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Name: People v. Fletcher (2023) 92 Cal.App.5th 1374
Case #: E077553
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/30/2023

Assembly Bill No. 333 does not require reversing serious felony and strike priors premised on violations of Penal Code section 186.22. Defendants were convicted of several crimes stemming from a gang-related shooting, including active participation in a criminal street gang. Gang allegations, as well as serious felony and strike prior allegations, were also found true as to each defendant. On appeal, defendants argued that AB 333 required the court to reverse the true findings on their serious felony and strike priors that were based on a 2015 gang-related offense (unlawful possession of a firearm committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang). Held: Reversed and remanded to provide the prosecution an opportunity to retry the instant active gang participation offense and gang enhancements pursuant to AB 333, as well as on sentencing grounds discussed in the unpublished portion of the opinion; true findings on the serious felony and prior strike convictions were not vacated. Proposition 21, the Gang Violence and Juvenile Crime Prevention Act of 1998 (Act) added felonies committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang to the list of “serious” felonies and “locked in” the definition of serious felonies as of the initiative’s effective date, including amendments made to the statutes by the Act. Proposition 36, the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012, most recently amended the definition of serious felonies and stated that its provisions “‘shall not be altered or amended except by’ either a statute passed by the Legislature with a two-thirds majority in each house . . . or a statute that becomes effective when approved by a majority of voters.” Because AB 333 did not meet either of these requirements, the Court of Appeal held that AB 333 did not alter the definition of a serious felony or strike prior. As a result, AB 333 did not require the court to vacate the true findings on defendants’ serious felony and prior strike convictions.