People v. DeHoyos, 031218 CASC, S228230

Court:Supreme Court of California
Attorney:Leslie Ann Rose, under appointment by the Supreme Court, Valerie G. Wass, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, and Howard C. Cohen for Defendant and Appellant Veronica Lorraine DeHoyos. Lewis A. Wenzell, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant Gary Richard DeGraff...
Judge Panel:WE CONCUR: Cantil-Sakauye, C. J., Chin, J. Corrigan, J., Liu, J., CuÉllar, J., Needham, J.
Opinion Judge:KRUGER, J.
Party Name:THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. VERONICA LORRAINE DeHOYOS et al. Defendants and Appellants.
Case Date:March 12, 2018
Docket Nº:S228230
 
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THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,

v.

VERONICA LORRAINE DeHOYOS et al. Defendants and Appellants.

S228230

Supreme Court of California

March 12, 2018

         Superior Court San Diego County, No. SCD252670, Ct.App. 4/1 D065961, Peter C. Deddeh, Gale E. Kaneshiro and Lisa C. Schall Judge

          Leslie Ann Rose, under appointment by the Supreme Court, Valerie G. Wass, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, and Howard C. Cohen for Defendant and Appellant Veronica Lorraine DeHoyos.

          Lewis A. Wenzell, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant Gary Richard DeGraff.

          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, Lise Jacobson, Arlene A. Sevidal, Sean M. Rodriquez and Allison V. Acosta, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

          KRUGER, J.

         Approved by voters in 2014, Proposition 47 (“The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” (Proposition 47)) reduces many common theft- and drug-related offenses from felonies to misdemeanors for offenders who do not have prior convictions for specified violent or serious offenses. The measure also permits eligible defendants who were serving felony sentences as of Proposition 47's effective date to obtain the benefit of these changes by petitioning for resentencing. (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (a), as amended by Stats. 2016, ch. 767, § 1, p. 5313.) A court must grant a resentencing petition unless the court determines that resentencing the defendant “would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (b).)

         The question before us concerns the application of these provisions to defendants who were serving felony sentences on the measure's effective date but whose judgments were on appeal and thus not yet final. Are such defendants entitled to automatic resentencing under Proposition 47, or must they instead seek resentencing through the statutory resentencing procedure, including the risk assessment prescribed by Penal Code section 1170.18, subdivision (b)? We conclude that resentencing is available to such defendants only in accordance with the statutory resentencing procedure in Penal Code section 1170.18 (section 1170.18).

         I.

         A.

         Proposition 47 was passed by voters at the November 4, 2014, General Election, and took effect the following day. The measure's stated purpose was “to ensure that prison spending is focused on violent and serious offenses, to maximize alternatives for nonserious, nonviolent crime, and to invest the savings generated from this act into prevention and support programs in K-12 schools, victim services, and mental health and drug treatment, ” while also ensuring “that sentences for people convicted of dangerous crimes like rape, murder, and child molestation are not changed.” (Voter Information Guide, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 4, 2014) text of Prop. 47, § 2, p. 70 (Voter Information Guide).) To these ends, Proposition 47 redefined several common theft- and drug-related felonies as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the offender's criminal history. The redefined offenses include: shoplifting of property worth $950 or less (Pen. Code, § 459.5, subd. (a)); forgery of instruments worth $950 or less (Pen. Code, § 473, subd. (b)); fraud involving financial instruments worth $950 or less (Pen. Code, § 476a, subd. (b)); theft of, or receiving, property worth $950 or less (Pen. Code, §§ 490.2, subd. (a), 496, subd. (a)); petty theft with a prior theft-related conviction (Pen. Code, § 666, subd. (a)); and possession of a controlled substance (Health & Saf. Code, §§ 11350, subd. (a), 11377, subd. (a)). While these offenses are now misdemeanors by default, they remain felonies for offenders who have previously been convicted of certain serious or violent crimes colloquially known as “super strikes” (see Pen. Code, § 667, subd. (e)(2)(C)(iv)(I)-(VIII); see also People v. Valencia (2017) 3 Cal.5th 347, 351 & fn. 3), or of a crime that requires registration as a sex offender (see Pen. Code, § 290, subd. (c)).1

         Proposition 47 also includes two sets of detailed provisions setting out the terms under which retrospective relief is available to persons who were serving, or who had already completed, felony sentences for offenses now redefined as misdemeanors. This case concerns the first of these retrospective provisions, which provides: “A person who, on November 5, 2014, was serving a sentence for a conviction... of a felony... who would have been guilty of a misdemeanor under the act that added this section... had this act been in effect at the time of the offense may petition for a recall of sentence before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in his or her case to request resentencing in accordance” with the new misdemeanor penalty provisions. (§ 1170.18, subd. (a), as amended by Stats. 2016, ch. 767, § 1, p. 5313, eff. Jan. 1, 2017.) Petitions for recall were initially to be filed within a three-year window, absent a showing of good cause; the Legislature has since extended that window to November 4, 2022. (§ 1170.18, subd. (j), as amended by Stats. 2016, ch. 767, § 1, p. 5314, eff. Jan. 1, 2017.)[2]

         Only defendants who do not have disqualifying prior convictions may file petitions for recall of sentence. (§ 1170.18, subds. (a), (i).) If the statutory requirements are satisfied, “the petitioner's felony sentence shall be recalled and the petitioner resentenced to a misdemeanor... unless the court, in its discretion, determines that resentencing the petitioner would pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” (Id., subd. (b).) For these purposes, “ ‘unreasonable risk of danger to public safety' means an unreasonable risk that the petitioner will commit a” super strike or crime requiring sex offender registration. (Id., subd. (c).) In making this determination, “the court may consider” the petitioner's “criminal conviction history, ” “disciplinary record and record of rehabilitation while incarcerated, ” and “[a]ny other evidence” the court “determines to be relevant in deciding whether a new sentence would result in an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” (Id., subd. (b), (b)(1)-(3).)

         Proposition 47 also provides a path to relief for persons who have already completed a sentence for a covered offense: Such a person “may file an application before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction in his or her case to have the felony conviction or convictions designated as misdemeanors.”...

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