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California Court of Appeal: Defendant’s ‘Novel Interpretation’ of Pen. Code § 1203.01 Entitles Him to Have Trial Court Consider Motion to Correct Post-Judgment Record 40 Years After Conviction Final

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, ruled that Glenn Douglas Crites was entitled to consideration of his motion to have the trial court correct the record transmitted to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“DOCR”) under Penal Code § 1203.01(a).

Crites was convicted in 1977 of first-degree murder and other offenses, and he was sentenced to an indeterminate term in accordance with the statute in effect at the time. His conviction was affirmed on appeal.

In March 2021, he filed a motion titled “motion for discovery and/or correction/expungement of erroneous information affecting ‘liberty interests’ and ‘due process’” in the superior court. The court ultimately denied the motion, stating it lacked the authority to hear the motion under People v. Davis, 226 Cal. App. 4th 1353 (2014), and People v. Picklesimer, 226 P.3d 348 (Cal. 2010), to consider the motion. Crites appealed.

The Court of Appeal explained there is a “long-standing rule that ‘[t]here is no statutory authority for a trial court to entertain a post judgment motion that is unrelated to any proceeding then pending before the court. Indeed, a motion is not an independent remedy. It is ancillary to an on-going action and implies the pendency of a suit between the parties and is confined to incidental matters in the progress of the cause. As the rule is sometimes expressed, a motion relates to some question collateral to the main object of the action and is connected with, and dependent on, the principal remedy. In most cases, after the judgment has become final, there is nothing pending to which a motion may attach.’” Picklesimer. This is the rule that the superior court relied upon in denying Crites’ motion.

But in In re Cook, 441 P.3d 912 (Cal. 2019), the California Supreme Court held that § 1203.01 authorized a juvenile offender to file a motion requesting “an evidence preservation proceeding as envisioned in” People v. Franklin, 370 P.3d 1053 (Cal. 2016), for a juvenile offender who was eligible for a parole hearing but was sentenced before the change in the law and thus not able to provide the supplemental information discussed in Franklin.

 The Cook Court explained that “section 1203.01 authorizes a trial court to create a post judgment record for the benefit of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation but does not require that ‘statements by the judge and prosecutor should be filed “[i]mmediately after judgment has been pronounced.’” Indeed, “[t]here is no indication … that the statute’s requirement deprives the court of the authority to act at a later time.” Cook. The Cook Court concluded that § 1203.01, coupled with courts’ inherent authority to fashion necessary procedures under Code of Civil Procedure § 187, authorizes courts to preserve evidence as promptly as possible for use by the Board of Parole Hearings in future proceedings. It further concluded that transmission of the record to the DOCR enables the Board to discharge its obligations regarding the consideration of youth-related factors in determining youths’ fitness to rejoin society.

Crites acknowledged in his appeal that he was not a juvenile offender entitled to a youthful offender parole hearing. Nevertheless, he argued that the Cook Court’s interpretation of § 1203.01 similarly applies to his motion. Like the appellant in Cook, he was not seeking release. Nor was he challenging the validity of his conviction or sentence. He sought only to have information in his probation report corrected and forwarded to the DOCR.

The Court recognized that Crites had failed to assert “his novel interpretation of § 1203.01” in the trial court. But the Court rejected the People’s recommendation that the matter be remanded to the trial court for a decision in the first instance as to whether that court has jurisdiction under § 1203.01 to correct the record transmitted to the DOCR.

The Court declared: “Cook does not carve out an exception for youthful offenders but instead relies on the plain language of section 1203.01 in finding authority for the motion. We see no reason why that holding would not apply in the present situation.” The Court instructed, however, that Crites is not entitled to the expanded evidentiary preservation procedures afforded to youthful offenders under Franklin.

Accordingly, the Court reversed the order denying Crites’ motion and remanded for further proceedings consistent with the Court’s opinion. See: People v. Crites, 77 Cal. App. 5th 494 (2022). 

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