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People v. Howell

California Court of Appeals, Fifth District

December 10, 2019

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Ronnie Earl HOWELL, Sr., Defendant and Appellant.

         [Certified for Partial Publication[*]]

         [256 Cal.Rptr.3d 397] APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Fresno County. Jonathan M. Skiles, Judge. (Super. Ct. No. F18902563)

Page 168

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 169

         COUNSEL

         Conness Thompson, Martinez, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

         Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, Kimberley A. Donohue and R. Todd Marshall, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

          OPINION

         FRANSON, J.

          INTRODUCTION

          Appellant Ronnie Earl Howell, Sr., contends the trial court order authorizing the involuntary administration of antipsychotic medication is not supported by substantial evidence and must be reversed. In an issue of first impression, Howell also contends that Senate Bill No. 1187 (2017-2018 Reg. Sess.) (Sen. Bill 1187) is retroactive and the maximum term of commitment for restoration of his competency should be reduced from three to two years.

          We conclude substantial evidence supports the order for involuntary administration of antipsychotic medication. In the published portion of this opinion, we also conclude that Sen. Bill 1187 is not retroactive.

          FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL SUMMARY

         The Fresno County District Attorney filed a complaint in case No. F18902563 (case No. 563) on April 17, 2018. The complaint charged Howell in count 1 with felony driving under the influence of alcohol (Veh. Code, § 23152, subd. (a)); in count 2 with driving with an elevated blood alcohol level (Veh. Code, § 23152, subd. (b)); and in count 3 with hit and run driving (Veh. Code, § 20002, subd. (a)). Vehicle Code section 23550.5, subdivision (a) enhancements, alleging a prior Vehicle Code section 23152, subdivision (b) conviction, were alleged as to counts 1 and 2. It also was alleged that Howell had suffered numerous prior felony convictions and had served prior prison terms.

          On July 10, 2018, the trial court appointed the public defender to represent Howell. Howell pled not guilty to the charges and denied all allegations and enhancements. The public defender declared a conflict and on July 13, 2018, the public defender was relieved as counsel and alternate counsel was appointed to represent Howell.

         Howell was the defendant in another criminal proceeding in case No. ...


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