Like last week, the Supreme Court made no straight-grant orders at its conference on Tuesday.  But there were some actions of note, including:

  • Supreme Court allows Governor to commute robbery sentence.  (See also Tyler Pialet in the Daily Journal:  “Newsom wins 16th clemency OK from high court.”  I’m quoted in the article.)
  • The court again turned down a chance to resolve a taxing question left open by its 2017 5-2 decision in California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland (2017) 3 Cal.5th 924.  The court was criticized for not explaining whether the opinion means that initiatives imposing tax increases — as opposed to those enacted by government bodies — are exempt from a state constitutional provision requiring a two-thirds vote to approve a tax increase by “local governments.”  (See here and here.)  As it did last September in City and County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in the Matter of Proposition C, the Supreme Court unanimously denied review in City of Fresno v. Fresno Building Healthy Communities.  Both appellate court decisions relied on California Cannabis in holding that only a majority is necessary to approve a tax increase by voter initiative.  The Fifth District Court of Appeal’s published opinion in the Fresno case said, “We fully agree with and endorse the holdings and reasoning of All Persons.”  (Related:  The Supreme Court doesn’t decide all important issues.)
  • The court ordered review on its own motion in People v. Benavidez and sent the case back to the Second District, Division One, with directions to vacate and reconsider the appellate court’s unpublished decision.  From the cases cited in the transfer order, it looks like the Supreme Court has concerns about the appellate court’s refusal to construe the defendant’s notice of appeal from his conviction in one proceeding as including a challenge to his sentence in another proceeding.  The Supreme Court probably was aware of the nonpub because the defendant petitioned for review from the appellate court’s summary denial of a habeas corpus petition the defendant filed “Re Belated Filing of Amended Notice of Appeal.”  The Supreme Court granted review in the habeas proceeding and transferred the matter back with directions to issue an order to show cause.
  • Although not on its own motion, the court granted-and-transferred in People v. Woodson, a case where — like Benavidez — the Court of Appeal had already issued an opinion.  The Third District’s nonpub affirmed the denial of a resentencing petition.  The appellate court was directed to “reconsider whether the matter should be denied without prejudice to defendant filing a subsequent petition that offers evidence of his eligibility for the requested relief.  (See People v. Johnson (2016) 1 Cal.App.5th 953, 970-971.)”
  • There were 10 criminal case grant-and-holds:  four more holding for a decision in People v. Lewis (see here), three more holding for both Lewis and People v. Strong (see here) (that’s a total of 225 Lewis grant-and-holds), two more holding for People v. Raybon (see here), and one more holding for People v. Delgadillo (see here).