Mattz v. Superior Court, No. S002805

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtARGUELLES; LUCAS; KAUFMAN; PANELLI; MOSK
Citation758 P.2d 606,250 Cal.Rptr. 278,46 Cal.3d 355
Parties, 758 P.2d 606 Diane Sue MATTZ et al., Petitioners, v. The SUPERIOR COURT of Del Norte County, Respondent; The PEOPLE, Real Party in Interest.
Decision Date22 August 1988
Docket NumberNo. S002805

Page 278

250 Cal.Rptr. 278
46 Cal.3d 355, 758 P.2d 606
Diane Sue MATTZ et al., Petitioners,
v.
The SUPERIOR COURT of Del Norte County, Respondent;
The PEOPLE, Real Party in Interest.
No. S002805.
Supreme Court of California,
In Bank.
Aug. 22, 1988.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 13, 1988.

[46 Cal.3d 357]

Page 279

[758 P.2d 607] George Forman, Alexander & Karshmer, Berkeley, Dohn R. Henion, Crescent City, for petitioners.

Roderick E. Walston, Office of the Atty. Gen., San Francisco, for real party in interest.

[46 Cal.3d 358] ARGUELLES, Justice.

In 1981, the People filed criminal charges against Diane Sue Mattz, Antone Folkins and Kenneth Mattz (hereafter defendants)--three Yurok Indians of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation in Northern California--arising out of defendants' alleged commercial fishing activities in the Klamath River on the reservation. 1 Before trial, defendants challenged the state's authority to pursue the prosecutions, and in 1984, while this writ proceeding was pending in the Court of Appeal, we held in People v. McCovey (1984) 36 Cal.3d 517, 205 Cal.Rptr. 643, 685 P.2d 687 that the comprehensive federal regulation of Indian fishing rights on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation preempts the state from criminally prosecuting Yurok Indians for such activity. Although acknowledging the similarity between the present proceeding and McCovey, the Court of Appeal found that McCovey was not controlling for a number of reasons and held that the underlying criminal prosecutions could go forward. 240 Cal.Rptr. 723. We granted review to consider the validity of the Court of Appeal's interpretation and application of McCovey and now reverse the Court of Appeal judgment.

Page 280

I

In September 1981, defendants were charged with violating and conspiring to violate criminal provisions of the California Fish and Game Code which prohibit (1) the sale of fish taken in the Klamath River District, and (2) the sale, or possession for sale, of any salmon, steelhead or striped bass, taken in California waters by means of a gill net. (Fish & G. Code, §§ 8434, 8685.6; Pen.Code § 182.) The evidence presented at the preliminary hearing established that defendants are Yurok Indians [758 P.2d 608] of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation and that the charged offenses involved fish caught within the boundaries of the reservation. On the basis of that evidence, the magistrate dismissed the charges, concluding that the state lacked jurisdiction to prosecute defendants for such fishing activities in reservation waters.

The People then moved in superior court to reinstate the charges. The superior court, relying in large part on the fact that the federal regulations [46 Cal.3d 359] in effect at the time of the alleged offenses barred commercial fishing by Indians in the Klamath River, found that state prosecutions for such conduct were not preempted and reinstated the charges. Defendants' subsequent motion to dismiss was denied by the superior court in August 1983.

In September 1983, defendants filed the present writ proceeding in the Court of Appeal, maintaining, inter alia, that California lacks jurisdiction to prosecute Indians of the Hoopa Valley Reservation under state law for offenses arising from on-reservation fishing. As noted, at the time the writ petition was filed, a case presenting a similar legal issue-- People v. McCovey, supra, 36 Cal.3d 517, 205 Cal.Rptr. 643, 685 P.2d 687--was pending before our court. Recognizing that the decision in McCovey might well be dispositive of this matter, defendants, at the People's request, waived their rights to a speedy trial "to a date ninety (90) days after the filing of the remittitur" in McCovey, and the Court of Appeal held this matter in abeyance pending our McCovey decision.

We handed down our decision in McCovey in July 1984, concluding generally that the comprehensive federal regulation of Indian fishing rights on the Hoopa Valley Reservation preempted state criminal prosecutions both of Indian fishing activities on the reservation and of the off-reservation sale by reservation Indians of fish that had been caught on the reservation. The People sought certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, but that court denied the petition for certiorari in November 1984. (California v. McCovey (1984) 469 U.S. 1062, 105 S.Ct. 544, 83 L.Ed.2d 432.)

A few weeks thereafter, the People filed an opposition brief in the present writ proceeding in the Court of Appeal, contending that the McCovey decision was not dispositive of this proceeding and arguing--on the basis of historical documents of which it urged the court to take judicial notice--that the Yurok Indians possess no federally protected fishing rights in the Klamath River and that the federal government lacked the constitutional authority to adopt the regulations which McCovey had found preempted state criminal prosecutions. Ten months later, in October 1985, after the People had filed several additional letter briefs, defendants filed a notice of abandonment of the writ proceeding in the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal initially summarily dismissed the proceeding pursuant to the abandonment, but when the People informed the appellate court that it had not received notice of the proposed abandonment and urged the court to vacate the dismissal, the Court of Appeal vacated the dismissal order and reinstated the proceeding.

In October 1987, the Court of Appeal rendered its decision in this matter. Although the Court of Appeal recognized that the McCovey decision "would at first blush appear to entitle [defendants] to a writ of prohibition [46 Cal.3d 360] restraining further prosecution on the state criminal charges," the court went on to conclude that McCovey did not require it to issue such a writ. The Court of Appeal did not, however, embrace the People's assertion that the federal government lacked the constitutional authority to promulgate regulations governing

Page 281

Indian fishing rights on the Hoopa Valley Reservation, but instead held that the state's interest in conservation justifies concurrent state and federal regulatory jurisdiction over commercial Klamath River fishing and that McCovey did not preclude the state from exercising such jurisdiction even with respect to on-reservation fishing activities by Yurok Indians. Accordingly, it denied the writ petition, permitting the underlying criminal prosecutions against defendants to go forward.

[758 P.2d 609] We granted review to determine the validity of the Court of Appeal's interpretation and application of McCovey.

II

As a threshold matter, defendants contend that the Court of Appeal lacked jurisdiction to render its decision on the merits of this writ proceeding. On October 7, 1985, after the matter had been fully briefed in the Court of Appeal, defendants, who had instituted this writ proceeding, filed a "notice of abandonment" of the writ petition with the Court of Appeal (see Cal. Rules of Court, rules 19, 38, 53), requesting that the court "order the dismissal of the writ and the issuance of their remittitur." Defendants evidently did not serve the People with a copy of the notice of abandonment and the clerk of the court also apparently failed to immediately notify the People of the filing of the notice. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rules 19(c), 38.) On October 15, 1985, the Court of Appeal, having received no opposition from the People, summarily dismissed the petition pursuant to the abandonment.

The People received notice of the dismissal on October 16, 1985, and immediately filed a motion requesting the Court of Appeal to vacate its order of dismissal. In their motion, the People pointed out that they had not received notice of the proposed abandonment, and urged the court to vacate the dismissal and retain the case in light of the important public question presented by the proceeding. (See, e.g., Lucchesi v. City of San Jose (1980) 104 Cal.App.3d 323, 326, fn. 2, 163 Cal.Rptr. 700.) 2 On October 25, 1985, [46 Cal.3d 361] the Court of Appeal issued an order vacating its initial dismissal order and reinstating the writ proceeding. Defendants did not challenge the validity of the order vacating dismissal at that point, and the Court of Appeal went on to decide the writ petition on the merits.

Defendants now contend that the Court of Appeal lacked jurisdiction to decide the matter. Although defendants acknowledge that under rules 19(b) and 38 of the California Rules of Court the Court of Appeal had discretion to decline to accede to their proposed abandonment of the writ proceeding (see generally 9 Witkin, Cal.Procedure (3d ed. 1985) Appeal, § 505, p. 491; Cal. Civil Appellate Practice (Cont.Ed.Bar 1985) § 10.15, pp. 287-288), they contend that once the Court of Appeal ordered dismissal it lacked jurisdiction to reinstate the proceeding. Past cases have held, however, that under appropriate circumstances a Court of Appeal may vacate an order of dismissal and reinstate an appeal (see, e.g., Lundy v. Lakin (1949) 89 Cal.App.2d 849, 202 P.2d 369; Krug v. Meehan (1951) 108 Cal.App.2d 416, 239 P.2d 46; see generally 9 Witkin, Cal.Procedure (3d ed. 1985) Appeal, § 514, pp. 497-498), and at least under the circumstances of this case--in which the Court of Appeal, in ordering dismissal, was apparently unaware that the clerk of the court had failed to immediately notify the People of the proposed abandonment as required by rules 19(c) and 38--we

Page 282

conclude that the Court of Appeal had similar authority to vacate its dismissal of the writ proceeding. Indeed, in view of the fact that defendants voiced no objection to the Court of Appeal's reinstatement of the proceeding at a time when the People could still have sought review of the initial dismissal in this court, it clearly would be inequitable to permit defendants to challenge the Court of Appeal's decision on such a basis at this late date.

[758 P.2d 610] Accordingly, we turn...

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8 practice notes
  • Parravano v. Babbitt, No. C 93-2003 TEH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • July 29, 1994
    ...57 L.Ed. 820, modified on other grounds and rehearing denied, 228 U.S. 708, 33 S.Ct. 1024, 57 L.Ed. 1035 (1913); Mattz v. Superior Court, 46 Cal.3d 355, 250 Cal.Rptr. 278, 282, 758 P.2d 606, 610 (1988). The reservation was mostly inhabited by Hoopa Indians. In 1876 President Grant formally ......
  • Baley v. United States, 2018-1323, 2018-1325
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Federal Circuit
    • November 14, 2019
    ...water rights survived passage of 942 F.3d 1323 the Termination Act. See, e.g. , Adair , 723 F.2d at 1412 ; Mattz v. Superior Court , 46 Cal.3d 355, 250 Cal.Rptr. 278, 758 P.2d 606, 610 (1988) ; Kimball v. Callahan , 590 F.2d 768, 774–75 (9th Cir. 1979) ; Kimball v. Callahan , 493 F.2d 564, ......
  • Baley v. United States, 2018-1323
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • November 14, 2019
    ...and implied reserved water rights survived passage of the Termination Act. See, e.g., Adair, 723 F.2d at 1412; Mattz v. Superior Court, 758 P.2d 606, 610 (Cal. 1988); Kimball v. Callahan, 590 F.2d 768, 774-75 (9th Cir. 1979); Kimball v. Callahan, 493 F.2d 564, 568-69 (9th Cir. 1974). The Un......
  • 237 517 v. 1991 237 237 517 1530 517 1530 Southern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc Joint Apprenticeship Committee v. California Apprenticeship Council Riverside and San Bernardino Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees, No. A049486
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 3, 1991
    ...the appeal be subject to dismissal, nevertheless adjudicate the issues involved. [Citations.]"]; cf. also Mattz v. Superior Court (1988),46 Cal.3d 355, 250 Cal.Rptr. 278, 758 P.2d 606 [Appellants had abandoned their request for a writ of mandate, and their proceeding had been dismissed; but......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Parravano v. Babbitt, No. C 93-2003 TEH.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • July 29, 1994
    ...57 L.Ed. 820, modified on other grounds and rehearing denied, 228 U.S. 708, 33 S.Ct. 1024, 57 L.Ed. 1035 (1913); Mattz v. Superior Court, 46 Cal.3d 355, 250 Cal.Rptr. 278, 282, 758 P.2d 606, 610 (1988). The reservation was mostly inhabited by Hoopa Indians. In 1876 President Grant formally ......
  • Baley v. United States, 2018-1323, 2018-1325
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Federal Circuit
    • November 14, 2019
    ...water rights survived passage of 942 F.3d 1323 the Termination Act. See, e.g. , Adair , 723 F.2d at 1412 ; Mattz v. Superior Court , 46 Cal.3d 355, 250 Cal.Rptr. 278, 758 P.2d 606, 610 (1988) ; Kimball v. Callahan , 590 F.2d 768, 774–75 (9th Cir. 1979) ; Kimball v. Callahan , 493 F.2d 564, ......
  • Baley v. United States, 2018-1323
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • November 14, 2019
    ...and implied reserved water rights survived passage of the Termination Act. See, e.g., Adair, 723 F.2d at 1412; Mattz v. Superior Court, 758 P.2d 606, 610 (Cal. 1988); Kimball v. Callahan, 590 F.2d 768, 774-75 (9th Cir. 1979); Kimball v. Callahan, 493 F.2d 564, 568-69 (9th Cir. 1974). The Un......
  • 237 517 v. 1991 237 237 517 1530 517 1530 Southern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc Joint Apprenticeship Committee v. California Apprenticeship Council Riverside and San Bernardino Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees, No. A049486
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 3, 1991
    ...the appeal be subject to dismissal, nevertheless adjudicate the issues involved. [Citations.]"]; cf. also Mattz v. Superior Court (1988),46 Cal.3d 355, 250 Cal.Rptr. 278, 758 P.2d 606 [Appellants had abandoned their request for a writ of mandate, and their proceeding had been dismissed; but......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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