Brosnahan v. Brown, S.F. 24441

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtRICHARDSON; BIRD; MOSK; BROUSSARD; Hearing Denied, BIRD; A major share is for extra court hearings and elaborate new red tape in every criminal case--most of which are misdemeanors. This will require more courts
Citation651 P.2d 274,186 Cal.Rptr. 30,32 Cal.3d 236
Parties, 651 P.2d 274 James J. BROSNAHAN et al., Petitioners, v. Edmund G. BROWN, Jr., as Governor, etc., et al., Respondents.
Decision Date02 September 1982
Docket NumberS.F. 24441

Page 30

186 Cal.Rptr. 30
32 Cal.3d 236, 651 P.2d 274
James J. BROSNAHAN et al., Petitioners,
v.
Edmund G. BROWN, Jr., as Governor, etc., et al., Respondents.
S.F. 24441.
Supreme Court of California,
In Bank.
Sept. 2, 1982.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 13, 1982.

[32 Cal.3d 239]

Page 32

[651 P.2d 276] Ephraim Margolin, San Francisco, Michael Rothschild, Laurance Smith, Brent Barnhart, Sacramento, Friedman, Sloan & Ross, Stanley J. Friedman, Lawrence A. Gibbs, Morrison & Foerster, James J. Brosnahan, Linda E. Shostak, Andrew E. Monach, Christina Hall, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Steven A. Brick, San Francisco, for petitioners.

McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, Richard C. Brautigam, San Francisco, Nanci G. Clinch, Auburn, Marjorie C. Swartz, Judith Allen, Sacramento, Joseph J. Bell, San Francisco, Bonnie C. Maly, Oakland, Fred Okrand, Carol Sobel, Los Angeles, Margaret C. Crosby, Alan L. Schlosser, Amitai Schwartz, Herbert M. Rosenthal, Truitt A. Richey, Jr., Quin Denvir, State Public Defender, Charles M. Sevilla, Chief Deputy State Public Defender, Michael Millman, Deputy State Public[32 Cal.3d 240] Defender, John Gardenal and Arne Werchick, San Francisco, as amici curiae on behalf of petitioners.

George Deukmejian, Atty. Gen., Robert H. Philibosian, Chief Asst. Attys. Gen., Richard D. Martland, Asst. Atty. Gen., Paul H. Dobson and Nelson P. Kempsky, Deputy Attys. Gen., Anthony L. Miller, Richard B. Maness, William P. Yee, Sacramento, John J. Meehan, Dist. Atty., Thomas J. Orloff and William M. Baldwin, Asst. Dist. Attys., for respondents.

Dobbs & Nielsen, James R. Parrinello, John E. Mueller, Marguerite Mary Leoni, San Francisco, John H. Hodgson II, Charles H. Bell, Jr., Ronald A. Zumbrun, John H. Findley, Joseph E. Maloney, Sacramento, George Nicholson, John T. Doolittle, Patrick Nolan, John K. Van de Kamp, Dist. Atty., Los Angeles, Harry B. Sondheim, Suzanne Person and Roderick W. Leonard, Deputy Dist. Attys., Albert M. Leddy, Dist. Atty., Kern, Margaret E. Spencer and Francine J. Lane, Deputy Dist. Attys., as amici curiae on behalf of respondents.

RICHARDSON, Justice.

We consider multiple constitutional challenges to an initiative measure which was adopted by the voters of this state at the June 1982 Primary Election. Designated on the ballot as Proposition 8 and commonly known as "The Victims' Bill of Rights," this initiative incorporated several constitutional and statutory provisions which were directed, in the words of the measure's preamble, towards "ensuring a bill of rights for victims of crime, including safeguards in the criminal justice system to fully protect those rights ...." (Cal.Const., art. I, § 28, subd. (a).)

Petitioners are three taxpayers and voters who assert various constitutional defects in the manner Proposition 8 was submitted to the voters, and who object to the expenditure of public funds to implement it. Respondents are certain public officials and courts charged with the responsibility of implementing, enforcing or applying the new measure.

In an earlier, related proceeding, we ordered the measure to be placed on the primary election ballot, reserving for our further consideration the substantive issues herein presented pending the outcome of the[32 Cal.3d 241] election. (Brosnahan v. Eu (1982) 31 Cal.3d 1, 4, 181 Cal.Rptr. 100, 641 P.2d 200.) The present petition, seeking writs of mandate or prohibition, was originally filed in the Court of Appeal. On motion of respondent Attorney General, we transferred the cause to this court. (Rule 20, Cal.Rules of Court.) It is uniformly agreed that the issues are of great public importance and should be resolved promptly. Accordingly, under well settled principles, it is appropriate that we exercise our original jurisdiction. (See Amador Valley Joint Union High Sch. Dist. v. State Bd. of Equalization (1978) 22 Cal.3d 208, 219, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281 [hereafter Amador ]; Clean Air Constituency v. California State Air Resources Bd. (1974) 11 Cal.3d 801, 808-809, 114 Cal.Rptr. 577, 523 P.2d 617.)

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Our inquiry here is limited, framed in the following manner by the petition itself: "This petition for extraordinary relief attacks[651 P.2d 277] neither the merits nor the wisdom of the [initiative's] multiple proposals. Petitioners challenge only the manner in which those proposals were submitted to the voters ...." At this time we neither consider nor anticipate possible attacks, constitutional or otherwise, which in the future may be directed at the various substantive changes effected by Proposition 8. As in Amador, we examine here "only those principal, fundamental challenges to the validity of [Proposition 8] as a whole .... 'Analysis of the problems which may arise respecting the interpretation or application of particular provisions of the act should be deferred for future cases in which those provisions are more directly challenged.' [Citation.]" (Amador, 22 Cal.3d at p. 219, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281.) We will conclude that, notwithstanding the existence of some unresolved uncertainties, as to which we reserve judgment, the initiative measure under scrutiny here survives each of petitioners' four constitutional objections.

Preliminarily, we stress that "it is a fundamental precept of our law that, although the legislative power under our constitutional framework is firmly vested in the Legislature, 'the people reserve to themselves the powers of initiative and referendum.' (Cal.Const., art. IV, § 1.) It follows from this that, ' "[the] power of initiative must be liberally construed ... to promote the democratic process." ' [Citations.]" (Amador at pp. 219-220, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281, italics added.) Indeed, as we so very recently acknowledged in Amador, it is our solemn duty jealously to guard the sovereign people's initiative power, "it being one of the most precious rights of our democratic process." (Id., at p. 248, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281.) Consistent with prior precedent, we are required to resolve any reasonable doubts in favor of the exercise of this precious right. (Ibid. )

[32 Cal.3d 242] Bearing in mind these fundamental principles, we next summarize the basic provisions of Proposition 8. As in Amador, we caution that our summary description and interpretation of the measure by no means preclude subsequent challenges to the legality of its provisions, apart from the specific constitutional issues resolved herein. (Id., at p. 220, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281.)

I. SUMMARY OF PROPOSITION 8

As previously noted, the measure denominated "The Victims' Bill of Rights," accomplishes several changes in the criminal justice system in this state for the purpose of protecting or promoting the rights of victims of crime. Thus, section 28 is added to article I of the California Constitution, section 12 of article I (relating to the right to bail) is repealed, and certain additions are made to the Penal and Welfare and Institutions Codes. The primary changes or additions are as follows:

a. Preamble; Victims' Rights and Public Safety

Section 28, subdivision (a), is added to article I of the state Constitution expressing a "grave statewide concern" to enact "safeguards in the criminal justice system" for the protection of victims of crime. The preamble recites generally that the rights of victims include, among others, the right to restitution for financial losses, and the expectation that felons will be "appropriately detained in custody, tried by the courts, and sufficiently punished so that public safety is protected and encouraged ...." In addition, the provision states that "[s]uch public safety extends to public ... school campuses, where students and staff have the right to be safe and secure in their persons." The preamble concludes by observing that "broad reforms in the procedural treatment of accused persons and the disposition and sentencing of convicted persons are necessary and proper as deterrents to criminal behavior and to serious disruption of people's lives."

b. Restitution

Section 28, subdivision (b), is added to the Constitution to assure generally that persons who "suffer losses as a result of criminal

Page 34

activity shall have the right to restitution" from the persons convicted of those crimes. "Restitution shall be ordered ...[651 P.2d 278] in every case, ... unless compelling and extraordinary reasons exist to the contrary."

[32 Cal.3d 243] c. Safe Schools

Section 28, subdivision (c), declares the "inalienable right" of public school students and staff "to attend campuses which are safe, secure and peaceful."

d. Truth-in-evidence

Section 28, subdivision (d), provides that (except as provided by statutes enacted by a two-thirds vote of both houses of the Legislature) "relevant evidence shall not be excluded in any criminal proceeding ...." The provision applies equally to juvenile criminal proceedings, but does not affect "any existing statutory rule of evidence relating to privilege or hearsay, or Evidence Code, Sections 352, 782 or 1103," or rights of the press.

e. Bail

Section 28, subdivision (e), relates to bail and replaces repealed section 12 of article I. The new provision requires that "primary consideration" be given to "public safety," and authorizes the judge or magistrate to consider "the protection of the public, the seriousness of the offense charged, the previous criminal record of the defendant, and the probability of his or her appearing at the trial or hearing" in ruling on bail matters. In addition, the provision forbids release on one's "own recognizance" of a person charged with any "serious felony" (see Pen.Code, § 1192.7, subd. (c)). (As noted below, all or part of subdivision (e) may not have taken effect because of the passage of a competing measure (Proposition 4) by a larger vote.)

f. Prior Convictions

Section 28, subdivision (f), permits the unlimited use in a criminal proceeding of "any prior felony...

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  • Perry v. Brown, Nos. 10–16696
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • February 7, 2012
    ...constitution. Assoc. Home Builders v. City of Livermore, 18 Cal.3d 582, 135 Cal.Rptr. 41, 557 P.2d 473, 477 (1976); Brosnahan v. Brown, 32 Cal.3d 236, 186 Cal.Rptr. 30, 651 P.2d 274, 277 (1982); Costa v.Super. Ct., 37 Cal.4th 986, 39 Cal.Rptr.3d 470, 128 P.3d 675, 686 (2006). As the Califor......
  • Raven v. Deukmejian, No. S016137
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 24, 1990
    ...under well settled principles, it is appropriate that we exercise our original jurisdiction. [Citations.]" (Brosnahan v. Brown (1982) 32 Cal.3d 236, 241, 186 Cal.Rptr. 30, 651 P.2d 274 [hereafter Brosnahan ], reviewing similar constitutional challenges to Prop. 8, "The Victims' Bill of Righ......
  • Strauss v. Horton, No. S168047.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 26, 2009
    ...281, 599 P.2d 587.)21 3 Three years after Frierson, supra, 25 Cal.3d 142, 158 Cal.Rptr. 281, 599 P.2d 587, in Brosnahan v. Brown (1982) 32 Cal.3d 236, 186 Cal.Rptr. 30, 651 P.2d 274 (Brosnahan), we addressed a multipronged constitutional challenge to a lengthy and diverse criminal justice i......
  • People v. Stringham, No. A039020
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 29, 1988
    ..."The Victim's Bill of Rights," the general goal of which was to promote the rights of victims of crime. (See Brosnahan v. Brown (1982) 32 Cal.3d 236, 247, 186 Cal.Rptr. 30, 651 P.2d 274; People v. Zikorus (1983) 150 Cal.App.3d 324, 330, 197 Cal.Rptr. 509.) The specific goal of section 1191.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
176 cases
  • Perry v. Brown, Nos. 10–16696
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • February 7, 2012
    ...constitution. Assoc. Home Builders v. City of Livermore, 18 Cal.3d 582, 135 Cal.Rptr. 41, 557 P.2d 473, 477 (1976); Brosnahan v. Brown, 32 Cal.3d 236, 186 Cal.Rptr. 30, 651 P.2d 274, 277 (1982); Costa v.Super. Ct., 37 Cal.4th 986, 39 Cal.Rptr.3d 470, 128 P.3d 675, 686 (2006). As the Califor......
  • Raven v. Deukmejian, No. S016137
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 24, 1990
    ...well settled principles, it is appropriate that we exercise our original jurisdiction. [Citations.]" (Brosnahan v. Brown (1982) 32 Cal.3d 236, 241, 186 Cal.Rptr. 30, 651 P.2d 274 [hereafter Brosnahan ], reviewing similar constitutional challenges to Prop. 8, "The Victims' Bill of ......
  • Strauss v. Horton, No. S168047.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 26, 2009
    ...281, 599 P.2d 587.)21 3 Three years after Frierson, supra, 25 Cal.3d 142, 158 Cal.Rptr. 281, 599 P.2d 587, in Brosnahan v. Brown (1982) 32 Cal.3d 236, 186 Cal.Rptr. 30, 651 P.2d 274 (Brosnahan), we addressed a multipronged constitutional challenge to a lengthy and diverse criminal justice i......
  • People v. Stringham, No. A039020
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 29, 1988
    ...Victim's Bill of Rights," the general goal of which was to promote the rights of victims of crime. (See Brosnahan v. Brown (1982) 32 Cal.3d 236, 247, 186 Cal.Rptr. 30, 651 P.2d 274; People v. Zikorus (1983) 150 Cal.App.3d 324, 330, 197 Cal.Rptr. 509.) The specific goal of section 1191.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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