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Name: People v. Prado
Case #: G058172
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/26/2020

Trial court erred in finding SB 1437 unconstitutional (the court addressed Propositions 7 and 115). In 1999, Prado was found guilty of first degree murder by a jury, with a true finding on the allegation he was vicariously armed. In 2019, he filed a Penal Code section 1170.95 petition for resentencing. The trial court filed an order denying the petition, stating SB 1437 is unconstitutional. Prado appealed. Held: Reversed and remanded. A statute is either a legislative statute, a referendum statute, or an initiative statute, depending on how it was enacted. “The Legislature may amend or repeal an initiative statute by another statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electors unless the initiative statute permits amendment or repeal without the electors’ approval.” (Cal. Const., art. II, § 10, subd. (c).) An amendment occurs when a statute is changed. A repeal occurs when an existing statute is revoked. The constitutional limitation on the authority to amend or repeal statutes prevents the Legislature from interfering with the power of the people to propose and enact legislation. The amendment or repeal of an initiative statute without the approval of the electorate is void. SB 1437 amended Penal Code section 188 and 189, and added section 1170.95. Sections 188 and 189 have been and remain legislative statutes since their enactment, despite Proposition 115 adding six “predicate” offenses to section 189. Likewise, Section 1170.95 is a newly enacted legislative statute, not an initiative statute. In sum, the Legislature did not violate the constitutional limitation on amending or repealing initiative statutes. The court also concluded SB 1437 did not impliedly amend either Proposition 7 or Proposition 115, agreeing with People v. Cruz (2020) 46 Cal.App.5th 740, People v. Solis (2020) 46 Cal.App.5th 762, People v. Superior Court (Gooden) (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 270, and People v. Lamoureux (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 241. [Editor’s Notes: The Orange County District Attorney represented the People’s interests in this appeal. The Attorney General filed an amicus curiae brief defending the constitutionality of SB 1437.]