The Supreme Court today announced which cases it will hear when it returns to the courtroom next month after its normal July/August hiatus. The arguments will be live streamed, and opinions in the cases should file by December 4.

It’s a small calendar. Only three cases will be argued and, again, none of them are death penalty appeals. The court hasn’t heard an automatic capital appeal since the one on the February calendar. In 2017, when it mostly upheld Proposition 66, which was designed to speed California executions, the court said that the initiative’s deadlines for court action on capital cases “must be deemed directive rather than mandatory,” but also that the deadlines are “properly construed as an exhortation to the parties and the courts to handle cases as expeditiously as is consistent with the fair and principled administration of justice.” (Briggs v. Brown (2017) 3 Cal.5th 808, 823, 859.) (Related: “High court hears more death penalty appeals after Proposition 66”.)

On Wednesday, September 6, in San Francisco, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as summarized by court staff or limited by the court itself; additional information about each case can be found at the links showing when the court agreed to hear the case):

People v. Salazar: When the court granted review in October 2022, it limited the issue to, “Did the Court of Appeal err by finding the record clearly indicates the trial court would not have imposed a low term sentence if it had been fully aware of its discretion under newly-added subdivision (b)(6) of Penal Code section 1170? (See People v. Gutierrez (2014) 58 Cal.4th 1354, 1391.)”

People v. Curiel: Does a jury’s true finding on a gang-murder special circumstance (Pen. Code, § 190.2, subd. (a)(22)) preclude a defendant from making a prima facie showing of eligibility for resentencing under Penal Code section 1170.95? The court granted review in January 2022.

Gantner v. PG&E Corp.: In June 2022, the court agreed to answer these questions asked by the Ninth Circuit: “(1) Does California Public Utilities Code section 1759 preempt a plaintiff’s claim of negligence brought against a utility if the alleged negligent acts were not approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (‘CPUC’), but those acts foreseeably resulted in the utility having to take subsequent action (here, a Public Safety Power Shutoff), pursuant to CPUC guidelines, and that subsequent action caused the plaintiff’s alleged injury? (2) Does PG&E’s Electric Rule Number 14 shield PG&E from liability for an interruption in its services that PG&E determines is necessary for the safety of the public at large, even if the need for that interruption arises from PG&E’s  own negligence?” Justice Leondra Kruger is recused. Fourth District, Division One, Court of Appeal Justice Terry O’Rourke is sitting pro tem in her place. Horvitz & Levy represents PG&E in the Supreme Court.