In People v. Orozco, the Supreme Court today holds that Proposition 47, the 2014 initiative that reduces punishment and allows resentencing for certain crimes, doesn’t help someone convicted of receipt of a stolen vehicle worth less than $950 even though it can afford relief for convictions of receipt of lower-value stolen property generally. The court’s opinion by Justice Goodwin Liu reaches that conclusion because Proposition 47 amended the general stolen-property statute but not the stolen-vehicle statute.
This is the latest in a long line of Proposition 47 opinions by the court (see here), including several regarding different types of vehicle-related crimes in particular. Thus, permanently or temporarily taking a vehicle is covered by the initiative, but driving a vehicle after a taking is not. (See here, here, and here.) The court today says, “the electorate plausibly could have chosen to punish receipt of stolen vehicles more severely than vehicle theft or receipt of other types of stolen property.”
Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar writes a separate concurrence to explain that the court’s decision “is less mysterious – and more snugly consistent not only with the language of the statute, but also the ballot materials explaining Proposition 47 to California’s voters – than the majority opinion suggests.”
The court affirms the Fourth District, Division One, Court of Appeal. It disapproves a 2019 decision by the Fourth District, Division Two, and a 2018 opinion by the First District, Division Four.