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Name: People v. Peacock
Case #: E063095
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/03/2015
Subsequent History: Review granted 2/17/2016: S230948
Summary

Trial court erred in reducing felony receiving stolen motor vehicle offense (Pen. Code, § 496d, subd. (a)) to misdemeanor, as that crime is not covered by Proposition 47. In 2012, appellant pled no contest to receiving a stolen 1988 Honda ATV, in exchange for dismissal of a recidivist allegation (Pen. Code, § 666.5) and enhancements for three prior prison terms (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (b)). He was sentenced to 16 months. In February 2015 the trial court granted appellant’s petition to reduce the offense to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47. The prosecution appealed. Held: Reversed. Proposition 47 reclassified certain felony and wobbler drug and theft offenses as misdemeanors. It also added a statute that allows a person who has completed his felony sentence for an eligible offense to apply to have the felony conviction designated as a misdemeanor. (See Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (f)). Section 496d was not amended by Proposition 47 and is not listed in section 1170.18, which does separately list receiving stolen property (Pen. Code, § 496). Section 490.2, which is listed in section 1170.18, defines “petty theft” as obtaining by theft property, money, or labor where the value of the personal property taken does not exceed $950. However, a violation of section 496d is not subsumed in section 490.2 as a “theft-related” offense. This conclusion is clear from the fact that section 1170.18 separately lists section 496.

Appellant is not denied equal protection by the exclusion of receiving a stolen motor vehicle from the coverage of Proposition 47. The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and article I, section 7, subdivision (a) of the California Constitution both guarantee equal protection of the laws. Where an asserted disparity does not implicate a suspect classification or fundamental right, a denial of equal protection will be found only where there is no rational relationship between the disparate treatment and some legitimate governmental purpose. Here, there are several reasons that could support treating the receipt of other stolen property differently from receiving a stolen motor vehicle, such as the fact that car owners are typically dependent upon their vehicles for necessities. There is no equal protection violation.