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Name: People v. Sledge
Case #: G052780
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/25/2017
Summary

Certain felony juvenile adjudications are disqualifying priors for purposes of Proposition 47. Sledge was serving a Three Strikes life sentence for nonserious/nonviolent theft-related offenses committed in 1998. His Three Strikes Reform Act petition for resentencing was denied after the trial court found that he posed an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety. After the passage of Proposition 47, Sledge petitioned to reduce his offenses to misdemeanors. The trial court found him ineligible for relief based on a 1980 forcible rape juvenile adjudication. He appealed. Held: Affirmed. The provisions of Proposition 47 do not apply to persons who have one or more prior convictions for a “super strike” offense (which are serious and/or violent felony offenses) (Pen. Code, § 667, subd. (e)(2)(C)(iv)), or an offense requiring sex offender registration (Pen. Code, §§ 290). (Pen. Code, 1170.18, subd. (i).) Section 667, subdivision (e)(2)(C)(iv) references subdivision (d) for the definition of “serious and/or violent felony conviction.” Under section 667, subdivision (d)(3), a prior juvenile adjudication is considered a serious and/or violent felony conviction if specified criteria is met, including that the juvenile was 16 years of age or older at the time of the offense and that the offense is listed in Welfare and Institutions Code section 707, subdivision (b), or listed in section 667, subdivision (d)(1) or (2) as a serious and/or violent felony. Since the definition of “conviction of a serious and/or violent felony” in section 667, subdivision (d) is incorporated into section 1170.18, subdivision (i), and since that definition includes certain juvenile adjudications, a person who has been adjudicated a ward for a super strike offense that meets the criteria in section 667, subdivision (d)(3) is excluded from Proposition 47 eligibility.

Appellant’s juvenile forcible rape adjudication is a disqualifying prior conviction for purposes of Proposition 47. Sledge’s juvenile adjudication for forcible rape is a disqualifying prior under Proposition 47 because (1) it is a “super strike” offense (Pen. Code, § 1170.18, subd. (i)); (2) it is a section 707, subdivision (b) offense; (3) it is described as a violent and/or serious felony in Penal Code section 667, subdivision (d)(1); and (4) all of the other conditions of section 667, subdivision (d)(3) were satisfied (i.e., Sledge was 17 years old when he committed the offense, he was found to be a fit and proper subject to be dealt with under juvenile court law, and he was adjudged a ward of the juvenile court because he committed a section 707, subdivision (b) offense).

Substantial evidence supports the trial court’s historical factual finding that appellant suffered a disqualifying prior adjudication. Sledge argued there was insufficient evidence that his prior juvenile adjudication was for forcible rape because his juvenile file had been purged and the statements contained in several probation reports constituted unreliable, inadmissible hearsay. The probation report is part of the superior court record and the trial court was authorized to take judicial notice of it at the Proposition 47 eligibility hearing. If offered for the truth, factual statements in a probation report are hearsay and multiple hearsay (Evid. Code, § 452, subd. (d)). Even so, statements in the probation report regarding the offense, if reliable, are admissible in the context of a Proposition 47 eligibility finding. Here, the probation reports relied upon were prepared by probation officers performing their official duties, have been used without objection throughout this case (including a Prop. 36 proceeding), and Sledge has never denied the fact of the felony juvenile adjudication. The probation report contains the complainant’s statement that she was forcibly raped by Sledge. This alone is sufficient to sustain the trial court’s finding based on a preponderance of the evidence.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/G052780.PDF