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People v. Raybon

Court of Appeal of California, Third Appellate District

June 11, 2019, Opinion Filed

C084853

Opinion

 [*113]  [**612] 

RAYE, P. J.CA(1)(1) According to the plain language of Health and Safety Code section 11362.1, enacted as part of Proposition 64, possession of less than an ounce of cannabis in prison is no longer a felony. Smoking or ingesting cannabis in prison remains a felony and prison regulations forbid possession. The Attorney General uses arcane rules of statutory construction, twists the meaning of the words of the statute, urges us to disapprove of cases directly on point, and makes a host of policy arguments why we should not apply the plain language of the statute. The question of law we review de novo is whether the plain language of the statute leads to an absurd result. [***2]  We conclude it does not. A result is not absurd because the outcome may be unwise. Cognizant of the humble role of the courts in construing statutes, not rewriting them to subscribe to our version of sound public policy, we reverse the trial court's denial of defendants' petitions for relief under Health and Safety Code section 11361.8.2 

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Five defendants, all of whom are currently serving a sentence for a conviction of Penal Code section 4573.6, an offense that is no longer a crime pursuant to the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Health & Saf. Code, § 11361.8; Prop. 64, as approved by voters, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 2016)), filed a petition requesting relief under Proposition 64 and an accompanying motion to dismiss.3 The superior court denied each of the petitions. Defendants appeal.

THE DISPOSITIVE STATUTES

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36 Cal. App. 5th 111 *; 248 Cal. Rptr. 3d 611 **; 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 532 ***; 2019 WL 2428766

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. GOLDY RAYBON, Defendant and Appellant. [And four other cases.1]

Notice: THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA GRANTED REVIEW IN THIS MATTER (see Cal. Rules of Court, rules 8.1105(e)(1)(B), 8.1115(e)) August 21, 2019, S256978.

Subsequent History: Review granted by People v. Raybon, 250 Cal. Rptr. 3d 721, 446 P.3d 235, 2019 Cal. LEXIS 6269 (Cal., Aug. 21, 2019)

Request granted People v. Raybon, 2019 Cal. LEXIS 7236 (Cal., Sept. 25, 2019)

Request granted People v. Raybon, 2019 Cal. LEXIS 8263 (Cal., Oct. 30, 2019)

Request granted People v. Raybon, 2019 Cal. LEXIS 9137 (Cal., Dec. 2, 2019)

Request denied by People v. Raybon, 2020 Cal. LEXIS 252 (Cal., Jan. 6, 2020)

Request granted People v. Raybon, 2020 Cal. LEXIS 896 (Cal., Feb. 6, 2020)

Request granted People v. Raybon, 2020 Cal. LEXIS 2006 (Cal., Mar. 18, 2020)

Request granted People v. Raybon, 2020 Cal. LEXIS 3432 (Cal., May 15, 2020)

Prior History:  [***1] APPEALS from judgments of the Superior Court of Sacramento County, No. 09F08248, Curtis M. Fiorini, Judge.

Disposition: Reversed with directions.

CORE TERMS

cannabis, prison, controlled substance, ban, plain language, ingesting, smoking, felony, voters, plain meaning, absurd, ounce, penal institution, drafters, words, prescription, products, decriminalization, pertaining, amend, possession of a controlled substance, circumstances, criminalize, electorate, smuggling, imports, jail, medical marijuana, consumption, inmates

Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Criminal Law & Procedure, Criminal Offenses, Classification of Offenses, Felonies, Controlled Substances, Possession, Simple Possession, Substance Schedules, Hashish & Marijuana