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Name: People v. Ferrer
Case #: A124178
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 05/14/2010

Although Penal Code section 1050 requires the People to show good cause for a continuance of a hearing on a motion to suppress, dismissal of the case for failure to show good cause, either directly or because dismissal would be a reasonable outcome of the denial of the motion to continue, is not a permissible sanction. Following the preliminary hearing where appellant was held to answer on a count of cultivation of marijuana, appellant filed a motion to suppress. On the date of the hearing, which was approximately two months before the trial date, the prosecuting attorney verbally requested a continuance, stating that witnesses had inadvertently not been subpoenaed. The request was denied under Penal Code section 1050 and the court granted the suppression motion. Eventually, the prosecution dismissed the case due to insufficient evidence. Under Penal Code section 1050, a party seeking a continuance must file and serve notice of its motion at least two court days before the scheduled hearing, and when the motion is properly before the court, the court must determine whether good cause exists for granting the continuance. Utilizing rules of statutory construction to analyze section 1050, and related section 1050.5 providing for sanctions, the court determined that neither statute permits dismissal of the case as a sanction for failure to establish good cause. Rather, when the prosecution requests a continuance not supported by good cause, the request must be granted with the court relying on lesser sanctions, including fines and reports to disciplinary committees, to address the prosecution’s failure to comply with section 1050.