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Name: Chavez v. Superior Court (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 165
Case #: B332361
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/25/2024

The trial court had inherent authority to reserve ruling on defendant’s pretrial motion to dismiss his gang enhancement allegations based on Assembly Bill No. 333 and to resubmit the allegations to the grand jury for the presentation of additional evidence bearing on the new elements. In 2017, Chavez and others were indicted by a grand jury on four felonies with gang enhancements. After AB 333 went into effect, Chavez moved to dismiss the gang enhancement allegations because the People had not presented evidence to the grand jury to support the new elements of the enhancement. The trial court ruled that it would give the People the opportunity to present additional evidence relevant to the newly added elements and denied the motion to dismiss on this basis. Chavez filed a petition for a writ of mandate in the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling. Held: Petition denied. After analyzing the grand jury procedures, the procedures available for defendants to challenge charges, and the inherit and interstitial authority courts have to fashion procedures and remedies, the Court of Appeal held “that a trial court, in the exercise of its inherent authority, has the power to reserve ruling on a defendant’s motion to dismiss an indictment and to resubmit a crime or enhancement to the grand jury to permit the People to present evidence relevant to new elements of the crime or enhancement added by our Legislature after the initial grand jury proceeding.” Then the trial court must rule on the motion to dismiss by reviewing the sufficiency of that new evidence. Disagreeing with Chavez, the court concluded that Penal Code section 995a (which only authorizes sending a case back for a further preliminary hearing and not for further grand jury proceedings) does not preclude this procedure.