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Name: People v. Nichols
Case #: H041979
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/03/2016
Subsequent History: Review granted 4/20/2016: S233055
Summary

Proposition 47 does not apply to convictions for buying or receiving a stolen motor vehicle (Pen. Code, § 496d). Nichols pled no contest to felony buying or receiving a stolen motor vehicle with a prior conviction for vehicle theft and admitted a prior strike. After Proposition 47 passed, Nichols filed a habeas petition that the trial court construed as a Proposition 47 petition for resentencing under section 1170.18, subdivision (a). The trial court denied the petition, reasoning that Proposition 47 does not apply to felony convictions under section 496d. Nichols appealed. Held: Affirmed. Proposition 47 lists a number of theft and drug related offenses that may be reclassified and resentenced as misdemeanors. (See Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subds. (a), (b).) Section 496d is not one of the listed offenses. Applying rules of statutory construction, the court here concluded that section 1170.18 should not be construed to apply to a felony conviction under section 496d. The Court of Appeal also rejected Nichols’ equal protection argument, determining that there are multiple rational bases for why the voters would want to punish receipt of a stolen vehicle more severely than receipt of other stolen property or theft of other property with a value under $950.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/H041979.PDF