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Name: People v. Eandi
Case #: C078257
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/19/2015
Subsequent History: Review granted 11/18/2015: S229305

Trial court was not authorized to amend charge of failure to appear (FTA) on a pending felony charge to FTA on a pending misdemeanor charge where the underlying felony was reduced to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47. In November 2014, Eandi was charged with failing to appear in August 2014 on a felony drug possession charge. She pled guilty in exchange for dismissal of an on bail enhancement and the underlying drug charge. By the time Eandi’s drug charge was dismissed, it had been reduced to a misdemeanor by operation of Proposition 47. At sentencing, the trial court concluded it should amend the felony FTA charge (Pen. Code, § 1320, subd. (b)) to a misdemeanor FTA charge (Pen. Code, § 1320, subd. (a)). The prosecution appealed. Held: Reversed and remanded. Section 1320 was not one of the offenses included in the text of Proposition 47, so the felony FTA offense was not directly affected by the initiative. Here, the Court of Appeal concluded that Proposition 47 does not have “a collateral retroactive effect such that the pending felony drug possession charge at the time of the” FTA “in August 2014 became a misdemeanor as a matter of law retroactively, thereby negating a necessary statutory element of failure to appear on a felony charge . . . .” FTA is a crime of deceit and it is the breach of a promise to appear that is the basis for the offense. The disposition of the underlying offense is immaterial. At the time of Eandi’s FTA in August 2014, there was a felony drug charge pending against her for which she failed to appear. Proposition 47 “did not purport to exercise a power to go back in time and alter the felony status of every affected offense in every context.” On remand, the trial court may exercise its discretion to reduce the felony FTA violation to a misdemeanor under Penal Code section 17.