June 21, 2023 By Paul Wallin

People v. Braden: Applying for Mental Health Diversion

Mental health diversion is an alternative to criminal prosecution and incarceration, which allows certain defendants with mental health issues to receive care and treatment rather than jail time. In the case of People v. Braden, the court specified when defendants with qualifying mental disorders must request diversion. If you or your loved one needs help with petitioning for mental health diversion, call our experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich today. 


The defendant Cory Braden was a schizophrenic with a history of violence. After a confrontation with a deputy, Braden was charged with resisting an executive officer with force or violence and having two prior qualifying felony convictions under the Three Strikes Law. At his trial, the jury found him guilty and found the prior conviction allegations to be true. 

Before sentencing, Braden’s counsel moved to have him considered for mental health diversion under California Penal Code Section 1001.36. However, the court denied the motion and sentenced Braden to four years in state prison. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s ruling, stating that Braden was ineligible for pretrial diversion because he did not make the request before his trial began. Braden then appealed to the California Supreme Court to determine when a defendant must make his request for a diversion. 

Mental Health Diversion 

PC Section 1001.36 provides, “‘Pretrial diversion’ means the postponement of prosecution, either temporarily or permanently, at any point in the judicial process from the point at which the accused is charged until adjudication, to allow the defendant to undergo mental health treatment.” As such, the question in this case turned on the definition of the phrase “until adjudication.” 

The court in Braden determined that “adjudication” meant the process of resolving the criminal charges by trial or entry of plea. Accordingly, a request for pretrial diversion must be made before the process of adjudicating the charges begins. In other words, a defendant must make the request before jeopardy attaches at trial or before he enters a plea of guilty or no contest, whichever occurs first. Otherwise, the defendant loses out on the possibility of receiving mental health rehabilitation in lieu of jail time, as Braden did. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you or your loved one has been convicted of a crime, contact Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we may be able to petition for mental health diversion in place of incarceration. At Wallin & Klarich, we stay up to date with the most recent legal developments so that we can better assist you. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys have helped many clients win their cases or successfully reduce their sentences, and we have the skills and resources to help you or your loved one in your time of need.  

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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