Santa Cruz County Superior Court No.: F27697 The Honorable Stephen S. Siegel Judge
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Jonathan Grossman, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.
Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, and Catherine A. Rivlin, Deputy Attorney General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
In this case, as in the companion case of People v. Rivera (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 1085 [___Cal.Rptr.3d___] (Rivera), we review the effect, if any, of recently enacted Proposition 47, the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, on appellate jurisdiction.
In Rivera, after the court imposed a felony sentence, the defendant petitioned to have his sentence recalled and to be resentenced as a misdemeanant pursuant to Penal Code section 1170.18, which the voters enacted as part of Proposition 47. (Further undesignated statutory references are to the Penal Code.) Rivera also asked the court to designate his conviction a
misdemeanor under section 1170.18. The trial court granted his requests. (Rivera, supra, 233 Cal.App.4th at p. 1089.) The question presented in Rivera is whether the case is a felony case or a misdemeanor case for the purpose of appellate jurisdiction. The question arises because section 1170.18, subdivision (k) provides that “[a]ny felony conviction that is recalled and resentenced... or designated as a misdemeanor under [that section] shall be considered a misdemeanor for all purposes. . . ." (Italics added.)
In Rivera, we held that nothing in Proposition 47, including the provision that the conviction “shall be considered a misdemeanor for all purposes, ” alters existing rules regarding appellate jurisdiction. If the defendant was charged with at least one felony in an information, an indictment, or in a complaint that has been certified to the superior court under section 859a, it is a felony case and appellate jurisdiction properly lies with this court, regardless of the outcome on the felony charge. (Rivera, supra, 233 Cal.App.4th at p. 1089.)
The procedural context here is different from that in Rivera. This case does not involve either resentencing or the designation of a prior felony conviction as a misdemeanor under section 1170.18. In this case, prior to the passage of Proposition 47, the prosecution charged defendant David Lee Lynall with a felony violation of Health and Safety Code section 11377 (possession of a controlled substance) in a complaint that the parties stipulated would serve as the information after defendant was held to answer. With the passage of Proposition 47 on November 4, 2014, violations of Health and Safety Code section 11377 became misdemeanors. Thereafter, as part of a plea agreement, the parties agreed that defendant’s charge would be reduced to a misdemeanor pursuant to Proposition 47. Defendant was convicted by plea and the court imposed a 24-month conditional sentence with Proposition 36 probation. Like Rivera, we must determine whether this is a felony case or a misdemeanor case for the purpose of appellate jurisdiction.
As in Rivera, we identified the appellate jurisdictional question on our own motion and asked the parties to brief the issue. Both parties agree that this case is a felony case and that this court, as opposed to the appellate division of the superior court, has jurisdiction over Lynall’s appeal. We agree with the parties. We hold that appellate jurisdiction in cases where a defendant is charged with a felony in an information, an indictment, or in a complaint that has been certified to the superior court under section 859a lies with the Court of Appeal, even if Proposition 47 subsequently reduced the charged offense to a misdemeanor.