Most lists of Supreme Court conference results are five or more pages long. The list for yesterday’s conference doesn’t fill its third page. The court still ruled on 60 matters, but it was a lighter than usual number of cases. By comparison, at the court’s final conference last year, there were 138 rulings.

Like last week, there were no straight grants. In the court’s four December conferences, there have been only two straight grants.

Related: “What’s ailing the California Supreme Court? Its productivity has plummeted”

There were a few actions of note yesterday, including:

  • Creative expression evidence. The court granted review in People v. Ramos and sent the case back to the Fourth District, Division One, Court of Appeal to reconsider in light of Assembly Bill 2799, enacted in September with the Legislature’s stated purpose “to provide a framework by which courts can ensure that the use of an accused person’s creative expression will not be used to introduce stereotypes or activate bias against the defendant, nor as character or propensity evidence; and to recognize that the use of rap lyrics and other creative expression as circumstantial evidence of motive or intent is not a sufficient justification to overcome substantial evidence that the introduction of rap lyrics creates a substantial risk of unfair prejudice.” The Supreme Court has made other AB 2799 reconsideration orders. (See here and here.) In its 124-page unpublished Ramos opinion affirming first degree murder convictions and reversing some sentencing decisions, Division One held the superior court did not abuse its discretion in admitting into evidence one of the two defendant’s rap videos. This is the second time the Supreme Court has remanded the case; the first time, the court told Division One to reconsider in light of People v. Tirado (2022) 12 Cal.5th 688, for which the case was a grant-and-hold. Tirado concerned sentencing enhancements. (See here.) Justice Leondra Kruger did not vote for the latest transfer. Justice Patricia Guerrero was recused because, as a Court of Appeal justice, she wrote the first opinion. (Related: Attorney Rodney Diggs writes about AB 2799 in today’s Daily Journal.)
  • More ICWA grant-and-holds:  Two more cases are grant-and-holds for In re Dezi C., where the court agreed in September to decide what constitutes reversible error when a child welfare agency fails to make the required inquiry under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act and state statutory law concerning a child’s potential Indian ancestry. In In re E.T., an unpublished opinion of the Second District, Division Four, followed the Second District, Division Two, Dezi C. opinion in holding to be harmless an agency’s inadequate investigation. The Third District’s unpublished opinion in In re Z.C. similarly found harmless any failure of inquiry.
  • Criminal case grant-and-holds. There were five criminal case grant-and-holds:  three are waiting for a decision in People v. Mitchell (see here), one more is on hold for People v. Lynch (see here), and one more is holding for People v. Salazar (see here).