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Name: People v. Perez
Case #: C078169
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/31/2015
Subsequent History: Review granted 11/18/2015: S229046

Proposition 47 reduction of felony drug offense to misdemeanor does not require reduction of felony failure to appear (FTA) conviction because the severity of an FTA is not lessened by the outcome of the underlying charge. Perez was convicted of a felony drug offense, and an FTA for that offense. In 2014, his conviction was final. Following the passage of Proposition 47, Perez petitioned to have his felonies reduced to misdemeanors. He reasoned that if the drug charge is reduced to a misdemeanor “for all purposes” (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (k)), the FTA for failing to appear on that offense should also be reduced. The trial court granted the petition with respect to the drug offense, but not the FTA. Perez appealed. Held: Affirmed. When a defendant fails to appear on a felony charge, a charged FTA is a felony. If the underlying charge is a misdemeanor, so is the FTA. Penal Code section 1170.18, subdivision (k) provides that when a qualified felony is reduced to a misdemeanor, it shall be construed a misdemeanor for all purposes, except the resentenced defendant may not own or possess a firearm. The provisions of Proposition 47 do not address pendent or ancillary offenses, just the offenses listed in the statute. The criminal conduct proscribed by section 1320, subdivision (b) is complete when a defendant willfully fails to appear in order to evade the process of the court. “The severity of an FTA is not lessened by the outcome of the underlying charge, because section 1320 applies to person charged with or convicted of crimes.” The disposition of a case does not alter the severity of the defendant’s act at the time he willfully evaded the process of the court. Thus, the reduction of the underlying drug charge to a misdemeanor does not affect defendant’s felony FTA conviction.