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Name: People v. Moreno
Case #: A138758
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/21/2014

Once defendant’s felonies were reduced to misdemeanors, he was ineligible to petition for a certificate of rehabilitation. In 1971, Moreno was convicted of possessing barbiturates. In 1973 he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. He completed his felony probation in both cases. Years later, he successfully petitioned to have his felonies reduced to misdemeanors and dismissed (Pen. Code, § 1203.4). Two years later he petitioned for a certificate of rehabilitation (Pen. Code, § 4852.01), which was denied because Moreno was no longer “convicted of a felony.” He appealed. Held: Affirmed. Section 4851.01 allows any person “convicted of a felony” to petition the court for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. However, after Moreno’s motion to reduce his offenses to misdemeanors was granted, his convictions became misdemeanors for all purposes (Pen. Code, § 17, subd. (b)(3)). The reduction of Moreno’s crimes changed their status and he is no longer considered a convicted felon. As a result, he is no longer within the purview of section 4852.01.

To deny defendant a certificate of rehabilitation but allow felons to petition for one does not violate equal protection of the law. The provisions of section 4851.01 do not deny Moreno equal protection of the law because felons eligible for rehabilitation and ex-felons whose offenses have been reduced to misdemeanors and dismissed, are not similarly situation for purposes of the law. Further, the purpose of section 4852.01 is to provide an avenue for felons who have proved their rehabilitation to have civil and political rights of citizenship restored. Moreno already achieved this goal when his felonies were reduced to misdemeanors.