Petitioner did not establish good cause to file an untimely Proposition 36 petition even though he lacked legal representation and was not aware of his eligibility for relief during the two-year time period for filing a timely petition. In 1999, Drew was convicted of various theft charges, and the court found true two prior strike allegations. Drew was sentenced to 29 years to life. In separate proceedings two years later, Drew was convicted of robbery and other offenses, and sentenced to 70 years to life in prison. In 2016, Drew filed a petition to recall his sentence pursuant to Proposition 36, which required that petitions be filed by November 7, 2014 absent a showing of good cause. Drew asserted that he did not contact anyone to seek relief because he did not know he was eligible until the California Supreme Court’s ruling in People v. Johnson (2015) 61 Cal.4th 674. The court denied his petition, finding that he had not shown good cause for not timely pursuing a petition. Drew appealed, also arguing that there was good cause because he delayed during a time he lacked legal representation. Held: Affirmed. Neither Penal Code section 1170.126 nor any published authority has defined “good cause” within the meaning of that section. Analogizing to Penal Code section 1382, which contains time limitations ensuring a defendant’s right to a speedy trial and also contains a “good cause” exception, the Court of Appeal here concluded that two factors are relevant in determining good cause under section 1170.126: (1) the nature and strength of the justification of the delay and (2) the duration of the delay. The delay in Drew’s case was substantial and there was no evidence that he did anything to investigate potential relief for over three years. “[T]he reason for Drew’s inactivity is unexplained except by the absence of a lawyer proactively advising him regarding his rights and remedies.” Under these circumstances, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it found that Drew did not show good cause for his late-filed recall petition.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/D071334M.PDF