At its conference yesterday, the Supreme Court declined to review a Commission on Judicial Performance decision removing a Court of Appeal justice from the bench.  Other actions of note included:

  • The court granted review in People v. Hernandez, which concerns the circumstances under which the prosecution may withdraw from — or a superior court may withdraw its approval of — a plea agreement when new legislation leads to the striking of a sentence enhancement.  Last year’s Supreme Court decision in People v. Stamps allowed those withdrawals when a statute — Senate Bill 1393 — gave trial courts discretion to strike certain enhancements.  The new law in HernandezSenate Bill 136 — requires certain other enhancements be struck.  In a partially published opinion, the Fifth District said that it was a distinction without a difference and that withdrawal from a plea agreement was allowed because “there is no evidence the Legislature intended Senate Bill 136 to permit the trial court to unilaterally modify a plea agreement once the prior prison term enhancements are stricken.”  The appellate court disagreed with a decision by the First District, Division Two.
  • The court denied review in Tiburon/Belvedere Residents United to Support the Trails v. Martha Co., but it depublished the First District, Division Five’s opinion.  The appellate court concluded substantial evidence supported the superior court’s finding that the public’s use of trails on the defendant’s property did not create a recreational easement under the doctrine of implied dedication.
  • In People v. Menjivar, the Second District, Division Three, filed a brief unpublished opinion dismissing an appeal because, it held, a statute — Penal Code section 1237.2 — precluded the defendant from arguing that the superior court erred in not conducting an ability-to-pay hearing on a restitution fine and court assessments (see here) and that his counsel’s failure to object constituted ineffective assistance of counsel.  The Supreme Court granted review and sent the case back to the appellate court, directing it “to consider whether, in light of the conclusion that the sole issue appellate counsel sought to raise is not cognizable, the procedures set forth in People v. Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436 [see here] apply and, if so, to take appropriate action.”
  • The court granted-and-held in In re R.P., another habeas corpus matter waiting for a decision in In re A.R., which was argued a few weeks ago.  The court limited the issues in A.R. to:  “1. Does a parent in a juvenile dependency case have the right to challenge her counsel’s failure to file a timely notice of appeal from an order terminating her parental rights under Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26?  (See Welf. & Inst. Code, § 317.5, subd. (a); In re Kristin H. (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 1635 [ineffective assistance of counsel claim in dependency proceeding brought on a petition for writ of habeas corpus].)  2. If so, what are the proper procedures for raising such a claim?”  In R.P. the Third District said it could treat the habeas petition “as a request for permission to file a belated notice of appeal under the constructive filing doctrine” and it then summarily denied the petition.
  • There were 11 criminal case grant-and-holds:  eight more holding for a decision in People v. Lewis (see here), one more holding for People v. Raybon (see here), one more holding for People v. Esquivel (see here and here), and one holding for People v. Padilla and  People v. Federico (see here).


Justice Liu separate concurring statement questions preclusion of parole for young adult LWOP inmates

Supreme Court orders inquiry into whether State Bar’s disciplinary practices are racially discriminatory]