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Name: People v. Moniz
Case #: C048738
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/06/2006

The defendant was not eligible for Proposition 36 probation where his conviction for concealment of evidence was a misdemeanor not related to the use of drugs. After the trial court denied his request for probation, the defendant argued on appeal that the court erred in ruling that his conviction for concealment of evidence (i.e., drugs) was a misdemeanor not related to the use of drugs within the meaning of section 1210, subdivision (d), making defendant ineligible for Proposition 36 treatment. The defendant argued that his situation differed from that of the defendant in People v. Canty (2004) 32 Cal.4th 1266, since a conviction for concealing drugs differs significantly from the offense of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He noted that the concealing of drugs does not involve impairment but is based on a defendant’s possession of drugs. The court rejected this argument because a defendant can possess drugs without violating section 135. Second, the defendant argued that while concealing drugs may require one step beyond mere possession, both offenses focus on the possession by the defendant and do not involve any type of commercial transaction or interaction with the public. The court likewise rejected this argument, noting that section 135 is not directed at drugs, but instead proscribes the destruction or concealment of any evidence, which may happen to be drugs. Finally, the defendant argued that, like mere possession of a drug and unlike driving under the influence, “there is no inherent risk to the public by the concealment of drugs from a law enforcement officer.” The court rejected this argument as well, noting that the interest protected under section 135 differs from the interests protected by proscribing possession of drugs.