Thanksgiving week is the only week this year when a Supreme Court conference is held on a day other than a Wednesday.  Besides agreeing to answer another Ninth Circuit state law question and recommending clemency for a former state senator, the court’s actions of note at its Tuesday conference included:

  • Using its deferential standard of review, the court positively responded to more of Governor Jerry Brown’s requests for clemency recommendations, including one for a former state senator.  The recommendations were given to:  Michael Crawford, to pardon him for sentences for robbery and for two counts of burglary; Michael Fischer, to commute a 35-years-to-life sentence for robbery with two prior felony enhancements; Gustavo Flores, to commute a 40-years-to-life sentence for burglary and three prior felony enhancements; Tyrone Jackson, to commute an LWOP sentence for two counts of murder, kidnapping, and firearm and prior felony enhancements; and, as noted, Roderick Wright, to pardon him for sentences for — as a teenager — taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent and for — as a state senator at the age of 61 — two counts of perjury, false declaration of candidacy, and five counts of fraudulently voting or attempting to fraudulently vote.  (For more on the Wright pardon recommendation, see here and here.)
  • The court granted review in People v. Lopez, another Proposition 47 case, and limited the issues to be briefed to these:  (1) Can the prosecution charge theft and shoplifting of the same property, notwithstanding Penal Code section 459.5, subdivision (b), which provides that “Any act of shoplifting as defined in subdivision (a) shall be charged as shoplifting. No person who is charged with shoplifting may also be charged with burglary or theft of the same property?”  (2) If not, was trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the theft charge?  The Fifth District Court of Appeal, in a published by-the-court opinion, answered the first question “yes,” which mooted the second question.
  • The court granted review in People v. McKenzie, also from the Fifth District.  This is the second grant of review in the case; the first time, the Supreme Court remanded the case for reconsideration in light of 2017 legislation limiting sentence enhancements for certain controlled-substance crimes.  As stated by Supreme Court staff, the issue is, When is the judgment in a criminal case final for purposes of applying a later change in the law if the defendant was granted probation and imposition of sentence was suspended?  The Court of Appeal’s most recent, published opinion is in the defendant’s favor, striking multiple enhancements.
  • The court denied review but depublished the opinion in Citizens Coalition Los Angeles v. City of Los Angeles.  The Second District, Division Two, there rejected challenges under the California Environmental Quality Act to the green-lighting of a Super Target store in Hollywood.