People v. Buycks

Decision Date30 July 2018
Docket NumberS231765,S232900,S238888
Citation422 P.3d 531,5 Cal.5th 857,236 Cal.Rptr.3d 84
CourtCalifornia Supreme Court
Parties The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Stevenson BUYCKS, Defendant and Respondent. The People, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Laura Reynoso Valenzuela, Defendant and Appellant. In re John Manuel Guiomar on Habeas Corpus.

Richard L. Fitzer, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant Stevenson Buycks.

Stephen P. Lipson, Public Defender (Ventura) and Michael C. McMahon, Chief Deputy Public Defender, for California Public Defenders Association and Public Defender of Ventura County as Amici Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Appellant Stevenson Buycks.

Steven J. Carroll and Helen Irza, under appointments by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant Laura Reynoso Valenzuela.

William J. Arzbaecher III for California Public Defenders Association as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Appellant Laura Reynoso Valenzuela.

Jonathan Grossman, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Petitioner John Manuel Guiomar.

Kamala D. Harris and Xavier Becerra, Attorneys General, Edward C. DuMont, State Solicitor General, Janill L. Richards, Principal Deputy State Solicitor General, Joshua A. Klein, Deputy State Solicitor General, Samuel P. Siegel, Associate Deputy State Solicitor General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Assistant Attorney General, Susan Sullivan Pithey, Mary Sanchez and David Zarmi, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent in No. S231765.

Kamala D. Harris and Xavier Becerra, Attorneys General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Julie L. Garland, Assistant Attorney General, Steven T. Oetting, Deputy State Solicitor General, Charles C. Ragland, Scott C. Taylor, Meredith S. White and Marvin E. Mizell, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent in No. S232900.

Kamala D. Harris and Xavier Becerra, Attorneys General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Jeffrey M. Laurence, Assistant Attorney General, Eric D. Share, Seth K. Schalit, Donna M. Provenzano and Amit Kurlekar, Deputy Attorneys General, for Petitioner in No. S238888.

CANTIL-SAKAUYE, C. J.

At the November 4, 2014 General Election, California voters approved Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Proposition 47). Proposition 47 reclassified as misdemeanors certain offenses that previously were felonies or "wobblers."1 It also added Penal Code section 1170.18,2 which permits those previously convicted of felony offenses that Proposition 47 reduced to misdemeanors to petition to have such felony convictions resentenced or redesignated as misdemeanors. Section 1170.18 allows those currently serving sentences for Proposition 47 eligible felony convictions to petition to have their sentences recalled and be "resentenced to a misdemeanor." ( § 1170.18, subd. (b).) It also allows those who have already completed their sentences for Proposition 47 eligible felony convictions to petition to have their convictions "designated as misdemeanors." ( § 1170.18, subd. (f).) Once an offense is resentenced or redesignated as a misdemeanor it "shall be considered a misdemeanor for all purposes." ( Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (k).)

We granted review in three cases to resolve similar issues concerning Proposition 47’s effect on felony-based enhancements in resentencing proceedings under section 1170.18. In People v. Buycks (S231765), we address whether Proposition 47 requires the dismissal of a two-year sentencing enhancement for committing a felony offense while released on bail for an earlier felony offense (§ 12022.1, subd. (b) ) when that earlier felony offense is reduced to a misdemeanor under section 1170.18. In People v. Valenzuela (S232900), we address whether Proposition 47 requires the dismissal of a one-year sentencing enhancement for having served a prior prison term (§ 667.5, subd. (b) ) when the felony underlying that prior prison term has been reduced to a misdemeanor under section 1170.18. In the third matter, In re Guiomar (S238888), we consider whether Proposition 47 requires the dismissal of a failure to appear for a felony charge under section 1320.5 when the underlying felony has subsequently been reduced to a misdemeanor under the initiative.

We conclude that Proposition 47’s mandate that the resentenced or redesignated offense "be considered a misdemeanor for all purposes" ( § 1170.18, subd. (k) ) permits defendants to challenge felony-based section 667.5 and 12022.1 enhancements when the underlying felonies have been subsequently resentenced or redesignated as misdemeanors. As explained below, under some circumstances such challenges may be brought in a resentencing procedure under section 1170.18 ; they may also be brought on petition for writ of habeas corpus, in reliance on the retroactivity principle of In re Estrada (1965) 63 Cal.2d 740, 48 Cal.Rptr. 172, 408 P.2d 948 ( Estrada ). In the latter instance, relief is limited to judgments that were not final at the time the initiative took effect on November 5, 2014. We further conclude, however, that those convicted under section 1320.5 cannot obtain similar relief.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
A. Defendant Stevenson Buycks

In November 2013, defendant Stevenson Buycks pleaded guilty to felony possession of narcotics in violation of Health and Safety Code section 11350, subdivision (a), in case No. BA418285. The trial court ordered Buycks to enroll in a one-year, live-in treatment program in lieu of a prison sentence and released him on his own recognizance.

However, in December 2013, Buycks was caught shoplifting at a Home Depot, resisted theft-prevention officers who tried to apprehend him, wielded a knife, escaped in a van, and then was chased by police until his van was rammed to a stop by a police car. Buycks had also abandoned his drug treatment program, and, in late December 2013, the trial court sentenced him to three years in state prison based on his earlier conviction for felony possession of narcotics in case No. BA418285.

Regarding his second case involving the Home Depot-related crimes, case No. NA097755, Buycks was charged with two counts of second degree robbery in violation of section 211, one count of petty theft by a person with three prior convictions in violation of section 666, subdivision (a), and one count of evading a police officer in violation of Vehicle Code section 2800.2, subdivision (a).

Because he had committed these new felonies while released on his own recognizance on the earlier felony for possession of narcotics, Buycks was also charged in this second case with an on-bail (or released on own recognizance) enhancement under section 12022.1, subdivision (b). That subdivision provides: "Any person arrested for a secondary [felony] offense that was alleged to have been committed while that person was released from custody on a primary [felony] offense shall be subject to a penalty enhancement of an additional two years, which shall be served consecutive to any other term imposed by the court." (§ 12022.1, subd. (b).)

On August 28, 2014, Buycks entered a negotiated plea of no contest to a single count of petty theft with a prior, a felony, and evading a police officer, also a felony. He admitted he had committed those offenses while released on his own recognizance in the first felony case (§ 12022.1), and that he had served two prior prison terms (§ 667.5, subd. (b) ). He was sentenced that same day to seven years eight months, which included two years for the section 12022.1 enhancement. That judgment became final 60 days later.

After the voters approved Proposition 47 in the November 4, 2014 General Election, Buycks successfully petitioned for resentencing in case No. BA418285, with the court granting his request to resentence his narcotics conviction to a misdemeanor in early January 2015. He also successfully petitioned under Proposition 47 for resentencing in his case No. NA097755, with the court granting his request to resentence his petty theft with a prior conviction to a misdemeanor in late January 2015. The resentencing court, however, rejected Buycks’ argument that his section 12022.1 enhancement no longer applied because the narcotics offense for which he had been released on bail when he committed his Home Depot-related crimes was no longer a felony because of the passage of Proposition 47. The resentencing court reasoned that, at the time Buycks committed his Home Depot-related felonies, his earlier offense was still a felony and that Proposition 47 did not apply to his section 12022.1 enhancement. In resentencing defendant, the court restructured defendant’s sentence to make his conviction for felony evading a police officer as the principal term and imposed a full base term of three years, the maximum possible sentence, plus the enhancements for an aggregate sentence of 7 years.

Buycks appealed the resentencing in this second case, contending that his section 12022.1 enhancement should not have been reimposed by the resentencing court because the narcotics offense for which he had been released on his own recognizance had been resentenced as a misdemeanor.

The Court of Appeal agreed, concluding that when Buycks’ Proposition 47 petition was granted in his second case, he was "subject to a full resentencing" in that case, and the trial court "was required to reevaluate the applicability of section 12022.1 at that time ."

We granted review on our own motion.

B. Defendant Laura Reynoso Valenzuela

In October 2012, defendant Laura Valenzuela was convicted of the felony of receiving stolen property under section 496 in case No. JCF28616, and she was sentenced to serve a 16-month prison term.

In September 2014, a jury in case No. JCF32712 found Valenzuela guilty of carjacking in violation of section 215, subdivision (a), reckless evasion of a peace officer in violation of Vehicle Code section 2800.2, subdivision (a), and...

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