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Weekly Appellate Report #26

By Brian Cardile | Oct. 28, 2016

Appellate Practice

Oct. 28, 2016

Weekly Appellate Report #26

William Meronek (Riverside Cnty. Pub. Def.) discusses Harris v. Sup. Ct., and why successful Prop 47 petitions shouldn't re-open prosecutions; Professor Richard Marcus (UC Hastings Law) chats Picasso, French remedies, and foreign law in the Ninth Circuit


This week's show regards a critical Proposition 47 appeal before the state high court, and a Ninth Circuit ruling developing international and conflict of law doctrine.
First, William Meronek, Deputy Public Defender for the County of Riverside, will join the show to chat about Harris v. Superior Court, which heard arguments before the California Supreme Court earlier this month, and which will decisively impact the implementation of Prop 47, the 2014 measure that reduced certain non-serious felony crimes to misdemeanors, and provided a re-sentencing mechanism for those serving time on those re-classified felonies. In Harris the defendant and appellant was charged with a count of robbery, which carried a potential 15-year term, before pleading to a lesser charge and receiving a 6-year sentence. After Prop 47's passage, Harris' pled count was reclassified and he petitioned for re-sentencing, after having served two-and-a-half years in prison. Though conceding Harris was eligible for re-sentencing, the LA County District Attorney asked the court to, essentially, unwind the plea, and allow the prosecution to try Harris on the robbery count that had been dropped pursuant to the agreement. The trial court granted the District Attorney's request, and a split Court of Appeal affirmed. Since more than 90 percent of criminal prosecutions culminate in pleas, the result of this appeal will consequentially determine to what extent one of Prop 47's main purposes, of clearing non-violent offenders from state prison, will be realized.
Then, Professor Richard Marcus, of UC Hastings College of the Law, will visit to discuss the Ninth Circuit's ruling in deFontbrune v. Wofsy, where French plaintiffs possessing the intellectual property rights to thousands of photographs taken of Pablo Picasso works of art sought to enforce a remedy in California court that had been rendered in their native country of France. The nature of the foreign remedy, called an astreinte, caused some puzzlement in both the trial and appellate courts, but a more essential quandary also was at play; namely, whether the question of the remedy's nature was one of law, or one of fact. The appellate panel, following settled if arcane federal rules, decided it was the former, a sensible result according to Professor Marcus, who will explain why the application of foreign law in U.S. courts is a more common occurrence than many realize, and why it could become even more common.
Don't forget CLE credit is available for listeners. Find the link below to take a short true/false test based on this episode and receive one hour CLE credit. <!-- Weekly Appellate Report Podcast -->


Brian Cardile

Rulings Editor, Podcast Host, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reporter

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