Cal. Supremes uphold Prop. 66; time limits are directory

August 24, 2017 Comments off

Cal. Supremes uphold Prop. 66; time limits are directory

In the November 2016 election California voters approved Proposition 66, the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016. (Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 2016) § 1.) The measure’s various provisions are intended to facilitate the enforcement of judgments and achieve cost savings in capital cases. Petitioner Ron Briggs seeks writ relief from this court, challenging the constitutionality of certain aspects of the proposition. Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and the Judicial Council of California oppose the petition as respondents. They are joined by intervener Californians to Mend, Not End, the Death Penalty, a campaign committee representing the proponents of the initiative. The issues raised are of sufficient public importance to justify the exercise of our original jurisdiction in the interest of a prompt resolution. (Legislature v. Eu (1991) 54 Cal.3d 492, 500.)

Petitioner asserts four grounds for relief. He claims Proposition 66 (1) embraces more than one subject, as prohibited by the California Constitution; (2) interferes with the jurisdiction of California courts to hear original petitions for habeas corpus relief; (3) violates equal protection principles by treating capital prisoners differently from other prisoners with respect to successive habeas corpus petitions; and (4) runs afoul of the separation of powers doctrine by materially impairing the courts’ ability to resolve capital appeals and habeas corpus petitions, and to manage their dockets in general.
Petitioner’s constitutional challenges do not warrant relief. However, we hold that in order to avoid serious separation of powers problems, provisions of Proposition 66 that appear to impose strict deadlines on the resolution of judicial proceedings must be deemed directive rather than mandatory.

Briggs v. Brown



Coming tomorrow

August 23, 2017 Comments off

Tomorrow the Cal. Supremes will issue an opinion in the following, kinda big, case:

Argued in Los Angeles 6-06-17

This case presents issues regarding the validity of the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016 (Prop. 66, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 2016)).

No new cases Monday

August 18, 2017 Comments off

The Cal. Supremes will issue no new cases Monday.

Proof some peace officers have the primary duty of law enforcement is required

August 17, 2017 Comments off

Proof some peace officers have the primary duty of law enforcement is required

Defendant was convicted of misdemeanor battery (Pen. Code, § 242) of a person listed in section 243, subdivision (b), specifically a “peace officer” (ibid.). We granted review to decide whether the People proved the victim, a member of the City of Santa Barbara harbor patrol, was in fact a peace officer. Unlike most municipal police officers and deputy sheriffs, who are peace officers by virtue of their appointment and employment in that capacity (see § 830.1, subd. (a)), not all harbor patrol officers are peace officers. Instead, harbor patrol officers are peace officers only if their “primary duty . . . is the enforcement of the law in or about the properties owned, operated, or administered by the harbor or port or when performing necessary duties with respect to patrons, employees, and properties of the harbor or port.” (§ 830.33, subd. (b).) Agreeing with People v. Miller (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 653, 665–668 (Miller), we conclude the statutory language defines a harbor patrol officer as a peace officer only if the particular officer’s primary duty is law enforcement in either of two circumstances: when acting on or about the property or when performing necessary duties anywhere in the state. The Court of Appeal below declined to follow Miller and affirmed defendant’s conviction, even though the People did not prove the harbor patrol officer whom defendant battered had the required primary duty of law enforcement. We therefore reverse defendant’s conviction

People v. Pennington


Coming tomorrow

August 16, 2017 Comments off

Coming tomorrow from the Cal. Supremes:

S222227 (B249482; Santa Barbara County Superior Court – 1423213)
Argued in San Francisco 5-30-17

The court limited review to the following issue: Did the People prove that the named victim, a harbor patrol officer for the City of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department, is a peace officer within the meaning of Penal Code section 243, subdivision (b), supporting defendant’s conviction for battery on a peace officer?

No new cases today

August 14, 2017 Comments off

The Cal. Supremes issued no new cases today.

No new criminal cases tomorrow

August 9, 2017 Comments off

The Cal. Supremes will issue no new criminal cases tomorrow, Thursday.