Supreme Court Grants Review In Three Criminal Cases
07/15/2021-- In People v. Gray, the court agreed to review the published opinion of the Second District, Division Two, Court of Appeal, which held that a hearsay statement that is not admissible at a criminal trial because of the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause is admissible at a probation violation hearing. The appellate court said it was choosing sides in an existing split of authority, siding with the Third District’s decision in People v. Stanphill (2009) 170 Cal.App.4th 61 rather than the more recent People v. Liggins (2020) 53 Cal.App.5th 55 from the First District, Division Four. The Supreme Court denied review in Stanphill, with Justices Joyce Kennard and Ming Chin recording dissenting votes. The court denied a depublication request in Liggins (there was no petition for review) but Justice Carol Corrigan recorded a dissenting vote.
The court granted review in People v. Arnold, another case involving when new sentence-reduction legislation can apply retroactively. The unpublished opinion of the Second District, Division One, held the defendant couldn’t take advantage of 2018’s Senate Bill 1393, which gave superior courts discretion to strike sentence enhancements for previous serious felony convictions, because his judgment was already final when SB 1393 was enacted and it didn’t matter that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had recommended recall of his sentence based on the change in the law. The Supreme Court addressed the retroactivity of different legislation just last month in People v. Esquivel, and last year it reviewed the retroactivity of SB 1393 specifically in People v. Stamps.
The court also granted review in People v. Braden, and it limited the issue under consideration to: “What is the latest point at which a defendant’s request for mental health diversion is timely under Penal Code section 1001.36?” The partially published opinion of the Fourth District, Division Two, disagreed with the Third District’s recent decision in People v. Curry (2021) 62 Cal.App.5th 314 and held the defendant “was ineligible for that section’s ‘pretrial diversion’ because he did not request diversion before trial began.” Last year, in People v. Frahs, the Supreme Court held the 2018 legislation providing for the diversion applies retroactively to cases in which the judgment is not yet final. The appellate court said that Frahs “did not address” the statutory construction issue that is dispositive in Braden. The Supreme Court yesterday made Curry a grant-and-hold for Braden.
The court granted a pro per petition for review in In re Gadlin and transferred the matter back to the Second District, Division Five, which had summarily denied the defendant’s habeas corpus petition on the ground he had “fail[ed] to demonstrate he exhausted his administrative remedies.” The appellate court is to issue an alternative writ on the issue whether the defendant should now have a nonviolent offender parole hearing. The Supreme Court’s order cites to the court’s December decision regarding the same defendant (In re Gadlin (2020) 10 Cal.5th 915) that struck down regulations excluding from parole eligibility all inmates who have past or current convictions requiring sex offender registration.
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