People v. Zeigler

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtPREMO
Citation149 Cal.Rptr.3d 786,211 Cal.App.4th 638
PartiesThe PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Mitchell Lewis ZEIGLER, Defendant and Respondent.
Decision Date30 November 2012

211 Cal.App.4th 638
149 Cal.Rptr.3d 786

2012 Daily Journal D.A.R. 16,066

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
Mitchell Lewis ZEIGLER, Defendant and Respondent.

Court of Appeal,
Sixth District, California.

H036573
Filed November 30, 2012






Recognized as Unconstitutional


Cal.
Penal Code § 1210.1.

Santa Clara County Superior Court No.: 211158, The Honorable Socrates Peter Manoukian. (Santa Clara County Super. Ct. No. 211158)

Jasmine Chandulal Patel under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Respondent.

Jeffrey F. Rosen, District Attorney, David Angel, Special Assistant District Attorney, Laura Conniff, Bar Certified Law Clerk, Janine Wetzel, Bar Certified Law Clerk, Judith B. Sklar, Deputy District Attorney, for Plaintiff and Appellant.

WALSH, J.*

[211 Cal.App.4th 645]Mitchell Lewis Zeigler, defendant and respondent, petitioned for a certificate of rehabilitation regarding two prior drug convictions in 1989 and 2000. The People opposed the petition on the basis that it was barred by defendant's new, non-violent drug offense in 2007 for which he was granted probation under Proposition 36 (the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000).

Defendant argued that, because his 2007 conviction was set aside and the charges were dismissed after he successfully completed a Proposition 36 drug treatment program, the offense could not be considered in evaluating his petition for a certificate of rehabilitation. As defendant pointed out, the law provides that records “pertaining to an arrest or conviction resulting in successful completion of a drug treatment program under [Proposition 36] may not, ..., be used in any way that could result in the denial of any ... certificate.” (Pen.Code, § 1210.1, subd. (d)(3).) 1

The People countered that, though it may not be allowed to put on evidence of defendant's arrest and conviction, it should have been allowed to put on evidence regarding the underlying conduct that led to the Proposition 36 case. The trial court disagreed and granted the petition for a certificate of rehabilitation, finding that the statute prevented the court from considering evidence of the underlying conduct because it provides that, after successful completion, “the defendant shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted.” The People appeal.

Construing the statutory schemes governing Proposition 36 dismissals (Pen.Code, §§ 1201, 1210.1, & 3063.1) and petitions for certificates of rehabilitation [211 Cal.App.4th 646]§ 4852.01 et seq.), we conclude that, when ruling on defendant's petition for a certificate of rehabilitation, the trial court had the discretion to receive evidence regarding the conduct that resulted in defendant's arrest and conviction for a nonviolent drug possession offense. In our view, the court was mistaken regarding the extent of its discretion in this regard and therefore abused its discretion when it granted the certificate of rehabilitation. Consequently, we will reverse the order granting the certificate of rehabilitation and remand the matter to the trial court for further proceedings on defendant's petition.

[149 Cal.Rptr.3d 791]

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
I. Prior Offenses

In December 1989, defendant was convicted of two felony counts of transportation or sale of narcotics (Health & Saf.Code, § 11352) in Santa Clara County Superior Court case No. 130890. Initially, execution of defendant's sentence was suspended and he was granted probation. After violating his probation in September 1992, defendant was committed to state prison. He was last released from prison in June 1999, “[a]fter numerous releases then violations.”

In February 2000, defendant was convicted of one count of possession of a controlled substance (Health & Saf.Code, § 11350) in Santa Clara County Superior Court case No. C9948400. Execution of his sentence was suspended and defendant was granted probation on the condition that he serve time in jail. (The precise amount of time defendant served in jail is not clear from the record.) He was released from custody on April 19, 2000, and his petition stated that his “probation terminated upon his release.”

II. Petition for Certificate of Rehabilitation

On June 1, 2007, defendant petitioned the court for a certificate of rehabilitation regarding his convictions in 1989 and 2000. The court conducted three hearings on the petition in 2007. After the initial hearing on July 30, 2007, the hearing was continued to September 17, 2007, and then to October 22, 2007. The record does not indicate the reasons for the continuances or whether the court requested that the district attorney or law enforcement conduct any investigation relative to the petition in 2007. At the October 22, 2007 hearing, defense counsel withdrew the petition because defendant had been arrested and charged with a new, nonviolent drug possession offense.

[211 Cal.App.4th 647]III. 2007 Nonviolent Drug Possession Offense

The record does not contain any information regarding the nature of or the factual circumstances relating to defendant's 2007 nonviolent drug possession offense.

In October 2007, defendant was found eligible for Proposition 36 probation for his nonviolent drug possession offense. Defendant successfully completed his Proposition 36 treatment program on June 23, 2009. As a result, his Proposition 36 “probation was terminated, his plea was withdrawn, the judgment was set aside, and [his] motion to dismiss that case was granted.”

IV. Defendant's Motion to Renew Petition for Certificate of Rehabilitation

On November 23, 2010, defendant filed a motion to renew his petition for a certificate of rehabilitation regarding his 1989 and 2000 convictions. In his motion, defendant asserted that, based on the nature of those offenses, he was subject to a seven-year period of rehabilitation before a petition for certificate of rehabilitation could be granted. He argued that his seven-year period of rehabilitation began to run when he was released from custody in April 2000 and that he was therefore eligible to petition the court in April 2007. After stating that a new offense ordinarily requires the court to restart the period of rehabilitation, defendant argued that the 2007 nonviolent drug possession offense could not be considered in calculating his period of rehabilitation because he had been “released from all penalties and disabilities” related to that conviction after he successfully completed his Proposition 36

[149 Cal.Rptr.3d 792]

probation and his conviction for the 2007 drug offense was set aside.

Defendant observed that there were no published cases “dealing with the intersection” of Proposition 36 and the statutory scheme governing certificates of rehabilitation. He argued that Proposition 36 strictly limits the subsequent use and consideration of his arrest and conviction for his 2007 nonviolent drug possession offense. In particular, defendant relied on section 1210.1, subdivision (d)(3),2 which provides that, subject to certain exceptions, “after an indictment, complaint, or information is dismissed [211 Cal.App.4th 648]pursuant to [Proposition 36], the defendant may indicate in response to any question concerning his or her prior criminal record that he or she was not arrested or convicted for the offense” and that records “pertaining to an arrest or conviction resulting in successful completion of a drug treatment program under [Proposition 36] may not, ..., be used in any way that could result in the denial of any employment, benefit, license, or certificate.”

Defendant acknowledged that the statutory scheme governing Proposition 36 contains exceptions that authorize the disclosure of an arrest and conviction for a nonviolent drug possession offense, but argued that none of the exceptions allowed such evidence to be used in conjunction with a petition for a certificate of rehabilitation. Defendant asserted that, because the statute did not expressly mention certificates of rehabilitation, his 2007 nonviolent drug possession offense could not be used to deny him a certificate of rehabilitation. Defendant asked the trial court to hear his petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and to treat his Proposition 36 offense as if it had never occurred.

V. People's Opposition to Motion

The district attorney opposed defendant's motion both on procedural grounds and on the merits.

Procedurally, the district attorney stated that defendant had filed his motion only the week before and that the “investigation into his claim, therefore [had] not been completed.” 3 However, the district

[149 Cal.Rptr.3d 793]

attorney agreed that the motion could be heard to resolve the legal issue presented and that the court could thereafter determine whether further investigation and hearing was required on the petition.

Regarding the merits, the district attorney argued that defendant admitted that he was last released on probation in October 2007, so the earliest he [211 Cal.App.4th 649]could petition for a certificate of rehabilitation was October 2014. The district attorney argued that the “plain text” of the statutes governing certificates of rehabilitation required the defendant to obey all laws and that, because defendant admitted he committed a felony in 2007, he was not eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation until 2014. The district attorney asserted that while defendant may be entitled to a record clearance under Proposition 36, that does not change the fact that he broke the law by possessing drugs in 2007. The district attorney argued that there were alternative ways of proving defendant's underlying conduct and his failure to obey the law. He contended that there were no conflicts between the Proposition 36 and certificate of rehabilitation statutory schemes. Finally, the district attorney asserted that a certificate of rehabilitation is not easily earned, and that it was too early to issue the...

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2 practice notes
  • Foundation v. Cal. Reg'l Water Quality Control Bd., D060382
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 30, 2012
    ...and then selecting the best.” Surfrider points to no statutory language or other authority requiring a quantitative analysis, and we[149 Cal.Rptr.3d 786]are aware of none. The analysis contained in the Minimization Plan and the Regional Board's May 13, 2009 order extensively evaluates both ......
  • Found v. Cal. Reg'l Water Quality Control Bd.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 30, 2012
    ...and then selecting the best.” Surfrider points to no statutory language or other authority requiring a quantitative analysis, and we [149 Cal.Rptr.3d 786]are aware of none. The analysis contained in the Minimization Plan and the Regional Board's May 13, 2009 order extensively evaluates both......
2 cases
  • Foundation v. Cal. Reg'l Water Quality Control Bd., D060382
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 30, 2012
    ...and then selecting the best.” Surfrider points to no statutory language or other authority requiring a quantitative analysis, and we[149 Cal.Rptr.3d 786]are aware of none. The analysis contained in the Minimization Plan and the Regional Board's May 13, 2009 order extensively evaluates both ......
  • Found v. Cal. Reg'l Water Quality Control Bd.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 30, 2012
    ...and then selecting the best.” Surfrider points to no statutory language or other authority requiring a quantitative analysis, and we [149 Cal.Rptr.3d 786]are aware of none. The analysis contained in the Minimization Plan and the Regional Board's May 13, 2009 order extensively evaluates both......

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