The prisons and jails of California are home to a number of convicted non-violent offenders, many of which are serving lengthy sentences. Others who have already served their time often find that it is hard to find employment and are also faced with other restrictions. Such convictions are typically linked to drug or theft crimes. Such cases beg the question, “does the sentence or conviction classification match the severity of the crime?”
Accordingly, California Proposition 47 allows for certain nonviolent offenders the opportunity to reduce a felony conviction to misdemeanor, which can greatly improve one’s quality of life. Those eligible for Prop 47, include:
- Simple drug possession.
- Petty theft under 950 dollars.
- Shoplifting under 950 dollars.
- Forging or writing a bad check under 950 dollars.
- Receipt of stolen property under 950 dollars.
Naturally, people who are found guilty of heinous crimes, such as violent/sexual assault, are not eligible to remove a felony conviction. But for the scores of nonviolent drug offenders out there, taking advantage of Prop. 47 could open up doors that were previously closed. Felony burglars may find that they are eligible to be reclassified as shoplifters under Prop. 47.
As was the case of one Michael Fusting, who appealed his second-degree burglary conviction. Fusting’s conviction stems from his attempt to fence a stolen surfboard, which he now argues was a form of shoplifting.
Interestingly, he and his legal counsel did in fact manage to convince the California Court of Appeals that his argument was sound. As such, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Appellate District determined that Fusting could request to petition the lower court for a resentencing hearing.
Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Southern California. Based out of Orange County, Attorney Brower has represented individuals charged with crimes in state and federal court.
Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower online or by telephone at 714-997-4400.