At the Supreme Court’s conference today, a double one, there were no straight grants, but there were actions of note, including:

  • Reproductive rights legislation. The court declined to get involved — at least for now — in a case interpreting 2022 legislation — AB 2223 — enacted with a stated purpose of “clarifying that there shall be no civil and criminal penalties for people’s actual, potential, or alleged pregnancy outcomes” and with a declaration that “every individual possesses a fundamental right of privacy with respect to personal reproductive decisions, which entails the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.” Review was denied in Carpenter v. Superior Court, where the Fourth District, Division One, Court of Appeal published opinion stopped a prosecution for a woman’s having an unattended home birth (allegedly to evade child welfare services), or for her drug use during pregnancy or lack of prenatal care, but allowed the prosecution to proceed on charges of implied malice murder and felony child endangerment for the woman’s actions after her baby was born alive, including a failure to seek help for the medically distressed baby. Division One also ruled that some evidence of the woman’s pre-birth conduct could be used in the prosecution. It concluded “the Legislature passed this statute mainly with the intent of providing immunity for adverse pregnancy outcomes due to self-managed abortions or drug use during pregnancy.”
  • Another ICWA grant-and-hold. In re N.L. is another grant-and-hold for In re Ja.O. (see here), which is expected to decide whether the duty of a child welfare agency to inquire of extended family members and others about a child’s potential Indian ancestry applies to children who are taken into custody under a protective custody warrant. The Fourth District, Division Two, unpublished opinion in N.L. said “no.” This is yet another case in the intra-division division on the issue. (See here.)
  • Imperfect self-defense grant-and-transfer. The court granted review in People v. Mancilla and sent the case back to the Fifth District Court of Appeal for reconsideration in light of the August decision in People v. Schuller (2023) 15 Cal.5th 237. In Schuller, the Supreme Court disapproved two of its opinions and held the issue whether an erroneous failure to instruct the jury on imperfect self-defense is prejudicial is subject to heightened review. The Fifth District unpublished Mancilla opinion, which filed before Schuller was decided, used a lesser standard of review, relying in part on one of the now-overruled Supreme Court decisions.
  • Criminal case grant-and-holds. There were eight criminal case grant-and-holds:  three more waiting for a decision in People v. Hardin (see here); one on hold for both People v. Salazar (see here), which was argued last month, and People v. Lynch (see here); one more waiting for People v. Mitchell (see here); another one holding for People v. Walker (see here); one more on hold for People v. Patton (see here); and another one waiting for People v. Emanuel (see here)