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Name: People v. Orozco
Case #: S249495
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 03/26/2020

Opinion By: Justice Liu (joined by Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Chin, Corrigan, Kruger, and Groban.). Justice Cuéllar filed an opinion concurring in the judgment.
Proposition 47’s revision to Penal Code section 496, making the offense of receiving stolen property a misdemeanor when the value of the property is $950 or less, does not extend to convictions for receiving a stolen vehicle (Pen. Code, § 496d). In 2014, Orozco pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully driving a vehicle (Veh. Code, § 10851, subd. (a)) and one count of receiving a stolen vehicle (Pen. Code, § 496d, subd. (a)), and admitted several prior convictions that required Orozco to be sentenced as a felon. After his plea, voters enacted Proposition 47, and Orozco filed a motion to reduce both convictions to misdemeanors under the new law. The motion was denied. After the Supreme Court decided People v. Page (2017) 3 Cal.5th 1175, the Court of Appeal affirmed Orozco’s Vehicle Code section 10851 conviction without prejudice to filing an amended petition to show that the conviction was based on theft of a vehicle worth $950 or less, but held that Proposition 47’s revisions to section 496 did not affect the conviction under section 496d. The Supreme Court granted review. Held: Affirmed. Proposition 47 amended section 496, subdivision (a) to require receipt of any stolen property worth $950 or less to be punished as a misdemeanor. However, it did not amend section 496d, which criminalizes buying or receiving a stolen motor vehicle, and makes no reference to a value threshold. A violation of section 496d is a wobbler offense. If the electorate had intended to reclassify section 496d offenses, it could have done so in the same way that it did in amending section 496, subdivision (a), or it could have created a new misdemeanor sentencing provision governing all receipt of stolen property offenses, like it did for petty theft offenses by enacting Penal Code section 490.2. The court disagreed with Orozco’s argument that the term “any property” in section 496, subdivision (a) is just as encompassing as the term “any property” in section 490.2. Section 496, subdivision (a) refers exclusively to offenses punished under that section. [Editor’s Note: The court disapproved People v. Wehr (2019) 41 Cal.App.5th 123 and People v. Williams (2018) 23 Cal.App.5th 641 to the extent they are inconsistent with the opinion in this case.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: