Attorney Support Services for San Diego County and the Temecula Valley.

Eviction Services

Iron Law Eviction Services for San Diego County and Riverside County.

Briggs v. Brown

Filed 8/24/17 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA ) RON BRIGGS, ) ) Petitioner, ) ) S238309 v. ) ) EDMUND G. BROWN, JR., ) as Governor, etc., et al., ) ) Respondents; ) ) CALIFORNIANS TO MEND, NOT END, ) THE DEATH PENALTY, etc., ) ) Intervener. ) ____________________________________) In the November 2016 election California voters approved Proposition 66, the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016. (Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 2016) § 1.) The measure’s various provisions are intended to facilitate the enforcement of judgments and achieve cost savings in capital cases. Petitioner Ron Briggs seeks writ relief from this court, challenging the constitutionality of certain aspects of the proposition. Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and the Judicial Council of California oppose the petition as respondents. They are joined by intervener Californians to Mend, Not End, the Death Penalty, a campaign committee representing the proponents of the initiative. The issues raised are of sufficient public importance to justify the exercise of our original SEE CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINIONS jurisdiction in the interest of a prompt resolution. (Legislature v. Eu (1991) 54 Cal.3d 492, 500.)1 Petitioner asserts four grounds for relief. He claims Proposition 66 (1) embraces more than one subject, as prohibited by the California Constitution; (2) interferes with the jurisdiction of California courts to hear original petitions for habeas corpus relief; (3) violates equal protection principles by treating capital prisoners differently from other prisoners with respect to successive habeas corpus petitions; and (4) runs afoul of the separation of powers doctrine by materially impairing the courts’ ability to resolve capital appeals and habeas corpus petitions, and to manage their dockets in general. Petitioner’s constitutional challenges do not warrant relief. However, we hold that in order to avoid serious separation of powers problems, provisions of Proposition 66 that appear to impose strict deadlines on the resolution of judicial proceedings must be deemed directive rather than mandatory. I. THE TERMS OF PROPOSITION 66 Proposition 66 includes a series of findings and declarations to the effect that California’s death penalty system is inefficient, wasteful, and subject to protracted delay, denying murder victims and their families justice and due 1 Petitioner Briggs, together with John Van de Kamp, sought an original writ from this court the day after the election. After the Secretary of State certified the election results, we granted petitioner’s motion to file an amended and renewed petition. Because both petitions name the Judicial Council as a respondent, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, as chair of the council, and Justice Ming Chin, as vice-chair, are recused. We stayed the implementation of Proposition 66 to provide time to resolve petitioner’s challenge. After receiving papers in opposition, we issued an order to show cause why the relief sought should not be granted, and continued the stay pending our decision. While the stay was in effect, Mr. Van de Kamp died, leaving Briggs as the sole petitioner. 2 process. (Voter Information Guide, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 2016) § …
Original document
Source: California Supreme Court