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Name: People v. Ortiz
Case #: H042062
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/08/2016
Subsequent History: Review granted 3/16/2016: S232344

A person convicted of violating Vehicle Code section 10851 who took a vehicle worth $950 or less with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession is eligible for resentencing under Proposition 47. Ortiz pleaded guilty in 2013 to felony vehicle theft after police caught him driving a stolen 1990 Honda Civic. The car’s owner had purchased it for $1,000 at some point before Ortiz stole it and sold the car for $300 after it was recovered from Ortiz with damage to the fender, hood, and radiator. After Proposition 47 passed, Ortiz filed a petition to reduce his vehicle theft conviction to a misdemeanor. The trial court denied the petition, reasoning that Proposition 47 did not apply to vehicle theft convictions. Ortiz appealed. Held: Affirmed. Penal Code section 490.2 was added by Proposition 47 and provides that any theft of property where the value of the property does not exceed $950 is a misdemeanor. Section 10851 punishes any person who drives or takes a vehicle without the intent of the owner with intent either to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner of his possession, whether with or without the intent to steal the vehicle. The plain language of section 490.2 unambiguously applies to felony convictions for violations of section 10851 where a vehicle worth $950 or less is taken with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession. The Court of Appeal disagreed with People v. Page (2015) 241 Cal.App.4th 714, review granted 1/27/2016 (S230793/E062760) and People v. Haywood (2015) 243 Cal.App.4th 515, which reached the opposite conclusion, and agreed with the reasoning of People v. Gomez (2015) 243 Cal.App.4th 319, rehearing granted 1/11/2016. However, Ortiz did not establish his eligibility for relief because he did not show that the value of the vehicle was $950 or less at the time it was taken. Because the trial court did not afford Ortiz an evidentiary hearing on the issue, the Court of Appeal affirmed the denial of his petition without prejudice.

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