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Name: People v. Williams
Case #: G028417
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/31/2003
Subsequent History: Order mod. opinion/Rehg. denied 2/27/03. Rev. granted 5/14/03: S114184

The People cannot appeal a magistrate’s order at the preliminary hearing that reduces a wobbler felony to a misdemeanor. Here the magistrate’s order reduced a felony assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury count (Pen. Code, sec. 245, subd. (a)(1)) and battery with serious bodily injury count (Pen. Code, sec. 243, subd. (d)), to simple misdemeanors. The facts arose out of a pick-up game of basketball. An intentional “foul” caused a fractured skull and coma, from which the “victim” recovered. The magistrate was troubled by the filing as felony conduct in the context of a physical game and exercised his discretion to reduce the charges under section 1385. The superior court denied a subsequent motion by the People for reinstatement of the felony complaint. The People alleged that the magistrate’s actions were without statutory authority and should be deemed as a dismissal of the charges and thus subject to appellate review. This court concluded that the magistrate acted within the authority granted by section 17, subdivision (b)(5), and “[t]here is no cause to characterize the order as something it is not.” It dismissed the appeal. The People had also appealed from the magistrate’s order under 1238 (governing the People’s right of appeal in felony cases). No statutory authority supports an appeal of a magistrate’s order reducing a wobbler from a felony to a misdemeanor. This appeal was also dismissed.