A California appellate court overturns five inmate convictions for cannabis possession while in prison.
California Appeals Court ruling remands inmates’ cases for trial court to grant petitions for relief from their convictions
SACRAMENTO (CN) – A California appellate court on Tuesday overturned five inmate convictions for possessing cannabis while in prison.
In 2016, voters in the Golden State approved Proposition 64, which made possession of less than an ounce of cannabis legal – even in prison, according to the appeals court.
Smoking or ingesting cannabis in prison is still a felony, but the court found that possession is not under the plain language of the state’s law, although it is still prohibited by prison regulations.
The five plaintiff prison inmates were denied relief from their convictions by the Sacramento State Court and appealed to the California Court of Appeals for the Third Appellate District.
The California Attorney General’s Office tried to muddle the meaning of the statute by playing with syntax, Presiding Justice Vance W. Raye said in his 20-page ruling.
“In order to combat the plain meaning of Proposition 64, the Attorney General deploys a little-known canon of statutory construction in an effort to muddle the meaning of the statute,” Raye said.
The prosecution’s dissection of the penal code attempts to prove that if there is one type of prohibition on the possession of cannabis, there should be a complete ban on possession in the prison system.
Published: June 13, 2019
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