Supreme Court will decide sentencing enhancement issue and it depublishes a belatedly published CEQA opinion
At the Supreme Court’s conference, actions of note included:
- Enhancement dismissal. The court agreed to hear People v. Walker and it limited the issue to: “Does the amendment to Penal Code section 1385, subdivision (c) that requires trial courts to ‘afford great weight’ to enumerated mitigating circumstances (Stats. 2021, ch. 721) create a rebuttable presumption in favor of dismissing an enhancement unless the trial court finds dismissal would endanger public safety?” (Links added.) The Second District, Division Two, Court of Appeal’s partially published opinion answered “yes.” However, it concluded that, even under the defendant-friendly standard, the superior court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant’s motion to dismiss two sentence enhancements.
- CEQA depublication. The court granted a request to depublish the First District, Division Four, opinion — originally unpublished — in Saint Ignatius Neighborhood Association v. City and County of San Francisco. There was no petition for review. Division Four held San Francisco erroneously concluded a high school’s proposal to install four 90-foot light standards in the school’s athletic stadium was exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act.
- More ICWA grant-and-holds. In re An. L. and In re Athena R. are two more grant-and-holds for In re Dezi C., where the court agreed last 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. An. L. comes after an unpublished opinion from the Second District, Division Eight, which found the child protection agency and the juvenile court both violated state law, but found the errors harmless. In Athena R., the Second District, Division One, unpublished opinion similarly found harmless any error by the agency in failing to comply with state law.
- Criminal case grant-and-holds. There were five criminal case grant-and-holds: two more waiting for a decision in People v. Lynch (see here); one more holding for In re Vaquera (see here), which has been fully briefed for almost three years; one more holding for People v. McDavid (see here); and one more waiting for People v. Mitchell (see here).
- Grant-and-hold disposals. The court offloaded 15 grant-and-holds that had been waiting for the December decision in People v. Delgadillo (2022) 14 Cal.5th 216. Review was dismissed in one. Fourteen were transferred to the Courts of Appeal with orders saying, the “matter is transferred to the Court of Appeal . . . with directions to vacate its decision and reconsider whether to exercise its discretion to conduct an independent review of the record or provide any other relief in light of People v. Delgadillo (2022) 14 Cal.5th 216, 232-233 & fn. 6.” The chambers of Justice Joshua Groban, Delgadillo‘s author and the one responsible for recommending dispositions of the grant-and-holds (see here), is apparently working its way through the held cases alphabetically; today’s orders came in cases titled People v. Aguilar through People v. Faumui.