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Ryan Harris
Ryan Harris

Ventura Superior Court

The Ventura County Probation Agency is charged by the courts with the direct supervision of approximately 5,866 adult offenders and 390 juvenile offenders on probation, as well as performing two mandated functions: the preparation of sentencing reports for the courts and the operation of the Juvenile Facilities. To accomplish this mission, a highly-trained corps of armed deputy probation officers supervise the most serious offenders via close community monitoring, including global positioning system (GPS) tracking and frequent field contacts. Approximately 350 additional officers supervise low and moderate-risk probationers in the community and prepare sentencing reports for the courts, recommending appropriate sanctions including incarceration, counseling, or a combination of treatment services.

Ventura Superior Court

The Civil Division of the court will reopen, with the restrictions noted below, for filings on Wednesday June 10, 2020, and for court proceedings on Monday June 15, 2020. This document addresses the filing of new motions and cases, as well as the status of those previously filed. It also explains how the court will handle documents submitted during the Covid-19 court closure, and how new documents can be delivered to the court for filing.

The court may be able to offer CourtCall video appearances in the near future. Until that service is available, individual judges have discretion to approve requests to conduct hearings on other video platforms.

Documents received by the court prior to June 10, 2020, other than law and motion pleadings (see below, section 5) and documents authorized for earlier filing in emergency orders issued by the Presiding Judge, will be filed by the court on June 10, 2020. Note: regarding statutes of limitations, see California Rules of Court, emergency rule 9.

All future trial dates (i.e. on or after June 15, 2020) are vacated; without further notice, a trial setting conference will be heard in the assigned courtroom on the same date and time formerly set for trial.

All cases which had been set for trial between March 16 and June 12, 2020, and all cases which were trailing for trial when the closure began on March 16, 2020, will be calendar by the court for a trial setting conference, with notice to be given by the court.

If a motion is statutorily required to be heard before July 1, 2020, the moving party should so advise the court by ex parte motion, or by arranging a conference call involving the judge and all parties.

Moving papers received by the court after March 13, 2020, but before June 10, 2020, are hereby rejected and will be returned to the submitting party. However, the clerk will note in the case management system the date the original moving papers were received, which date shall be deemed the filing date if the moving party resubmits the motion.

Available law and motion calendar dates and times during the month of July 2020 are reserved for hearings related to motions filed or received by the court on or before May 29, 2020, which the moving party reschedules as described above.

California environmentalists and the state's District Attorney are celebrating after charges were finally filed against a group of poachers in Ventura County Superior Court. Seven people were arraigned in court for 21 charges, including filing a false or forged document, conspiracy, receiving stolen property, unlawful possession of untagged bear, and animal abuse or cruelty.

On February 14, 1997, in the Ventura County Superior Court, petitioner Amby Gary Owens pleaded nolo contendere to, and was convicted of, operating an endless chain scheme in violation of California Penal Code ("P.C.") 327, a felony. Clerk's Transcript ("CT") 42. The trial court reduced the conviction to a misdemeanor, pursuant to P.C. 17(b). CT 42-43. The petitioner was sentenced to three years informal probation, which was stayed on certain conditions, including that he perform 80 hours of community service. Id.

The petitioner moved to dismiss the indictment as a discriminatory prosecution, *996 arguing that he was prosecuted and required to plead to a felony only because he is a police officer. Although the trial court agreed that petitioner's status as a police officer motivated both his prosecution and the felony charge, it denied the motion after concluding that it was "perfectly permissible" for the district attorney to distinguish between police officers and civilians in charging decisions.[1]

Ground One: "The California courts violated the rights of all California peace officers to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, [sic] when they approved of and expanded the discriminatory enforcement of the criminal laws against petitioner Amby Gary Owens, an off-duty peace officer at the time of the offense." Petition at 6-A.

Ground Two: "The California courts violated the rights of all California peace officers to due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, [sic] when they concluded that peace officers who commit crimes are `morally culpable to a greater extent than the civilian[s]' who commit crimes and suggested they be held to a higher standard and charged more harshly." Petition at 6-B.

Ground Three: "The California courts violated the separation of powers when they concluded that peace officers who commit crimes are `morally culpable to a greater extent than the civilian[s]' who commit crimes and suggested that prosecutors hold officers to a higher standard and charge them more harshly." Id.

Further, under the AEDPA, a federal court shall presume that the determination of factual issues made by a state court is correct, and the petitioner has the burden of rebutting that presumption by clear and convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C. 2254(e) (1).

Over the years, the federal courts have determined that suspect classes for equal protection purposes include classifications based on race, religion, alienage, national origin and ancestry. See Burlington Northern Railroad Co. v. Ford, 504 U.S. 648, 651, 112 S. Ct. 2184, 2186, 119 L. Ed. 2d 432 (1992) (holding classification based on religion is suspect classification); Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365, 372, 91 S. Ct. 1848, 1852, 29 L. Ed. 2d 534 (1971) (holding classification based on alienage is suspect classification); Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 11, 87 S. Ct. 1817, 1823, 18 L. Ed. 2d 1010 (1967) (holding classification based on race is suspect classification); Oyama v. California, 332 U.S. 633, 644-646, 68 S. Ct. 269, 274-275, 92 L. Ed. 249 (1948) (holding classification based on national origin is suspect classification); Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 U.S. 81, 100, 63 S. Ct. 1375, 1385, 87 L. Ed. 1774 (1943) (holding classification based on ancestry is suspect classification). Quasi-suspect classes, or those subject to heightened review, include, for example, classifications based on gender and illegitimacy. See Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, 458 U.S. 718, 724, 102 S. Ct. 3331, 3336, 73 L. Ed. 2d 1090 (1982) (holding classifications based on gender calls for heightened standard of review); Trimble v. Gordon, 430 U.S. 762, 767, 97 S. Ct. 1459, 1463, 52 L. Ed. 2d 31 (1977) (holding illegitimacy is quasi-suspect classification).

The petitioner has not cited any cases holding police officers to be members of a suspect class, or even a quasi-suspect class. Moreover, the Supreme Court has determined that a "class of uninformed state police officers over 50" does not constitute a suspect class. Massachusetts Board of Retirement v. Murgia, 427 U.S. 307, 313, 96 S. Ct. 2562, 2567, 49 L. Ed. 2d 520 (1976). Furthermore, a class of police officers would not possess any of the characteristics which have traditionally been considered by courts in defining a suspect class, such as being "saddled with such disabilities, or subjected to such history of purposeful unequal treatment, or relegated to such a position of powerlessness as to command extraordinary protection from the majoritarian political process." Rodriguez, 411 U.S. at 28, 93 S. Ct. at 1294; Miller v. United States, 73 F.3d 878, 881 *999 (9th Cir.1995); see also Velasquez v. Frapwell, 160 F.3d 389, 391 (7th Cir.1998) ("Military personnel are no more a discrete and insular minority than police or firemen."). Therefore, petitioner's argument that he is a member of a suspect class has no merit. 350c69d7ab


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