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Name: People v. Superior Court (Pearson)
Case #: S171117
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 04/08/2010
Summary

Penal Code section 1054.9 does not unconstitutionally amend Prop. 115. The Habeas Corpus Resource Center filed a motion for post-conviction discovery under section 1054.9 to aid in habeas preparation to challenge the defendant’s death sentence. The statute requires defendants sentenced to death or to LWOP to be given post-conviction discovery in some circumstances. After the trial court partially granted the request, the prosecution filed a writ of mandate alleging section 1054.9 is invalid because it amended Prop. 115 without 2/3 legislative majority as required by the proposition. The Supreme Court granted review on the issue of the statute’s validity. The Court found section 1054.9 augments Prop. 115’s discovery provisions, but does not amend them because it does not authorize anything Prop. 115 prohibits or prohibit anything it authorizes. Prop. 115’s discovery provisions relate to evidence at trial whereas this discovery statute is for habeas investigation, which is separate from the criminal case itself.