(Woodland, CA) – Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced plans to partner with the Public Defender to expedite relief to those with Yolo County marijuana convictions affected by Proposition 64. This will be a collaborative effort between the District Attorney’s Office and Public Defender’s Office.
This action is a result of a provision in the Proposition 64 ballot measure which was passed by California voters in November 2016. Proposition 64 legalized the possession and use of recreational marijuana by adults. Proposition 64 legalized the purchase, possession, growth and use of small amounts of recreational marijuana for those 21 and older. Under the measure, those convicted of many marijuana crimes may have their punishments reduced based on the age of the person and the charge. More specifically, people convicted of specified marijuana crimes can petition the courts for dismissal of their convictions or reduction of felonies to misdemeanors and misdemeanors to infractions.
Other District Attorneys’ Offices in California, such as San Francisco and San Diego, have been proactive in working to get people the relief they are entitled to under Proposition 64. The Yolo County District Attorney recently contacted the San Diego District Attorney about their program.
In Yolo County, the Public Defender’s office has already identified and addressed those cases of individuals with Proposition 64 convictions for anyone serving time or jail or prison or who is on parole related to the conviction. The Public Defender’s office has also filed petitions for relief for anyone who has contacted them.
For the other cases, the District Attorney has analyzed data in its case management system and has identified approximately 711 eligible cases since 2009. A list of these cases will be forwarded to the Public Defender’s office for further review and the filing of petitions with the court. Yolo County’s process will be very similar to San Diego’s which is also a partnership between the District Attorney and Public Defender. In most cases, the party eligible for relief will not have to appear in court and a hearing will not be necessary.
District Attorney Reisig stated that “based on the will of the voters across the state, and particularly in Yolo County, we will be proactive in getting these people Prop 64 relief. This process will take time. Together with the Public Defender, we hope that we can provide expedient assistance to those most impacted by prior convictions.”
Prior to the passage of Proposition 64, the Yolo County District Attorney proactively diverted marijuana related cases out of the criminal courts into education courses, thereby allowing successful graduates to avoid penalties and a criminal conviction. Since 2009, approximately 1,265 (nearly 60%) of marijuana charges were either diverted, dismissed outright, or dismissed as part of a plea agreement involving non-marijuana related charges. As a result of this progressive past practice, the number of actual marijuana related convictions in Yolo County is projected to be significantly lower (per/capita) than many other California counties.
People entitled to relief as a result of Proposition 64 may contact the Public Defender’s Office at https://www.clearmyrecord.org/partners/yolo_pubdef/ or the District Attorney’s office at District.Attorney@yolocounty.org.