People v. Marroquin, 081817 SUPAD, BR 053056

Docket Nº:BR 053056
Opinion Judge:RICHARDSON, J.
Party Name:THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. JACOB MARROQUIN, Defendant and Respondent.
Attorney:Douglas P. Haubert, City Prosecutor, City of Long Beach, and Randall C. Fudge, Assistant City Prosecutor, for Plaintiff and Appellant. Kelly G. Emling, Acting Public Defender of Los Angeles County, Albert J. Menaster, Head Deputy, Appellate Branch, and Thomas S. Moore, Deputy Public Defender, for...
Judge Panel:We concur: P. MCKAY, P. J. KUMAR, J.
Case Date:August 18, 2017
Court:Superior Court of California
 
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THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,

v.

JACOB MARROQUIN, Defendant and Respondent.

BR 053056

Superior Court of California, Appellate Division, Los Angeles

August 18, 2017

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County No. 5LG00861, Daniel J. Lowenthal, Judge. Reversed.

Douglas P. Haubert, City Prosecutor, City of Long Beach, and Randall C. Fudge, Assistant City Prosecutor, for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Kelly G. Emling, Acting Public Defender of Los Angeles County, Albert J. Menaster, Head Deputy, Appellate Branch, and Thomas S. Moore, Deputy Public Defender, for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

RICHARDSON, J.

INTRODUCTION

The court dismissed the misdemeanor complaint against defendant Jacob Marroquin upon his satisfaction of the condition that he not reoffend. On appeal, the People contend the court's dismissal under Penal Code section 1385, 1 as part of an unauthorized nonstatutory deferral of sentencing program, was an abuse of discretion. We agree and reverse the order of dismissal.

BACKGROUND

On April 8, 2015, a misdemeanor complaint was filed charging defendant with possession of a nanchaku (§ 22010) (count 1) and possession of drug paraphernalia (Health & Saf. Code, § 11364.1, subd. (a)) (count 2). At his arraignment on April 21, 2015, defendant entered pleas of not guilty to the charges. The matter was called for trial on July 15, 2015. On the People's motion, the court ordered the complaint amended to change count 2 to a violation of Health and Safety Code section 11364.

July 27, 2015, Order

The trial was trailed to July 27, 2015. On that date, the court indicated it intended to grant defendant informal diversion pursuant to section 1001.94 et seq., stating, “So over the prosecutor's objection, I will offer to give you diversion. It's unclear to me, based on what I've heard from the lawyers, if the stuff actually belonged to you or your son. Because of that ambiguity, I will offer diversion. [¶] The terms of diversion are be to a good citizen for a year and the case would get dismissed.” The prosecutor objected that section 1001.98, subdivision (h)(2), prohibited diversion in this case because the charge involved a dangerous weapon. When the court asked defendant if he wanted to accept diversion, defendant responded, “No.” The court then explained, “Okay what that means is, I'm going to dismiss the case. You don't have to complete any obligations. You are not going to get a criminal conviction. You don't have to pay any fees. [¶] So I'm offering, over the prosecutor's objection, to dismiss the case. All you have to do is be a good citizen for a year, which is not difficult, because you've been a good citizen your entire life.” The court informed defendant that the alternative would be to proceed to trial and, if he were found guilty, that would result in a criminal conviction and a year in jail.

When asked again, defendant agreed to diversion and entered a guilty plea. The court accepted the plea and deferred a finding of guilt. It reiterated that as long as defendant did not get arrested the case would be dismissed in one year, on July 27, 2016.

On July 29, 2015, the People filed an appeal of the trial court's grant of diversion. This court deemed the appeal a petition for writ of mandate and, on April 12, 2016, issued a Palma2 notice stating its intention to issue a peremptory writ of mandate in the first instance. The trial court was given until May 13, 2016, to reconsider and vacate its order granting diversion. On the stated deadline, the trial court acknowledged the suggestive Palma notice and vacated its July 27, 2015, order granting diversion pursuant to section 1001.94.

June 7, 2016, Order

On June 7, 2016, at a jury trial setting hearing, the trial court revised its prior position that deferral of judgment was pursuant to Penal Code section 1001.94. The court stated its order deferring judgment was based upon “the authority” outlined in an opinion written by the Legislative Counsel on November 4, 2014, regarding a trial court's authority over the disposition of a criminal case. The court added that its order was “clearly not...

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