Moore v. Superior Court of Riverside Cnty., E074429

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtFIELDS, J.
Citation272 Cal.Rptr.3d 571
Parties David Peter MOORE, Sr., Petitioner, v. The SUPERIOR COURT OF RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Respondent; The People, Real Party in Interest.
Docket NumberE074429
Decision Date11 December 2020

272 Cal.Rptr.3d 571

David Peter MOORE, Sr., Petitioner,
v.
The SUPERIOR COURT OF RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Respondent;

The People, Real Party in Interest.

E074429

Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 2, California.

Filed December 11, 2020


Steven L. Harmon, Public Defender, William A. Meronek, Deputy Public Defender, for Petitioner.

No appearance for Respondent.

Michael A. Hestrin, District Attorney, Natalie M. Lough, Deputy District Attorney, for Real Party in Interest.

OPINION

FIELDS, J.

I. INTRODUCTION

For nearly 40 years, Vehicle Code section 23640 and its predecessor, Vehicle Code former section 23202, have generally made DUI defendants1 categorically ineligible for any form of pretrial diversion. In 2018, the Legislature enacted Penal Code section 1001.36, making defendants charged with "a misdemeanor or felony" and who suffer from a qualifying mental health disorder generally eligible for pretrial mental health diversion. (Stats. 2018, ch. 34, § 24.) The Legislature then amended Penal Code section 1001.36 to make persons charged with murder and other specified offenses categorically ineligible for pretrial mental health diversion. ( § 1001.36, subd. (b)(2) ; Stats. 2018, ch. 1005, § 1.) But the Legislature did not amend Penal Code section 1001.36 to clarify that DUI defendants are eligible for

272 Cal.Rptr.3d 574

pretrial mental health diversion, notwithstanding Vehicle Code section 23640.

The question presented in this case is one of statutory interpretation: In light of Vehicle Code section 23640, are DUI defendants categorically ineligible for pretrial mental health diversion under Penal Code section 1001.36 ? In Tellez v. Superior Court (2020) 56 Cal.App.5th 439, 270 Cal.Rptr.3d 418 ( Tellez ), this court addressed the same question and concluded, based on the legislative history of Penal Code sections 1001.36 and 1001.80 (military diversion), that the Legislature did not intend DUI defendants to be eligible for pretrial mental health diversion under section 1001.36. ( Tellez , at pp. 447-448, 270 Cal.Rptr.3d 418.)

We conclude, consistently with Tellez , that legislative history of Penal Code 2 sections 1001.36 and 1001.80 shows that the Legislature did not intend to make DUI defendants eligible for pretrial mental health diversion under section 1001.36. We publish this decision to illustrate that several canons of statutory construction buttress Tellez' s holding.

II. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Petitioner, David Peter Moore, Sr., was charged in a felony complaint with driving under the influence of alcohol, causing injury ( Veh. Code, § 23153, subd. (a) ; count 1) and with driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more, causing injury ( Veh. Code, § 23153, subd. (b) ; count 2.) The complaint further alleged that Moore had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or more ( Veh. Code, § 23578 ), personally inflicted great bodily injury on one victim ( Pen. Code, § 12022.7, subd. (a) ), and proximately caused bodily injury to two additional victims ( Veh. Code, § 23558 ).

The offenses allegedly occurred on November 22, 2018, when Moore's vehicle collided with another vehicle, injuring three occupants of the other vehicle. Moore pled not guilty to the charges and denied the enhancement allegations. Before trial, on November 8, 2019, Moore's counsel orally moved the trial court to hold a "prima facie hearing" to determine whether Moore met the statutory criteria to qualify for pretrial mental health diversion. ( § 1001.36, subd. (b)(1), (b)(3).)

The court denied Moore's motion on the ground that Vehicle Code section 23640 renders all felony and misdemeanor DUI defendants ineligible for pretrial mental health diversion under Penal Code section 1001.36.3 Moore then petitioned this court for a writ of mandate, claiming the court's order is contrary to the plain language of Penal Code section 1001.36, its legislative history, and public policy. We issued an order to show cause and stayed the proceedings in the trial court. For the reasons we explain, we deny Moore's petition and dissolve the order staying the trial court proceedings.

III. STATUTORY OVERVIEW

A. Vehicle Code Section 23640

Vehicle Code section 23640 prohibits courts from ordering any form of pretrial

272 Cal.Rptr.3d 575

diversion for defendants charged with misdemeanor or felony violations of either Vehicle Code section 23152 or 23153. (See People v. Weatherill (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 1569, 1572-1573, 264 Cal.Rptr. 298 ( Weatherill ) [discussing Veh. Code, former § 23202, the predecessor statute to Veh. Code, § 23640 ].) The statute does this by prohibiting courts from suspending, staying, or dismissing the criminal proceedings against a DUI defendant in order to allow the defendant to attend or participate in, or because the defendant has attended or participated in, "any one or more education, training, or treatment programs, ..." ( Veh. Code, § 23640, subd. (a).)4

Vehicle Code section 23640 has been the law in California for nearly 40 years. Its predecessor statute, Vehicle Code former section 23202, was enacted in 1981, along with other changes and additions to the Vehicle Code, "in response to growing public concern about intoxicated drivers." ( People v. Duncan (1990) 216 Cal.App.3d 1621, 1628, 265 Cal.Rptr. 612.)5

A companion statute, Vehicle Code section 23600 (Veh. Code, former § 23206),6 imposes similar postconviction restraints on sentencing in DUI cases. (See People v. Duncan, supra , 216 Cal.App.3d at p. 1628, 265 Cal.Rptr. 612.) It prohibits courts from staying or suspending pronouncement of sentence in DUI cases and from absolving DUI defendants of their "obligation of spending the minimum time in confinement, if any, or of paying the minimum fine imposed by law." ( Veh. Code, § 23600, subd. (c).)

Courts have consistently observed that the Legislature's " ‘unambiguous intent’ " in enacting Vehicle Code sections 23640 and 23600, and their predecessor statutes, was " ‘to prohibit pre- or postconviction stays or suspensions of proceedings to allow [DUI defendants] to be diverted into a treatment program and avoid spending the statutorily mandated minimum time in confinement or paying the statutorily imposed minimum fine.’ " ( VanVleck, supra , 2 Cal.App.5th at p. 361, 205 Cal.Rptr.3d 839, quoting People v. Darnell (1990) 224 Cal.App.3d 806, 810, 274 Cal.Rptr. 110 ; see People v Duncan, supra , 216 Cal.App.3d at p. 1628, 265 Cal.Rptr. 612 ; Weatherill, supra , 215 Cal.App.3d at pp. 1572-1573, 264 Cal.Rptr. 298.)

During the 1970's, following the Legislature's 1972 enactment of California's first

272 Cal.Rptr.3d 576

diversion statute allowing pretrial diversion for certain drug offenders (§§ 1000 to 1000.4), police departments and district attorneys throughout California began implementing diversion programs in their local jurisdictions. ( Davis v. Municipal Court (1988) 46 Cal.3d 64, 73-74, 249 Cal.Rptr. 300, 757 P.2d 11.) Many of these local diversion programs included "driving-under-the-influence diversion programs." ( Weatherill, supra , 215 Cal.App.3d at p. 1576, 264 Cal.Rptr. 298.)

The proliferation of local DUI diversion programs in California ultimately led to the 1981 enactment of Vehicle Code former sections 23202 and 23206, the predecessors to Vehicle Code sections 23640 and 23600. (See Weatherill, supra , 215 Cal.App.3d at pp. 1574-1576, 264 Cal.Rptr. 298.) As the Weatherill court explained, public support "was strong" for Assembly Bill No. 541 (1981-1982 Reg. Sess.), the legislation that added these statutes to the Vehicle Code and otherwise reformed California's driving-under-the-influence laws. ( Weatherill , at pp. 1574-1575, 264 Cal.Rptr. 298.) The legislation ensured that "all driving under the influence defendants, without exception, shall have their guilt or innocence determined without delay or diversion. " ( Id. at p. 1577, 264 Cal.Rptr. 298, fn.omitted, italics added.)

B. Penal Code Section 1001.36

Section 1001.36 was both enacted and amended in 2018. (Stats. 2018, ch. 34, § 24; Stats. 2018, ch. 1005, § 1.) It created a pretrial diversion program for qualifying defendants who suffer from a diagnosed and qualifying mental disorder, "including, but not limited to, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder, but excluding antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and pedophilia...." ( § 1001.36, subd. (b)(1)(A).)

The statute provides: "On an accusatory pleading alleging the commission of a misdemeanor or felony offense , the court may, after considering the positions of the defense and prosecution, grant pretrial diversion to a defendant pursuant to this section if the defendant meets all of the [six minimum eligibility] requirements specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b)." ( § 1001.36, subd. (a), italics added.)7

"At any stage of the proceedings, the court may require the defendant to make a prima facie showing that the defendant will meet the minimum requirements of eligibility for diversion and that the defendant and the offense are suitable for diversion.... If a prima facie showing is not made, the court may summarily deny the request for...

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1 practice notes
  • Rodriguez v. Superior Court of Santa Clara Cnty., H049016
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 20, 2021
    ...8 Cal.4th 791, 799–801, 35 Cal.Rptr.2d 418, 883 P.2d 960 ; Moore v. Superior Court of Riverside County (2020) 58 Cal.App.5th 561, 573, 272 Cal.Rptr.3d 571.)" ‘ " ‘When we interpret a statute, "[o]ur fundamental task ... is to determine the Legislature's intent so as to effectuate the law's ......
1 cases
  • Rodriguez v. Superior Court of Santa Clara Cnty., H049016
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 20, 2021
    ...8 Cal.4th 791, 799–801, 35 Cal.Rptr.2d 418, 883 P.2d 960 ; Moore v. Superior Court of Riverside County (2020) 58 Cal.App.5th 561, 573, 272 Cal.Rptr.3d 571.)" ‘ " ‘When we interpret a statute, "[o]ur fundamental task ... is to determine the Legislature's intent so as to effectuate the law's ......

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