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Name: People v. Lopez
Case #: B300787
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/29/2020

SB 1437 did not unconstitutionally amend Proposition 7 or Proposition 115. Facing one count of murder committed for the benefit of a gang and three counts of attempted murder, Lopez pleaded no contest to one count of second degree murder. After SB 1437 passed, he filed a petition for resentencing under Penal Code section 1170.95. The trial court summarily denied the petition, finding that SB 1437 unconstitutionally amended two voter initiatives, Propositions 7 and 115. Lopez appealed. He argued, and the Attorney General agreed, that the trial court erred in finding SB 1437 unconstitutional. Held: Reversed and remanded. The Court of Appeal agreed with Lopez and the Attorney General that SB 1437 and section 1170.95 as enacted by SB 1437 did not unconstitutionally amend Proposition 7 or Proposition 115. The court cited People v. Superior Court (Gooden) (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 270, People v. Lamoureux (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 241, People v. Bucio (2020) 48 Cal.App.5th 300, People v. Johns (2020) 50 Cal.App.5th 46, People v. Prado (2020) 49 Cal.App.5th 480, People v. Solis (2020) 46 Cal.App.5th 762, and People v. Cruz (2020) 46 Cal.App.5th 740 in its analysis. [Editor’s Note: The California District Attorneys Association filed an amicus curiae brief arguing SB 1437 is unconstitutional on various grounds. Because the trial court’s ruling was based solely on its conclusion that SB 1437 impermissibly amended a ballot initiative approved by the voters, the Court of Appeal did not address these alternative constitutional arguments. The court noted, however, that these arguments have been squarely rejected in other published cases.]