California Penal Code Section 1203.066 - Interpretation
In People v. Martinez (1988) 197 Cal.App.3d 767, the Court held that application of section 1203.066 to the defendant's case violated the constitutional proscription against ex post facto laws.
The defendant was convicted of 20 counts of lewd and lascivious acts against his stepdaughter, committed between June of 1978 and January of 1980.
Each of the 20 counts charged that the defendant occupied a position of special trust with the victim and that he had committed an act of substantial sexual conduct within the meaning of section 1203.066, subdivision (a)(9), making him statutorily ineligible for probation unless the trial court made four specific findings pursuant to section 1203.066, subdivision (c).
The court denied the defendant probation and sentenced him to prison for 34 years.
The defendant in Martinez argued that application of section 1203.066, which was added by statute effective January 1, 1982, two years after the last molestation occurred, violated the constitutional proscription against ex post facto laws.
The People argued that the new law was not more burdensome because the defendant was statutorily ineligible for probation under the law that existed at the time the offenses were committed. at that time, section 1203, subdivision (e)(5), provided that, except in unusual cases where the interests of justice would best be served, probation may not be granted if the defendant had previously been convicted of a felony, which was the case with the defendant in Martinez. (People v. Martinez, supra, 197 Cal.App.3d at p. 777.)
The Court agreed with the defendant in Martinez. While he would not have been eligible for probation under the earlier statute because he was an ex-felon, we stated that the question of whether an ex post facto violation occurred must be answered "in general, and not merely in the context of a specific case ...." (People v. Martinez, supra, 197 Cal.App.3d at p. 777.)
The Court agreed with the defendant that section 1203.066 violated the proscription against ex post facto laws because it rendered statutorily ineligible for probation a class of offenders who were not necessarily ineligible prior to its enactment. "Application of section 1203.066 to offenses occurring before its effective date violates the constitutional proscription against ex post facto laws by virtue of its stringent limitation on the trial court's discretion to grant probation." (People v. Martinez, supra, at p. 778.)