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Name: People v. Smith
Case #: B298642
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 05/15/2020

Subsequent history: Petition for review granted 7/22/2020 (S262835). Briefing deferred pending decision in People v. Lewis (2020) 43 Cal.App.5th 1128, review granted 3/18/2020 (S260598/B295998), which presents the following issues: (1) May superior courts consider the record of conviction in determining whether a defendant has made a prima facie showing of eligibility for relief under Penal Code section 1170.95? (2) When does the right to appointed counsel arise under Penal Code section 1170.95, subdivision (c)?
Trial court erred in finding SB 1437 unconstitutionally amended Proposition 7. In 1994, Smith was convicted of first degree murder under a felony murder theory of liability, in addition to other offenses. The jury found true that the murder was committed during the commission of a robbery pursuant to Penal Code section 190.2, subdivision (a)(17). In 2019, Smith petitioned for relief under Penal Code section 1170.95 and requested the appointment of counsel. As one ground for the denial, the trial court found that SB 1437 unconstitutionally amended Proposition 7. Smith appealed. Held: Reversed. The Attorney General conceded, and the Court of Appeal agreed, that the trial court erred on this point. SB 1437 does not directly modify or amend the statutory changes effected by Proposition 7 or amend the voter’s intent in passing Proposition 7. The Court of Appeal agreed with the results reached in People v. Bucio (2020) 48 Cal.App.5th 300, 308; People v. Solis (2020) 46 Cal.App.5th 762, 774–780; People v. Cruz (2020) 46 Cal.App.5th 740, 753–759; People v. Superior Court (Gooden) (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 270, 280–284; and People v. Lamoureux (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 241, 250–251. [Editor’s Note: The Court of Appeal addressed additional SB 1437 issues in this case.]