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Name: People v. Martinez
Case #: S231826
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 03/29/2018

Defendant who was convicted of drug transportation prior to 2013 amendment to Health and Safety Code section 11379 is not eligible for reduction of the offense to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47. In 2010, Martinez was convicted of transportation of methamphetamine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11379) and possession of methamphetamine (§ 11377). After voters passed Proposition 47 in 2014, Martinez filed a petition to have his convictions reduced to misdemeanors. The trial court found Martinez ineligible for resentencing on the transportation offense, and the Court of Appeal affirmed. The California Supreme Court granted review. Held: Affirmed. Proposition 47 reduced certain drug- and theft-related offenses (including drug possession under section 11377) from felonies or “wobblers” to misdemeanors. It also established a process through which a convicted person could petition for reduction of a felony offense to a misdemeanor. Eligibility for resentencing turns on whether the person is “serving a sentence for a conviction . . . of a felony or felonies who would have been guilty of a misdemeanor under [Proposition 47] had [it] been in effect at the time of the offense . . . .” (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (a).) Although section 11379 was not amended by Proposition 47, Martinez argued that he was eligible for resentencing on the transportation offense because the electorate passed Proposition 47 against the backdrop of a 2013 amendment to section 11379 that narrowed the definition of “transport” to “transport for sale.” The possession and movement of drugs for personal use, without the intent to sell, can now be charged only as a possession offense under section 11377. (The 2013 amendment did not apply retroactively to Martinez’s case.) After analyzing Proposition 47 and section 11379, the court concluded that “because Proposition 47 did not alter the offense of unlawful drug transportation, Martinez’s conviction under former section 11379 would not have been affected even if Proposition 47 had been in effect at the time of his offense.”

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