When reading any week’s Supreme Court conference results, the word “denied” always pops up more than any other. However, yesterday’s conference was more negative than usual. The court denied 140 petitions and the only positive actions were two grant-and-holds and one grant-and-transfer in criminal matters.
The grant-and-transfer is of interest for a couple of reasons.
First, Justices Ming Chin and Carol Corrigan did not vote to grant the petition for review. Last week, Justice Chin did the same thing on a straight grant. Usually, grants of review — whether straight grants, grant-and-holds, or grant-and-transfers — are unanimous.
Second, the case involves recent legislation that significantly scales back the felony-murder rule. Prosecutors have been challenging the new law, with some success, in the lower courts, and CALmatters veteran political columnist Dan Walters is not alone in saying, “The issue is obviously headed to the state Supreme Court.”
The issue apparently got to the court, but the court majority seems to want it to percolate a bit before weighing in. In D.W. v. Superior Court, after the Second District, Division Eight, Court of Appeal summarily denied a writ petition, the Supreme Court directed the appellate court to issue an order to show cause “why relief should not be granted on petitioner’s claim that the juvenile court’s finding of a prima facie case is no longer valid following Senate Bill No. 1437’s amendments to Penal Code sections 188 and 189.”