California v. TranAnnotate this Case
Defendant Tuyen Tran appealed a trial court’s denial of his motion to reduce his 2005 felony conviction for assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury to a misdemeanor. In 2005, a complaint charged defendant with shooting at an inhabited dwelling. He pled no contest to assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury (a lesser related offense) and to being a misdemeanant in possession of a firearm. Defendant and Nho Dao got into an argument prior to shots being fired at Dao's home. Dao was not home at the time, but three of his brothers were. The trial court suspended imposition of sentence and granted defendant formal probation. In 2009, defendant filed a motion to terminate probation early, to expunge his record, and to reduce his offense from a felony to misdemeanor. By the time of the hearing on the motions, defendant had successfully completed probation. The trial court denied the motions. Defendant argued on appeal to the Court of Appeal that: (1) the trial court violated his due process rights by considering facts that were not elements of the charged offense and were not proven at trial; (2) the plea agreement itself provided the court would declare the offense a misdemeanor and barred the court from considering the facts underlying the offense in a motion to reduce; (3) having performed satisfactorily on probation, he was entitled to all statutory rehabilitation, including having the offense declared a misdemeanor; and (4) the trial court implicitly promised defendant in 2009 that it would grant defendant’s next motion to reduce his felony to a misdemeanor. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded: (1) the trial court properly considered the facts underlying the conviction in deciding whether to reduce defendant’s felony conviction to a misdemeanor; (2) the plea agreement did not restrict the trial court’s discretion and did not bar the court from considering the facts underlying the offense in a motion to reduce; (3) defendant was not entitled to have his felony conviction declared a misdemeanor upon successful completion of probation; and (4) the trial court did not promise it would grant defendant’s next motion to reduce his felony to a misdemeanor.