Cedric Wellington Black Jr. was sent back to Napa State Hospital for another year after a jury found Wednesday that he would pose “a substantial violent threat to the members of this community” if released.

Black, 49, formerly of Hoopa, returned to Humboldt County Superior Court late last week for trial — something he is entitled to have each year — to try to be released from the custody of Napa State Hospital.

Although Black has already served an assault sentence, he’s been in custody for several years due to mental conditions that require him to be in a controlled setting, said Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Arnie Klein.

Black’s 1997 conviction stems from an altercation with an individual living in the same treatment facility in Humboldt County and led to Black breaking the other’s leg, said Black’s attorney Marek I. Reavis.

“He was in a conservatorship; he had a public guardian appointed to handle his affairs and deal with his treatment issues,” Reavis said. “So he was in a locked facility, but he was in a treatment facility.”

Klein said the altercation ensued after Black believed another person had “stolen his coffee.”

Reavis said Black was sentenced to two years in prison for the assault, was quickly removed from the California Department of Corrections and transferred to Atascadero State Hospital, due to him being a mentally disordered offender.

Black eventually was transferred to Napa State Hospital, where he had been in continuous custody, Reavis said.

“(Black) is an offender (from which his offense) stems from his mental disorder and, for that reason, his sentence was served in a state hospital,” Reavis said. “He was then paroled into the state hospital; he served his time and (then) served for continued treatment.

“Because he’s on parole, then every year — if it is felt his mental disorder is not in remission — the District Attorney’s Office has to file a petition for an extension for one year of continued treatment. So, he’s done his time, but has had his treatment extended.”

Over the past two years, Black has gone to trial once and then voluntarily waived his right.

Klein said Black’s jury was picked last Friday and testimony began in the trial Tuesday — with just one witness being called by the prosecution. Both the prosecuting and defense attorneys gave closing arguments on Wednesday, just prior to the 40-minute jury deliberation.

The sole witness in Black’s trial — Dr. Amarpreet Singh, a medical director at Napa State Hospital — was an expert witness for the prosecution, Klein said.

“He was a hands-on provider/treater for the defendant for three or four months,” Klein said. “And, he stopped being a hands-on physician in October of 2006.”

Klein said Black was diagnosed by Napa State Hospital officials as having a schizo-affective disorder, bi-polar type.

“He has lost touch with reality and is manic — his moods go up and down,” Klein said. “He also is suffering polydipsia, which is the inability to control your impulse control mechanism — in Black’s case, by drinking liquids — so people with that disorder will drink and drink and drink and sometimes have to be supervised in the shower so they don’t keep drinking the shower water.

“They can either drown or drink so much they can die.”

Klein said Black has been taking three different psychiatric medications twice daily in a controlled environment and that Singh testified that Black has the delusional belief that he is a Vietnam War veteran, that the state and/or federal government has placed a substantial amount of of money away for him, that he has several land holdings, that he hears voices from televisions and radios talking to him and that he hears his mother telling him what to do.

Reavis said Black’s polydipsia symptoms are actually “very, very mild” and he has been free of those symptoms for a long period of time.

And, of the hearing voices, Reavis said, “Of course both you and I hear voices from radio and television.”

“(Singh) said, in the past, (Black) had heard his mother’s voice, but Mr. Black never told (Singh), personally, that he’s heard voices,” Reavis said. “Mr. Black will not discuss it with them; doctors assume he hears voices.”

Klein said, if released, Black would have been a “walking, ticking time bomb.”

Reavis said he could not comment on how he believed Black would behave should he be released and that Klein’s comment was “speculative hyperbole on Mr. Klein’s part.”

This latest trial was the first time Reavis represented Black.

Reavis said he hopes to represent Black in the future and that during this week’s trial, Black was well-behaved.

“(I) spoke to two jurors afterward, and one those jurors (had) worked in a mental transitional housing facility and said (Black) was composed,” Reavis said. “He was certainly very pleasant to me, he certainly seemed to have a grasp of what was going on and he was very cooperative with me.

“He was disappointed in the jury’s decision and he hopes he will have a better outcome next year. I don’t believe (Black poses a substantial threat), but the jury decided differently. I hope next year, that after (another) year of treatment, that Mr. Black can prove to a jury that he does not pose a substantial risk.”