or gravely disabled, is given more due process rights under California Welfare & Institutions Code § 5150 than has been accorded to Petitioner here.

Petitioner is, in fact, being held as a political prisoner, explicitly jailed due to statements made and positions taken as part of his legal defense against the jurisdiction of the Court.

The case against Petitioner is filled with Constitutional and statutory violations, but the most pressing right now, and the reason for filing a Petition for Writ of Mandate with the California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, are as follows: (1) placing of Petitioner on a psychological/psychiatric hold for a month in violation of California Welfare & Institutions Code § 5150; (2) violation of Petitioner’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy and public trial, compounded by the improper hold and (3) the violation of his Eighth Amendment right against the requiring of excessive bail.

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Reference Info: Legal Memoranda: Motion Addressed to Pleadings | State, 9th Circuit, California | United States

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Melody A. Kramer, Legal Greenhouse | Attorney Advertising

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Melody A. Kramer

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