Raven v. Deukmejian

Decision Date24 December 1990
Docket NumberNo. S016137,S016137
Citation801 P.2d 1077,276 Cal.Rptr. 326,52 Cal.3d 336
CourtCalifornia Supreme Court
Parties, 801 P.2d 1077, 59 USLW 2447 Robert D. RAVEN, et al., Petitioners, v. George DEUKMEJIAN, as Governor, etc., et al., Respondents.

Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe, Stephen V. Bomse, David B. Goodwin, Melanie C. Gold, Katherine M. Basile and David C. Brownstein, San Francisco, for petitioners.

Linda F. Robertson, Burlingame, Henry J. Hall, Pasadena, Albert J. Menaster, John Hamilton Scott, Los Angeles, John T. Philipsborn, San Francisco, Quin Denvir, Sacramento, Margaret C. Crosby, Alan L. Schlosser, Edward M. Chen, Matthew A. Coles, San Francisco, Paul Hoffman, Carol Sobel, Los Angeles, and Betty Wheeler, San Diego, as amici curiae on behalf of petitioners.

Victor J. Westman, County Counsel, Andrea W. Cassidy, Deputy County Counsel, John K. Van de Kamp, Atty. Gen., Richard B. Iglehart, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., John H. Sugiyama, Asst. Atty. Gen., Ronald E. Niver, Laurence K. Sullivan, Morris Beatus and Clifford K. Thompson, Jr., Deputy Attys. Gen., for respondents.

John A. Slezak, Edward R. Jagels, Dist. Atty., Kern, Jeffrey T. Even, Deputy Dist. Atty., James P. Cloninger, Arlo Smith, Dist. Atty., San Francisco, Donald E. Sanchez, Asst. Dist. Atty., Thomas W. Sneddon, Jr., Dist. Atty., Santa Barbara, Gerald McC. Franklin, Deputy Dist. Atty., Kent S. Scheidegger, Charles L. Hobson, Sacramento, Tarkington, O'Connor & O'Neill, John D. O'Connor, San Francisco, and Ross Johnson, Sacramento, as amici curiae on behalf of respondents.

LUCAS, Chief Justice.


In this proceeding, we consider challenges to the validity of an initiative measure adopted at the June 5, 1990, Primary Election. This measure, designated on the ballot as Proposition 115, is entitled by its framers as the "Crime Victims Justice Reform Act." Its stated general purpose is to adopt "comprehensive reforms ... needed in order to restore balance and fairness to our criminal justice system." To achieve that purpose, the measure adopts a variety of changes and additions to our state Constitution and statutes.

Petitioners herein are taxpayers and voters asserting a challenge to the manner in which Proposition 115 was presented to the voters, and objecting to any further expenditure of funds to enforce or implement the measure. Specifically, petitioners (and several amici curiae supporting them) claim the measure violates both (1) the "single subject" rule embodied in our state Constitution (art. II, § 8, subd. (d)), and (2) the rule requiring constitutional "revisions" to be accomplished by more formal procedures than are contemplated for mere constitutional "amendments" (art. XVIII).

Respondents are certain public officials and courts charged with the responsibility of implementing, enforcing or applying the new measure. They too are supported by various amici curiae.

Although the present petition sought issuance of an original writ of mandate or prohibition from the Court of Appeal, we granted respondent Attorney General's motion to transfer the cause to this court. (See rule 20, Cal.Rules of Court.) As we observed in a similar case, "It is uniformly agreed that the issues are of great public importance and should be resolved promptly. Accordingly, under well settled principles, it is appropriate that we exercise our original jurisdiction. [Citations.]" (Brosnahan v. Brown (1982) 32 Cal.3d 236, 241, 186 Cal.Rptr. 30, 651 P.2d 274 [hereafter Brosnahan ], reviewing similar constitutional challenges to Prop. 8, "The Victims' Bill of Rights" initiative; see also Amador Valley Joint Union High Sch. Dist. v. State Bd. of Equalization (1978) 22 Cal.3d 208, 219, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281 [hereafter Amador ], upholding Prop. 13, a property tax initiative.)

As in Brosnahan, the challenges presented here are directed to the manner in which the initiative measure was presented to the voters. We have no occasion at this time to consider other possible attacks that may be directed at the various substantive and procedural changes accomplished by the measure. Similarly, except as necessary to resolve the basic questions before us, we do not consider in this case possible interpretive or analytical problems arising from the measure, including the retroactive application of all or part of its provisions. (Cf. People v. Smith (1983) 34 Cal.3d 251, 262-263, 193 Cal.Rptr. 692, 667 P.2d 149 [adopting prospective application for Prop. 8].)

Brosnahan succinctly set forth the general principles that must guide the courts in evaluating the validity of initiative measures: "Preliminarily, we stress that 'it is a fundamental precept of our law that, although the legislative power under our constitutional framework is firmly vested in the Legislature, "the people reserve to themselves the powers of initiative and referendum." (Cal. Const., art. IV, § 1.) It follows from this that " '[the] power of initiative must be liberally construed ... to promote the democratic process.' " [Citations.]' (Amador, [supra, 22 Cal.3d] at pp. 219-220 [149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281], italics added [by Brosnahan ].) Indeed, as we ... acknowledged in Amador, it is our solemn duty jealously to guard the sovereign people's initiative power, 'it being one of the most precious rights of our democratic process.' (Id. at p. 248 [149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281].) Consistent with prior precedent, we are required to resolve any reasonable doubts in favor of the exercise of this precious right. (Ibid. [italics in original].)" (Brosnahan, supra, 32 Cal.3d at p. 241, 186 Cal.Rptr. 30, 651 P.2d 274; see also Associated Home Builders etc., Inc. v. City of Livermore (1976) 18 Cal.3d 582, 591, 135 Cal.Rptr. 41, 557 P.2d 473.)

As will appear, we have concluded that one provision of Proposition 115 (namely, section 3, which would amend section 24 of article I of the state Constitution) contemplates such a far-reaching change in our governmental framework as to amount to a qualitative constitutional revision, an undertaking beyond the reach of the initiative process. (See Amador, supra, 22 Cal.3d at p. 223, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281.) Although we must invalidate that provision, the remaining sections of Proposition 115 are severable and properly may be given effect.

Before reaching the contested issues, we briefly outline the basic provisions of the new measure. As in Brosnahan and Amador, we caution that our summary description and interpretation of the measure by no means preclude subsequent litigation regarding the meaning or legality of its provisions, apart from the specific issues considered herein. (See Brosnahan, supra, 32 Cal.3d at p. 242, 186 Cal.Rptr. 30, 651 P.2d 274; Amador, supra, 22 Cal.3d at p. 220, 149 Cal.Rptr. 239, 583 P.2d 1281.)

A. Preamble

As previously explained, the measure is entitled the "Crime Victims Justice Reform Act." The preamble recites that the people of the state "hereby find that the rights of crime victims are too often ignored by our courts and by our State Legislature, that the death penalty is a deterrent to murder, and that comprehensive reforms are needed in order to restore balance and fairness to our criminal justice system."

The preamble continues by stating that in order to accomplish these goals, "we the people further find that it is necessary to reform the law as developed in numerous California Supreme Court decisions and as set forth in the statutes of this state. These decisions and statutes have unnecessarily expanded the rights of accused criminals far beyond that which is required by the United States Constitution, thereby unnecessarily adding to the costs of criminal cases, and diverting the judicial process from its function as a quest for truth."

Finally, the preamble observes that the goals of the measure are "to restore balance to our criminal law system, to create a system in which justice is swift and fair, ... in which violent criminals receive just punishment, in which crime victims and witnesses are treated with care and respect, and in which society as a whole can be free from the fear of crime in our homes, neighborhoods, and schools."

The measure adopts a variety of changes and additions to our state Constitution and statutes. We summarize the primary changes and additions below.

B. Postindictment Preliminary Hearings

The measure adds section 14.1 to article I of the state Constitution, to provide that "If a felony is prosecuted by indictment, there shall be no postindictment preliminary hearing."

C. Independent Construction of State Constitutional Criminal Rights

The measure amends section 24 of article I of the state Constitution, to provide that certain enumerated criminal law rights shall be construed consistently with the United States Constitution, and shall not be construed to afford greater rights to criminal or juvenile defendants than afforded by the federal Constitution. We discuss this amendment in greater detail in connection with our analysis of the "revision" issue (pt. III.B., below).

D. People Entitled to Due Process and Speedy, Public Trial

The measure adds section 29 to article I of the state Constitution, to provide that "In a criminal case, the people of the State of California have the right to due process of law and to a speedy and public trial."

E. Joinder and Severance of Cases

Section 30, subdivision (a), is added to article I, declaring that the state Constitution will not be construed to bar joinder of criminal cases as may be provided by law. In addition, the measure adds section 954.1 to the Penal Code, stating that jointly charged offenses need not be cross-admissible to join them for trial. Finally, section 1050.1 is added to the Penal Code to provide that (1) a continuance granted to one or more jointly charged codefendants shall constitute good cause for a continuance as to the...

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