Defendants who were serving felony sentences on Proposition 47’s effective date, but whose judgments on appeal were not yet final, are not entitled to automatic resentencing under Proposition 47. In April 2014, DeHoyos was found guilty of possessing methamphetamine, a felony. While her appeal was pending, voters passed Proposition 47, which reduced a number of nonviolent drug and theft-related felonies to misdemeanors and allows eligible defendants who were serving felony sentences as of Proposition 47’s effective date to obtain the benefit of these changes by petitioning for resentencing. (Pen. Code, § 1170.18.) On appeal, DeHoyos argued that she was entitled to a reduction of her offense without having to file a petition under section 1170.18 based on In re Estrada (1965) 63 Cal.2d 740 and its progeny. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment and the California Supreme Court granted review. Held: Affirmed. Under Estrada, an amendatory statute lessening punishment is presumed to apply in all cases not yet reduced to final judgment as of the amendatory statute’s effective date unless the enacting body clearly signals its intent to make the amendment prospective, by the inclusion of either an express saving clause or its equivalent. Proposition 47 does not contain an express savings clause but it sets forth a specific procedure for its provisions to be available to those convicted prior to its enactment. (Pen. Code, § 1170.18.) Relying on the reasoning in People v. Conley (2016) 63 Cal.4th 646, which considered a similar issue in the Proposition 36 context, the court here concluded that Proposition 47’s resentencing provision was the exclusive avenue for resentencing persons who had been sentenced before Proposition 47’s effective date. Although the resentencing provision is not intended to “diminish or abrogate any rights or remedies otherwise available” to a petitioner (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (m)), Estrada does not establish substantive rights.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S228230.PDF