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Name: People v. Sanchez
Case #: A153473
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/21/2019

Superior court did not err when it denied prosecution’s motion to reinstate dismissed complaint because the magistrate’s dismissal based on prosecutorial vindictiveness was not grounded on one of the statutes enumerated in Penal Code section 871.5. Sanchez was charged with robbery of a transit passenger but the prosecution moved to dismiss the case when the victim could not be located. Before sentencing in a subsequent case where the jury hung on a robbery count, the prosecution re-filed the previously dismissed robbery case. Prior to the preliminary hearing, Sanchez moved to dismiss the re-filed complaint for vindictive prosecution in violation of due process. The magistrate granted the motion. The prosecution’s motion to reinstate the complaint under section 871.5 was denied. The prosecution appealed. Held: Affirmed. When a magistrate dismisses an action pursuant to certain enumerated statutes, section 871.5 allows the prosecution to move to have the complaint reinstated within 15 days of the dismissal. Section 871.5 only allows the prosecution to seek review of a magistrate’s dismissal in the superior court when the complaint was dismissed pursuant to the specifically enumerated statutes. Here, the magistrate dismissed the complaint on constitutional grounds and the dismissal was not pursuant to one of the statutes listed in section 871.5. The Court of Appeal disagreed with the People’s argument that magistrate dismissals on constitutional grounds should be construed as statutory dismissals under Penal Code section 1385. Additionally, based on the record in this case, the magistrate’s dismissal was not pursuant to section 1385. [Editor’s Note: The Court of Appeal noted that the issue of appellate review of the magistrate’s dismissal on grounds not listed in section 871.5 was not properly before the court and it did not render an opinion on the issue. In a footnote, the court did note that a magistrate’s ruling can be challenged by a petition for an extraordinary writ in appropriate cases.]

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