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Name: People v. Morales
Case #: H039915
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/26/2014

Even though appellant was not convicted of a felony, the Court of Appeal had jurisdiction because the action was a felony case under California Rules of Court, rule 8.304(a)(2). By complaint, appellant was charged with felony possession of methamphetamine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11377, subd. (a)). After the preliminary hearing, the court held appellant to answer on the felony charge and, per the parties’ stipulation, the case was certified to the superior court on the existing complaint. Appellant ultimately pled to a reduced charge of misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine and was granted probation. After appellate counsel filed a Wende brief, the Court of Appeal requested briefing on the issue of which court had appellate jurisdiction of the case. Held: Jurisdiction lies with the Court of Appeal. Under Penal Code section 1235, the Court of Appeal has jurisdiction over appealable orders from felony cases. A felony case is any criminal action in which a felony is charged, regardless of the outcome. (Pen. Code, § 691; Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.304(a).) Here, appellant was charged with a felony as defined by rule 8.304(a)(2) because the complaint accusing her of a felony was certified to the superior court under Penal Code section 859a. Although appellant was ultimately convicted of a lesser offense, her case was still a felony case for purposes of appellate jurisdiction. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.304(a)(2)(B).) People v. Scott (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 525 is distinguishable because here the prosecution never moved to dismiss the felony charge for insufficient evidence and never filed an amended complaint charging appellant with only misdemeanors. The court also distinguished People v. Nickerson (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 33 because in that case all the felony charges were reduced to misdemeanors after a preliminary hearing.