There were actions of note at the Supreme Court’s conference yesterday, uncommonly held during the same week as it heard oral arguments. Those actions included:

  • Supreme Court will hear Prop. 22 challenge.
  • Supreme Court OKs LWOP commutation.
  • Resentencing prima facie case. As the court prepared to issue its opinion in People v. Reyes, one of many cases concerning possible resentencing under Senate Bill 1437 (more about today’s Reyes decision later [update: here]), the court agreed to take on yet another SB 1437 case, People v. Patton. The 2018 legislation limited criminal liability for felony murder or murder under the natural-and-probable-consequences doctrine and allowed defendants convicted under those theories to seek resentencing. In Patton, the Second District, Division Three, Court of Appeal’s belatedly published opinion held the superior court properly found defendant had not made a prima facie case for relief, a showing that would have required an evidentiary hearing where the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is ineligible for resentencing. What might have attracted the Supreme Court’s attention is that the defendant was originally sentenced for attempted murder after a plea agreement (under which the prosecution agreed to strike an allegation the attempted murder was willful, deliberate, and premeditated), and the judge who ruled on the resentencing petition found a lack of a prima facie case based on transcripts of the defendant’s preliminary hearing and of the hearing when he changed his plea.
  • COVID insurance. The court denied a request to depublish the Fourth District, Division Three, opinion in Coast Restaurant Group, Inc. v. AmGUARD Insurance Company that affirmed the sustaining of a demurrer to a complaint claiming insurance coverage for business income losses from government COVID pandemic shut-down orders. Division Three held policy exclusions defeated the claim as a matter of law. There was no petition for review, but the court could have granted review on its own motion. It didn’t. The court already has agreed to decide two COVID insurance cases and it has granted-and-held two others. (See herehere, and here.) Two weeks ago, the court denied review of a different opinion rejecting a COVID insurance claim. (See here regarding Best Rest Motel, Inc. v. Sequoia Insurance Company.)
  • Belated appellate justice DQ attempt. Thirteen years ago, the Second District, Division Three, in an unpublished opinion, vacated an arbitration award of almost $1,000,000 for sexual harassment against Larry Flynt and his company and the Supreme Court denied review. The opinion’s author was Justice Jeffrey Johnson, who, more than 10 years later, was removed from the bench for sexual misconduct. Last month, the plaintiff in the case and the unsuccessful appellant who lost in a 2016 opinion unpublished opinion by Justice Johnson in a probate case filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court — Raymond v. Court of Appeal — seeking reversal of the opinions. Besides attacking the substance of the opinions, the petition claimed relief was warranted because “Justice Johnson was judicially disqualified in Petitioners’ respective appeals based upon his . . . predetermined disposition to rule against each Petitioner, as individuals and as women, as members of a class of women, based upon their gender.” The Supreme Court denied the petition. Horvitz & Levy represented the defendants in the arbitration appeal.
  • Parole consideration. The court issued an order to show cause on the pro per’s habeas corpus petition in In re Koenig. The matter is to be heard by the Third District, which had summarily denied an earlier habeas petition by Koenig after affirming his securities fraud conviction (People v. Koenig (2020) 58 Cal.App.5th 771). The issue is whether Koenig is “entitled to relief based on his claim that he is unconstitutionally being excluded from early parole consideration under section 32, subdivision (a)(1) of Article I of the California Constitution” (link added), which concerns “[a]ny person convicted of a nonviolent felony offense.” The court made a similar order two weeks ago. (See here regarding In re Hicks.)
  • Criminal case grant-and-holds. There were four criminal case grant-and-holds:  one more each waiting for opinions in People v. Reyes (see here and above), which was decided today (update: here); People v. Lynch (see here); People v. Salazar (see here); and People v. Mitchell (see here).
  • Even more Delgadillo grant-and-hold disposals.  There were nine more disposals of cases that were waiting for the December decision in People v. Delgadillo (2022) 14 Cal.5th 216. All of them were holding for both Delgadillo and the 2021 decision in People v. Lewis (2021) 11 Cal.5th 952, and were returned to the Courts 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.” Reconsideration in three cases is to be in light of Delgadillo and Lewis, while reconsideration in the other six is in light of just Delgadillo.