California v. KislingAnnotate this Case
Defendant Richard Kisling appealed a trial court’s denial of his petitions for unconditional and conditional release from his commitment as a sexually violent predator. Appointed counsel for defendant asked the Court of Appeal to review the record pursuant to "California v. Wende," (25 Cal.3d 436 (1979) to determine whether there exist any arguable issues in defendant’s appeal from the trial court’s order. The Court asked the parties for supplemental briefing on whether Wende review applied to appeals from denials of petitions for release from a sexually violent predator commitment. "Wende" applies only to “appointed appellate counsel’s representation of an indigent criminal defendant in his first appeal as of right.” Since proceedings under the Sexually Violent Predator Act are civil matters, it followed that the proceeding in this appeal did not directly implicate "Wende." Defendant admitted that SVPA proceedings were not criminal. Nonetheless, defendant asserted that they were sufficiently similar to criminal proceedings to warrant the protections of "Wende" review. Defendant also argued that "Wende" review was required as a matter of federal and state due process, requires more attention. Finding "Wende" review was inapplicable here, the Court dismissed the appeal.