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Prop. 47 Applies to Mail-Theft Convictions

People v. Chatman Docket: A151408A (First Appellate District), Opinion Date: January 31, 2022. Chatman was convicted of five counts of “identity theft,” Penal Code section 530.5(a),(c); mail theft, section 530.5(e); and second-degree commercial burglary, section 459. Applying Proposition 47, the court of appeal held that the “identity theft” crimes had to be treated as misdemeanors if the value of the personal identifying information obtained and used or possessed did not exceed $950 and that, as the Attorney General acknowledged, Chatman’s conviction for burglary had to be reduced to shoplifting under new section 459.5 (a). The California Supreme Court subsequently held that Proposition 47 does not apply to convictions for unlawfully obtaining and using personal identifying information under section 530.5(a) and that such convictions may not be reduced to misdemeanor shoplifting. On remand, the parties agreed that nothing in that holding undermined the original holding that Chatman’s burglary conviction must be reduced to misdemeanor shoplifting and that the section 530.5(a) and (c) convictions cannot be reduced to shoplifting or petty theft under Proposition 47. The parties disputed only whether the holding precluded the application of Proposition 47 to redesignate the misdemeanor mail theft conviction as a misdemeanor petty theft conviction (section 490.2). The court of appeal concluded that Proposition 47 does apply to mail-theft convictions in these circumstances and that Chatman’s mail theft conviction must be redesignated as a petty theft conviction.

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