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Name: People v. McClelland (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 1109
Case #: D081369
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/27/2024

Defendant’s due process rights were not violated where he was present at a “status hearing” that functioned as an evidentiary hearing under Penal Code section 1172.6(d)(3). Defendant pled guilty to second degree murder in 1994. In 2019, he filed a (now former) section 1170.95 petition and the trial court issued an order to show cause and scheduled an evidentiary hearing. After the submission of briefing, the parties appeared at a “status hearing” in September at which defendant was present. The prosecution submitted exhibits without objection from defendant or his counsel. Defendant’s counsel then consented to the court issuing a written order without further appearances, and asked the court to exercise caution when reviewing the exhibits and to take defendant’s age at the time of the offense into consideration. In November, the trial court submitted a written order denying the petition. On appeal, defendant argued his due process rights were violated because he was not personally present at his section 1172.6 evidentiary hearing, which he asserted must have occurred in November when the court issued the order denying his petition. Held: Affirmed. Despite being labeled as a “status hearing,” the September hearing in defendant’s case, in substance and effect, was an evidentiary hearing that conformed to the requirements of section 1172.6(d)(3). The trial court admitted evidence, the defense submitted on this evidence, and substantive arguments were made. Had defendant wished to present additional evidence or argument, he could have conferred with his counsel to do so. Because defendant was personally present at the September hearing, he was not denied due process.