Wednesday, June 12, 2019

People v. Raybon (Cal. Ct. App. - June 11, 2019)

I can state with near certainty that the California Supreme Court will grant review of this opinion.

There's basically no choice.  The Court of Appeal's starkly worded opinion holds, unanimously, that pursuant to the plain language of Proposition 64 (which legalized marijuana), it's no longer a felony to possess this product in prison.  You can still be subject to discipline -- potentially heavily -- for having it in prison, or convicted for smoking it in prison.  But it's not a felony to possess it, at least if you're 21 and it's under an ounce.

There is, in fact, a strong argument that that's exactly what the text of the statute provides.

So why does the California Supreme Court basically have to grant review?

Because, three months ago, a different panel issued this opinion.  Unanimously.  Holding exactly the opposite of what the Court of Appeal holds in the most recent opinion.

You can't have squarely conflicting appellate holdings on the validity of a substantive felony that's an incredibly commonly charged offense.  There needs to be a rule.  One rule, applicable everywhere in the state.

So the California Supreme Court has to step in and decide the matter once and for all.  Quickly.

So they'll grant review in this case.  And, while they're at it, they need to grant review in the case from March as well.  A petition for review has already been filed in that case, and a couple of weeks ago the Court extended the time to grant or deny review to July 8.  After this most recent opinion, the Court should grant review in both cases.  And decide which panel was right.