People v. Schulz, F080978

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtMEEHAN, J.
Citation66 Cal.App.5th 887,281 Cal.Rptr.3d 469
Parties The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Stephen Ray SCHULZ, Defendant and Appellant.
Docket NumberF080978
Decision Date20 July 2021

66 Cal.App.5th 887
281 Cal.Rptr.3d 469

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Stephen Ray SCHULZ, Defendant and Appellant.

F080978

Court of Appeal, Fifth District, California.

Filed July 20, 2021


Certified for Partial Publication.*

Christopher Love, Los Angeles, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Rob Bonta and Xavier Becerra, Attorneys General, Lance E. Winters, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, Carlos A. Martinez and Catherine Tennant Nieto, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

MEEHAN, J.

281 Cal.Rptr.3d 471
66 Cal.App.5th 890

INTRODUCTION

Defendant Stephen Ray Schulz raises two issues on appeal. He claims the trial court abused its discretion when it declined to reduce his felony

66 Cal.App.5th 891

convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol to misdemeanors pursuant to Penal Code section 17, subdivision (b).1 He also claims, via supplemental briefing, that pursuant to the Estrada2 presumption, he is entitled to relief under Assembly Bill No. 1950 (2019–2020 Reg. Sess.) (Assembly Bill No. 1950 or Assem. Bill No. 1950), which amended section 1203.1, subdivision (a), to limit probation for felony offenses to no more than two years, subject to certain exceptions. (Stats. 2020, ch. 328, § 2.) The People contend that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied defendant's motion to reduce his felony convictions to misdemeanors, and although they do not dispute defendant's assertion that he is otherwise eligible for a probationary term that does not exceed two years under section 1203.1, subdivision (a), as amended, they contend that probation is not punishment and, therefore, the amendment does not apply retroactively to this case under Estrada.

After briefing was complete, we ordered the parties to file supplemental letter briefs pursuant to Government Code section 68081, addressing whether, assuming Assembly Bill No. 1950 applies retroactively, defendant's convictions for violation of Vehicle Code section 23153, subdivisions (a) and (b), qualify for a reduction in the probationary period under section 1203.1, subdivision (a), given that subdivision (m) of section 1203.1, which was added by Assembly Bill No. 1950, excludes "an offense that includes specific probation lengths within its provisions." (See Veh. Code, § 23600, subd. (b)(1) ["If any person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 and is granted probation, the terms and conditions of probation shall include ... [¶] ... a period of probation not less than three nor more than five years ...."].)

Defendant concedes that "in felony cases, Vehicle Code section 23600, subdivision (b) mandates a period of probation of ‘not less than three’ years." However, he claims that the exclusion under section 1203.1, subdivision (m)(1), applies only to those offenses that are both a violent felony under section 667.5, subdivision (c), and include a "specific probation length[ ] within its provisions." ( § 1203.1, subd. (m)(1).) The People disagree with defendant's interpretation of the statute and contend that because his convictions for violating Vehicle Code section 23153 subject him to a specific statutory probation period under Vehicle Code section 23600, he is excluded by section 1203.1, subdivision (m)(1), from eligibility for the two-year maximum probationary period under subdivision (a).

We reject defendant's claim that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion to reduce his felony convictions to misdemeanors. We also reject his claim that he is entitled to a reduction in his probationary period.

66 Cal.App.5th 892

As discussed below,

281 Cal.Rptr.3d 472

we agree with defendant that under Estrada , Assembly Bill No. 1950 applies retroactively to cases not yet final on review, but we reject his interpretation of section 1203.1, subdivision (m)(1), and conclude that his convictions for violating Vehicle Code section 23153 preclude him from relief under subdivision (a) of section 1203.1. Therefore, we affirm the judgment.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY**

DISCUSSION

I. Denial of Motion to Reduce Felony Convictions to Misdemeanors***

II. Assembly Bill No. 1950

A. Background

As amended by Assembly Bill No. 1950, subdivision (a) of section 1203.1 provides, "The court, or judge thereof, in the order granting probation, may suspend the imposing or the execution of the sentence and may direct that the suspension may continue for a period of time not exceeding two years , and upon those terms and conditions as it shall determine. The court, or judge thereof, in the order granting probation and as a condition thereof, may imprison the defendant in a county jail for a period not exceeding the maximum time fixed by law in the case...." (Italics added.) However, Assembly Bill No. 1950 also added subdivision (m) to section 1203.1, which provides:

"The two-year probation limit in subdivision (a) shall not apply to:

"(1) An offense listed in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 and an offense that includes specific probation lengths within its provisions. For these offenses, the court, or judge thereof, in the order granting probation, may suspend the imposing or the execution of the sentence and may direct that the suspension may continue for a period of time not exceeding the maximum possible term of the sentence and under conditions as it shall determine. All other provisions of subdivision (a) shall apply.
66 Cal.App.5th 893
"(2) A felony conviction for paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 487, Section 503, and Section 532a, if the total value of the property taken exceeds $25,000. For these offenses, the court, or judge thereof, in the order granting probation, may suspend the imposing or the execution of the sentence and may direct that the suspension may continue for a period of time not exceeding three years, and upon those terms and conditions as it shall determine. All other provisions of subdivision (a) shall apply." (Assem. Bill No. 1950, Stats. 2020, ch. 328, § 2, pp. 4–5, italics added.)

Assembly Bill No. 1950 also amended section 1203a to provide that probation in misdemeanor cases may not exceed a period of one year ( § 1203a, subd. (a) ), except for "any offense that includes specific probation lengths within its provisions" (id. , subd. (b)). (Assem. Bill No. 1950, ch. 328, § 1, p. 1.)

The parties disagree on the following two issues: one, whether Assembly Bill No. 1950 applies retroactively to cases not yet final on appeal under the Estrada presumption and, two, whether, by virtue of the specific probationary period set forth in Vehicle Code section 23600, subdivision (b)(1) and the limitation in section 1203.1, subdivision (m)(1), defendant is excluded from relief under section 1203.1, subdivision (a). For the reasons set forth below, we conclude Assembly Bill No. 1950 applies retroactively, but defendant is not eligible for relief because his convictions

281 Cal.Rptr.3d 473

fall within the exception set forth in subdivision (m)(1).

B. Legal Principles

"We review de novo questions of statutory construction. [Citation.] In doing so, ‘ "our fundamental task is ‘to ascertain the intent of the lawmakers so as to effectuate the purpose of the statute.’ " ’ [Citation.] We begin with the text, ‘giv[ing] the words their usual and ordinary meaning [citation], while construing them in light of the statute as a whole and the statute's purpose [citation].’ [Citation.] ‘If no ambiguity appears in the statutory language, we presume that the Legislature meant what it said, and the plain meaning of the statute controls.’ " ( People v. Blackburn (2015) 61 Cal.4th 1113, 1123, 191 Cal.Rptr.3d 458, 354 P.3d 268.) " ‘Only when the statute's language is ambiguous or susceptible of more than one reasonable interpretation, may the court turn to extrinsic aids to assist in interpretation.’ " ( In re C.H. (2011) 53 Cal.4th 94, 100, 133 Cal.Rptr.3d 573, 264 P.3d 357 ( C.H. ).)

"Generally, statutes are presumed to apply only prospectively." ( People v. Frahs (2020) 9 Cal.5th 618, 627, 264 Cal.Rptr.3d 292, 466 P.3d 844 ( Frahs ), citing People v. Superior Court (Lara ) (2018) 4 Cal.5th 299, 307, 228 Cal.Rptr.3d 394, 410 P.3d 22 ( Lara ); § 3.) "However, this presumption

66 Cal.App.5th 894

is a canon of statutory interpretation rather than a constitutional mandate. [Citation.] Accordingly, ‘the Legislature can ordinarily enact laws that apply retroactively, either explicitly or by implication.’ [Citation.] Courts look to the Legislature's intent in order to determine if a law is meant to apply retroactively." ( Frahs, supra , at p. 627, 264 Cal.Rptr.3d 292, 466 P.3d 844,...

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20 practice notes
  • People v. Flores, F081903
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 12, 2022
    ...Bill 1950 is ameliorative and, therefore, applies retroactively in all cases not yet final on appeal. ( People v. Schulz (2021) 66 Cal.App.5th 887, 895, 281 Cal.Rptr.3d 469 ( Schulz ); accord, People v. Butler (2022) 75 Cal.App.5th 216, 220–221, 291 Cal.Rptr.3d 1 ( Butler ); 292 Cal.Rptr.3d......
  • Kuhnel v. Superior Court, A163307
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 28, 2022
    ...609, 627, 285 Cal.Rptr.3d 548 ; People v. Czirban (2021) 67 Cal.App.5th 1073, 1095, 282 Cal.Rptr.3d 817 ; People v. Schulz (2021) 66 Cal.App.5th 887, 894–895, 281 Cal.Rptr.3d 469 ; People v. Lord (2021) 64 Cal.App.5th 241, 245–246, 278 Cal.Rptr.3d 642 ; People v. Stewart (2021) 62 Cal.App.5......
  • Winns v. Postmates Inc., A155717
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 20, 2021
    ...depart from this mandate.5 66 Cal.App.5th 816 DISPOSITION The trial court's order denying Postmates’ petition to compel arbitration of 281 Cal.Rptr.3d 469 Plaintiffs Winns, Hickey, and Logan's PAGA civil penalty claim is affirmed. Plaintiffs shall recover their costs on appeal.WE CONCUR: Fu......
  • People v. Shelly, C094048
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 14, 2022
    ...see also, e.g., People v. Scarano (2022) 74 Cal.App.5th 993, review granted June 1, 2022, S273830 (Scarano); People v. Schulz (2021) 66 Cal.App.5th 887; People v. Lord (2021) 64 Cal.App.5th 241; People v. Sims (2021) 59 Cal.App.5th 943 (Sims); People v. Quinn (2021) 59 Cal.App.5th 874 (Quin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
20 cases
  • People v. Flores, F081903
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 12, 2022
    ...Bill 1950 is ameliorative and, therefore, applies retroactively in all cases not yet final on appeal. ( People v. Schulz (2021) 66 Cal.App.5th 887, 895, 281 Cal.Rptr.3d 469 ( Schulz ); accord, People v. Butler (2022) 75 Cal.App.5th 216, 220–221, 291 Cal.Rptr.3d 1 ( Butler ); 292 Cal.Rptr.3d......
  • Kuhnel v. Superior Court, A163307
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 28, 2022
    ...609, 627, 285 Cal.Rptr.3d 548 ; People v. Czirban (2021) 67 Cal.App.5th 1073, 1095, 282 Cal.Rptr.3d 817 ; People v. Schulz (2021) 66 Cal.App.5th 887, 894–895, 281 Cal.Rptr.3d 469 ; People v. Lord (2021) 64 Cal.App.5th 241, 245–246, 278 Cal.Rptr.3d 642 ; People v. Stewart (2021) 62 Cal.App.5......
  • Winns v. Postmates Inc., A155717
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 20, 2021
    ...depart from this mandate.5 66 Cal.App.5th 816 DISPOSITION The trial court's order denying Postmates’ petition to compel arbitration of 281 Cal.Rptr.3d 469 Plaintiffs Winns, Hickey, and Logan's PAGA civil penalty claim is affirmed. Plaintiffs shall recover their costs on appeal.WE CONCUR: Fu......
  • People v. Shelly, C094048
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 14, 2022
    ...see also, e.g., People v. Scarano (2022) 74 Cal.App.5th 993, review granted June 1, 2022, S273830 (Scarano); People v. Schulz (2021) 66 Cal.App.5th 887; People v. Lord (2021) 64 Cal.App.5th 241; People v. Sims (2021) 59 Cal.App.5th 943 (Sims); People v. Quinn (2021) 59 Cal.App.5th 874 (Quin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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