A private country club is a “commercial establishment” within the meaning of the new shoplifting statute (Pen. Code, § 459.5). In 2013, Holm pleaded no contest to felony second degree burglary based on his theft of a television and three boxes of golf balls from a members-only golf and country club. In November 2014 he petitioned to reduce the felony to misdemeanor shoplifting. The trial court denied the petition, finding the country club was not a commercial establishment because it was not open to the public and Holm was not a member of the club. He appealed. Held: Reversed. Prop. 47 created the new offense of shoplifting (Pen. Code, § 459.5), which is defined as entering a commercial establishment with the intent to commit larceny while that establishment is open to the public during regular business hours, where the value of the property taken or attempted to be taken does not exceed $950. Unless a person has a prior conviction enumerated in the statute, the offense is a misdemeanor. A commercial establishment is one that is primarily engaged in the buying and selling of goods or services, which includes the golf and country club. The fact that most of the goods and services are sold to a subset of the publicthe club members and their guestsdoes not alter the nature of the establishment. In addition, the club sells some of its goods and services, like rental of its banquet room, to the general public. This interpretation of the statute effectuates the purpose of Proposition 47, which is to reduce certain nonserious felonies to misdemeanors and to ameliorate the costs of felony incarceration.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A143873.PDF