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Name: People v. Farrell
Case #: H019633
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/31/2000
Subsequent History: Review granted 12/13/00 (S092183)

Review granted on this case. Penal Code section 1203.044, which mandates a minimum term of 90 days in the county jail as a condition of probation for a defendant convicted of felony theft in excess of $50,000, does not apply to theft of trade secrets. The language of other subdivisions of the statute itself support an interpretation that the Legislature intended the section to apply only to monetary theft. The legislative history of the statute reflects that it was intended to punish the theft of large sums of money, following high notoriety savings and loan scandals. Amendments to the legislation during its passage clarified that it applied to only “certain” thefts. The legislative history, however, is not conclusive and makes the intent of the statute ambiguous. Since the statute is susceptible of two constructions, the one more favorable to the defendant should be adopted. Therefore, since Penal Code section 1203.044 is ambiguous, it could not be applied to the theft of trade secrets, and therefore reversal of appellant’s conviction under that section was required.