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Name: People v. Johns
Case #: E072412
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/08/2020

Trial court erred in finding SB 1437 unconstitutional (the court addressed Proposition 7, Proposition 115, separation of powers principles, and Marsy’s Law). Johns was convicted of murder based on his aiding and abetting a 1981 robbery. In 2018, Johns petitioned for relief under Penal Code section 1170.95. Even though the trial court found Johns had stated a prima facie case for relief, the court granted the prosecution’s motion to strike the petition on the ground SB 1437 was unconstitutional as an unauthorized amendment of both Propositions 7 and 115. Held: Reversed. The Court of Appeal concluded: (1) SB 1437 did not amend Proposition 7; (2) SB 1437 did not amend Proposition 115; (3) Section 1170.95 does not violate separation of powers principles; and (4) Section 1170.95 does not violate Marsy’s Law. The court relied heavily on People v. Superior Court (Gooden) (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 270 and People v. Lamoureux (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 241, stating “we conclude their analysis is unimpeachable and join and adopt it.” [Editor’s Notes: The San Bernardino District Attorney represented the People’s interests in this appeal. The Attorney General filed an amicus curiae brief defending the constitutionality of SB 1437.]