On the evening of September 23, 1988, our client was arrested in a drug sting operation in Pasadena. Our client had a small amount of cocaine. He was with a friend. However, the friend had been followed by an undercover police officer. The police officer waited behind a tree and eventually approached our client as he walked away. He was then arrested for possession of a controlled substance. He was 18 years old at the time.
Our client thereafter entered into a plea bargain on in early1989 for possession of a controlled substance, a violation of Health & Safety Code § 11350(a), which was a felony at the time.
In 2017, the Los Angeles Public Defenders’ office petitioned and the judge reduced our client’s felony conviction to a misdemeanor charge pursuant Penal Code § 1170.18(g) (“Proposition 47”).
Since this conviction in 1989, our client can proudly say he has been clean and sober ever since. He is married with children and grandchildren that rely upon on him. The family lives in California City, a desert city northeast of Mohave.
However, since 1989 and due to the felony conviction, he lost many job opportunities. When his felony was reduced to a misdemeanor, he was elated, but it could not erase three decades of lost opportunities.
In early 2020, with the economic turmoil caused by Covid-19 and the civil unrest caused by police misconduct involving African Americans (including, but not limited to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery), our client tried to buy a firearm. After all, his felony had been reduced to a misdemeanor, so he believed he could buy a gun.
Our client’s employment involved operating a haul truck, which involved digging up and dumping waste material. Our client would often leave his wife and children at home alone while he went to work. This was typically not a problem until 2020 with COVID-19 and racial unrest and looting. The client consequently was concerned for his own safety in traveling to different locations, often in dangerous neighborhoods, as well as the safety of his wife and family while he was away at work.
When he tried to buy a gun, he was told he could not. He then called Greg Hill & Associates. The client explained his situation and Greg explained that a reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor under Prop 47 did not restore his Second Amendment rights.
Greg then explained how he could file a motion in the Pasadena courthouse to ask the judge to “turn back time” to change the basis for the reduction of the felony to a misdemeanor to being under Penal Code § 17(b)(3), which would restore the client’s Second Amendment rights, not Penal Code § 1170.18(g) (“Proposition 47”). Greg explained that he had filed this motion several times in the recent months and judges had granted it.
The client then hired Greg Hill & Associates and our office then got to work on the motion. The motion explained the underlying conviction and how it had been reduced under Proposition 47 in 2017, but how our client sought the full rights available to one who does not have a felony conviction.
The motion explained how our client now lived in California City and had a family and grandchildren to protect. The recent looting and random violence triggered by nationwide racial unrest, as well as economic conditions brought on by Covid-19, has led our client to seek the full rights of reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor as allowed under § 17(b)(3).
It is perhaps important to the reader here to state that our motion did not state that our client wanted to buy a gun, as we believe such a candid statement in the motion might imply to the judge that he or she might be helping our client commit a crime.
The judge in Pasadena took the motion under submission and did not issue his ruling for months. Our office politely called the courthouse month after month and finally, five months after filing the motion, we were told that the motion had been granted months earlier, but that the docket had not been updated at that time.
We then shared the news with our client, who was happy to hear the news and eager to buy a gun.
For more information about reclassifying a felony as a misdemeanor, please click on the following articles: