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Name: People v. Coffey
Case #: A108693
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 05/24/2005
Subsequent History: rehrng. den. 6/16/05

A defendant convicted of a felony that is reduced to a misdemeanor at sentencing is not entitled to a return of DNA samples. The defendant here pled to a felony violation of Penal Code section 245(a)(1), and was required to provide a DNA sample pursuant to Penal Code section 296 (since amended). At sentencing, defendant’s conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor pursuant to his compliance with the terms of his plea agreement, and he later moved for return or destruction of the DNA samples. After the motion was twice denied he filed a third motion, this one entitled a motion to suppress under section 1538.5, citing the Fourth Amendment. Upon appeal of the denial of the third motion, the prosecution argued that section 299 precluded an appeal from denial of a motion to expunge DNA samples. The Court of Appeal rejected that argument, noting that the appeal was from a denial of a motion to suppress evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment, not from a statutory motion to expunge data. The court went on to reject defendant’s Fourth Amendment challenge, however, noting that the context of the statute requires a court to interpret “conviction” to refer to the entry of the plea, and not to a subsequent reduction of the charges to a misdemeanor.