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Name: People v. Garcia
Case #: H042396
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/10/2016

The recall and resentencing provisions of Proposition 47 apply to all qualified defendants with felony dispositions, including probationers. In June 2013, Garcia was sentenced based on her conviction for felony possession of methamphetamine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11377, subd. (a)). The trial court suspended imposition of sentence and placed her on probation. In March 2015, Garcia filed a Proposition 47 petition seeking reduction of her offense to a misdemeanor (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (a)). The trial court denied her petition, finding that she had not yet been sentenced within the meaning of Penal Code section 1170.18. She appealed. Held: Reversed. Pursuant to Proposition 47, a number of drug and theft offenses were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors. It also provides a procedure whereby qualified defendants may ask to have their felony offense reduced to a misdemeanor. (Pen. Code, § 1170.18.) The section applies to a qualified defendant who is “currently serving a sentence for a conviction, whether by trial or plea . . . .” (Pen. Code, § 1170.l8, subd. (a)). In passing Proposition 47, the voters intended to include probationers within the reach of section 1170.18. “Nothing in the text of the initiative, the legislative analysis, or the argument for and against it indicate an intent to distinguish between a prison sentence and felony probation.” To interpret the statute otherwise would lead to absurd consequences.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: