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Name: People v. Johnson
Case #: F071140
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/02/2017

Trial court did not err by refusing to strike a prison prior enhancement (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (b)) even though the felony underlying it was reduced to a misdemeanor “for all purposes” under Proposition 47 after sentencing. Johnson’s 2014 sentence included a one-year prison prior enhancement based on a 2010 conviction for three counts of felony second degree commercial burglary. After Proposition 47 passed, Johnson requested that the felony conviction underlying the enhancement be reduced to a misdemeanor. Johnson’s motion to recall his sentence and strike the enhancement was denied. He appealed. Held: Affirmed. Proposition 47 provides that once an offense has been reduced to a misdemeanor under its retroactive provisions, the offense shall be treated as a misdemeanor “for all purposes.” (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (k).) However, the “for all purposes” language does not operate retroactively such that an enhancement imposed while the conviction was still a felony should be stricken. Penal Code section 17, subdivision (b) contains similar “for all purposes” language and the Supreme Court has held that it does not operate retroactively in that fashion. (See People v. Park (2013) 56 Cal.4th 782.) In both Park and People v. Flores (1979) 92 Cal.App.3d 461, enhancements were stricken because the felony convictions underlying them had been reduced prior to sentencing in the current case. Here, the felony conviction underlying Johnson’s prison prior enhancement was not reduced until after sentencing. Furthermore, prison prior enhancements punish recidivism, and the fact the felony underlying Johnson’s prison prior was reduced to a misdemeanor does not change the fact that he committed a new offense, undeterred by his previous incarceration. The trial court properly denied Johnson’s motion to strike the enhancement.

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