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Prop. 66 Validity

Original proceeding. The court ordered respondents Jerry Brown, Governor of the State of California, Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California, and the Judicial Council of California to show cause why the relief sought by petitioners should not be granted. This case presents issues regarding the validity of the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016 (Prop. 66, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 2016)).

Held: "In the November 2016 election California voters approved Proposition 66, the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016. (Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 2016) 1.) The measure's various provisions are intended to facilitate the enforcement of judgments and achieve cost savings in capital cases. Petitioner Ron Briggs seeks writ relief from this court, challenging the constitutionality of certain aspects of the proposition. Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and the Judicial Council of California oppose the petition as respondents. They are joined by intervener Californians to Mend, Not End, the Death Penalty, a campaign committee representing the proponents of the initiative. The issues raised are of sufficient public importance to justify the exercise of our original jurisdiction in the interest of a prompt resolution. (Legislature v. Eu (1991) 54 Cal.3d 492, 500 [286 Cal. Rptr. 283, 816 P.2d 1309].)

"Petitioner asserts four grounds for relief. He claims Proposition 66 (1) embraces more than one subject, as prohibited by the California Constitution; (2) interferes with the jurisdiction of California courts to hear original petitions for habeas corpus relief; (3) violates equal protection principles by treating capital prisoners differently from other prisoners with respect to successive habeas corpus petitions; and (4) runs afoul of the separation of powers doctrine by materially impairing the courts' ability to resolve capital appeals and habeas corpus petitions, and to manage their dockets in general.

"Petitioner's constitutional challenges do not warrant relief. However, we hold that in order to avoid serious separation of powers problems, provisions of Proposition 66 that appear to impose strict deadlines on the resolution of judicial proceedings must be deemed directive rather than mandatory." (Briggs v. Brown (2017) 3 Cal.5th 808 (S238309).) This case was decided on 8/24/2018.

Updated: 8/24/2017

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