When a coercive government provides an avenue to escape from the clasp of draconian laws, do not waste time before pursuing liberation. Nothing is guaranteed by today’s local, state, or federal governments. When they offer an opportunity to reduce or reclassify a felony conviction, which occurred under the passage of Proposition 47 in California, there is no reason to waste any time. If you wait too long the opportunity might evaporate just as quickly as it was introduced.
Proposition 47 is also known as The Safe Neighborhoods and School Act and it made three major changes to sentencing law. The first change reclassified drug-possession offenses to make them no longer a felony offense. The second allows for defendants who are in prison for a crime that was reduced to a misdemeanor under Prop 47 to petition the court for resentencing. The third permits felons who have served a sentence for a crime that is now a misdemeanor under Prop 47 to petition the court for reclassification.
California voters passed Prop 47 on November 4, 2014, but the felony reduction window is only opened for a limited time. The deadline to file petitions is November 4, 2017, three years after the effective date.
The California chapter of the Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) recently provided some advice and suggestions for those faced with filing a petition to have a conviction resentenced or reclassified.
Note that individuals with one or more prior convictions for a serious or violent offense specified under Penal Code §667(e)(2)(C)(iv) or for a sex offense that requires registration under Penal Code §290(c) aren’t eligible for the new misdemeanor resentencing or reclassification provisions. Instead, those people generally remain subject to punishment under Penal Code §1170(h).
For those individuals with only one or two drug or petty theft convictions on their record, the Superior Courts of most counties have made available simple forms that can be easily filled out by petitioners. For those individuals with longer criminal histories, the question of whether they qualify for relief may require expert legal advice. Individuals whose convictions are reduced to misdemeanors should consult an attorney about taking the additional step of expunging their record of those convictions.
Those who can’t afford an attorney should contact their local public defender’s office for advice or for a referral to an attorney or agency that may offer services for a reduced fee. In addition, although the statutory language of Proposition 47 doesn’t seem to offer a role to the prosecutor or leave a judge much discretion when a qualified individual petitions for reclassification, some courts may be providing prosecutors an opportunity to object or argue against reductions in certain situations. Seeking expert advice may be essential in those cases.
If you’re a felon is California who this might apply to, please do not waste time. As stated above, those with longer criminal histories should pursue legal advice.
Hopefully the deadline to file a petition will be extended with future legislation. But why wait for an extension?
It’s hard for me to imagine many things that could be more important than capitalizing on an opportunity to regain some individual rights that the government had previously restricted felons from exercising.
If you’re a convicted felon in CA that could be a candidate to have your conviction reclassified under Prop 47, then stop reading this and go take action! If you are currently serving a prison sentence and you think resentencing is an option because of Prop 47, then make it happen! And if you live in California or have friends in California, then share this article and help spread the word.
Check out the full archive of Felony Friday!
Check out our YouTube Channel!
Receive access to ALL of our EXCLUSIVE bonus audio content – including “Conspiracy Corner”, “Degenerate Gamblers” and the “League of Liberty Podcast” by joining the Lions of Liberty Pride and supporting us on Patreon!