Prop. 47 did not change the Prop. 36 definition of dangerousness

July 3, 2017 Comments off

Prop. 47 did not change the Prop. 36 definition of dangerousness

In November 2012, California voters enacted Proposition 36, the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012 (Proposition 36 or Three Strikes Reform Act). With some exceptions, Proposition 36 modified California’s “Three Strikes” law to reduce the punishment imposed when a defendant’s third felony conviction is not serious or violent. (Pen. Code, § 667, subd. (e)(2)(C), as amended by Prop. 36, § 2, approved by the voters at Gen. Elec. (Nov. 6, 2012).) It also enacted a procedure governing inmates sentenced under the former Three Strikes law whose third strike was neither serious nor violent, permitting them to petition for resentencing in accordance with Proposition 36’s new sentencing provisions. (§ 1170.126, subd. (e), as added by Prop. 36, § 2, approved by the voters at Gen. Elec. (Nov. 6, 2012).) The resentencing provisions provide, however, that an inmate will be denied resentencing if “the court, in its discretion, determines that resentencing the petitioner would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” (§ 1170.126, subd. (f), as added by Prop. 36, § 6, approved by the voters at Gen. Elec. (Nov. 6, 2012).) Proposition 36 did not define the phrase “unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.”

Two years later, in November 2014, California voters approved Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Proposition 47). Proposition 47 reduced certain drug-related and theft-related offenses that previously were felonies or “wobblers” to misdemeanors. (§ 1170.18, added by Prop. 47, § 14, approved by the voters at the Gen. Elec. (Nov. 4, 2014).) It also enacted a procedure permitting inmates who are serving felony sentences for offenses that Proposition 47 reduced to misdemeanors to petition to have their felony convictions reclassified as misdemeanors and to be resentenced based on the reclassification. Like Proposition 36, Proposition 47 gave resentencing courts discretion to decline to impose a lesser sentence if resentencing “would result in an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” (§ 1170.18, subd. (b)(3).) In contrast to Proposition 36, however, Proposition 47 restricted that discretion by defining the phrase “unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” (§ 1170.18, subd. (c).) It stated: “As used throughout this Code, ‘unreasonable risk of danger to public safety’ means an unreasonable risk that the petitioner will commit a new violent felony within the meaning of” section 667, subdivision (e)(2)(C)(iv). (§ 1170.18, subd. (c).) The cited subdivision of section 667 identifies eight types of particularly serious or violent felonies, known colloquially as “super strikes.”

We granted review in these two cases to resolve two related issues concerning Proposition 47’s effect on resentencing proceedings under Proposition 36. In People v. Valencia (S223825), we address whether Proposition 47’s definition of “unreasonable risk of danger to public safety” (§ 1170.18, subd. (c)) applies to resentencing proceedings under Proposition 36. People v. Chaney (S223676) presents the question whether, if Proposition 47’s definition of unreasonable risk of danger to public safety applies to resentencing proceedings under the Three Strikes Reform Act, does the definition apply retroactively to Proposition 36 resentencing petitions that a court has already denied but are not yet final on appeal.

For the reasons set forth below, we hold that Proposition 47 did not amend the Three Strikes Reform Act. Accordingly, we need not address whether, in People v. Chaney (S223676), the measure applies retroactively to Proposition 36 resentencing petitions that have been denied.

People v. Valencia

S223825

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S223825.PDF

Coming Monday

June 30, 2017 Comments off

Coming Monday from the Cal. Supremes:

PEOPLE v. HOPSON (RUTHETTA)
S228193 (D066684; Riverside County Superior Court – RIF1105594)
Argued in Los Angeles 4-05-17

The court limited review to the following issue: Was defendant’s right of confrontation under the Sixth Amendment violated when the trial court permitted the prosecution to introduce out-of-court statements made by her deceased codefendant?

PEOPLE v. VALENCIA (DAVID) and PEOPLE v. CHANEY (CLIFFORD)
S223825 (F067946;Tuolumne County Superior Court – CRF30714)
S223676 (C073949;Amador County Superior Court – 05CR08104)
Argued in Los Angeles 4-04-17

Both cases present the following issue: Does the definition of “unreasonable risk of danger to public safety” (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (c)) under Proposition 47 (“The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act”) apply to resentencing under the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012 (Pen. Code, § 1170.126)?

CAL. SUPREMES RESTATE ARBUCKLE

June 29, 2017 Comments off

CAL. SUPREMES RESTATE ARBUCKLE

In 1978, this court established a basic background rule applicable to plea negotiations in criminal cases, holding that “[a]s a general principle . . . whenever a judge accepts a plea bargain and retains sentencing discretion under the agreement, an implied term of the bargain is that sentence will be imposed by that judge.” (People v. Arbuckle (1978) 22 Cal.3d 749, 756–757 (Arbuckle).) We later found the same rule applied to pleas in juvenile court. (In re Mark L. (1983) 34 Cal.3d 171, 177 (Mark L.).) In the ensuing years, some intermediate appellate courts have perceived some leeway in the Arbuckle rule, and declined to recognize a right to the same judge at sentencing unless the record contained sufficient evidence that the defendant subjectively intended, as a condition of his or her plea, that the judge who accepted the plea would also pronounce sentence. (See, e.g., People v. Horn (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 701, 707–708.) The Court of Appeal below joined in this view, denying petitioner K.R.’s petition for a writ of mandate because he “failed to show that he entered into the plea agreement in expectation of and reliance upon” having the same judge who took his plea also preside at sentencing.
As we explain, neither Arbuckle nor its progeny support the notion that a defendant’s ability to enforce the same-judge guarantee, a term implied in every plea agreement, is dependent on a defendant (or juvenile) first making a factual showing that he or she subjectively intended the judge taking the plea would also pronounce sentence. Because the Court of Appeal held otherwise, we reverse.

K.R. v. Superior Court

S231709

http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S231709.PDF

Coming tomorrow

June 28, 2017 Comments off

Tomorrow the Cal. Supremes will issue the following case:

K.R. v. SUPERIOR COURT (PEOPOLE)
S231709 (C079548; Sacramento County Superior Court – JV134953)
Argued in Los Angeles 4-05-17

This case presents the following issue: Was the juvenile entitled to a disposition hearing before the same judge who accepted his admissions to a criminal offense and probation violations even though he did not make an affirmative showing of individualized facts in the record establishing that this was an implied term of the plea agreement? (See People v. Arbuckle (1978) 22 Cal.3d 749.)

Coming Monday

June 23, 2017 Comments off

Coming Monday from the Cal. Supremes:

PEOPLE v. SUPERIOR COURT (SAHLOLBEI)
S232639 (E062380; Riverside County Superior Court – INF1302523)
Argued in Los Angeles 4-04-17

This case presents the following issue: If an individual performing work for and on behalf of a public entity would qualify as an independent contractor for purposes of tort liability at common law, can that individual be subject to the criminal conflict-of-interest provisions of Government Code section 1090?

No new cases tomorrow

June 21, 2017 Comments off

The Cal. Supremes will issue no new cases tomorrow.

Death penalty affirmed

June 19, 2017 Comments off