PEOPLE v. 9660 CHEROKEE LANE NEWCASTLE

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Court of Appeal, Third District, California.

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. 9660 CHEROKEE LANE, NEWCASTLE, Defendant;

Richard Dana Harder et al., Claimants and Respondents. The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. ONE 1990 MAZDA PICKUP TRUCK et al., Defendants;

Gary Battaglia, Claimant and Respondent. The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. CHARBROIL BARBECUE GRILL et al., Defendants;

Karen Spaur et al., Claimants and Respondents. The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. PROPERTY LISTED IN EXHIBIT “A”,* Defendant; Karen Spaur, Claimant and Respondent.

Nos. C018425, C018478, C018479 and C018480.

Decided: December 19, 1995

Daniel E. Lungren, Attorney General, George Williamson, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Gary W. Schons, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Holly D. Wilken, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, and Jeffrey J. Koch, Deputy Attorney General, and Joseph F. Barbara, Placer County District Attorney, for Plaintiff and Appellant. Serra, Lichter, Daar, Bustamante & Michael, James A. Bustamonte, David Michael, San Francisco, and Robin M. Walters, Bakersfield, for Claimants and Respondents.

These four consolidated cases involve civil forfeiture proceedings pursuant to Health and Safety Code 1 sections 11470 et seq. in which property was seized before, but the proceedings to forfeit the property were not concluded until after, January 1, 1994.   The applicable forfeiture statutes expired January 1, 1994, and subsequent legislation enacted in August 1994 cannot apply to the consolidated cases here without violating the ex post facto clause.   Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's dismissal of the consolidated proceeding.

OVERVIEW

This appeal squarely raises the viability and constitutionality of California's civil drug asset forfeiture statutes for proceedings pending between January 1, 1994, and August 19, 1994.

The ultimate question is whether certain civil forfeiture statutes lapsed on January 1, 1994.   The various repeals, amendments, and enactments to the civil forfeiture statutes have resulted in a statutory quagmire.   For purposes of this case, four enactments in the tortuous history of the forfeiture statutes are significant:  (1) section 16 of the 1988 Statutes, (2) the 1990 Statutes, (3) the 1991 Statutes, and (4) section 11494, which was passed as an urgency measure in August 1994.   We conclude certain forfeiture statutes indeed lapsed on January 1, 1994, and this lapse deprived the State of the power to pursue the instant forfeiture proceedings.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

As part of its many repeals, additions, and amendments to the civil forfeiture statutes, the Legislature amended several forfeiture provisions in 1988.   (Stats.1988, ch. 1492, §§ 1, 9, 10, pp. 5285, 5288–5291 [“1988 Statutes”].2 )  An uncodified provision in the 1988 Statutes, labeled section 16, states:  “The provisions of the Health and Safety Code amended by this act shall remain in effect only until January 1, 1994, at which time those sections as they read on December 31, 1988, shall have the same force and effect as if they had not been amended.”  (Stats.1988, ch. 1492, § 16, p. 5298, italics added.)  (“Section 16”) The 1988 Statutes amended nine provisions—sections 11470, 11473, 11473.2, 11473.3, 11488, 11488.4, 11488.5, 11488.6, and 11489.  (Id. at p. 5285.)

The Legislature acted again with the civil forfeiture law in 1990, and, inter alia, amended sections 11470, 11488.1, 11488.2, 11488.4, 11488.5, 11488.6, and 11492.  (Stats.1990, ch. 1200, §§ 1–8.)   Four of these seven amended sections had previously been amended by the 1988 Statutes—sections 11470, 11488.4, 11488.5, and 11488.6.3  These four sections, as amended by the 1990 Statutes, expressly provide:  “This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 1994, and as of that date is repealed.” 4  Thus, as to these four sections, the 1990 Statutes eliminated Section 16's reversionary language.

In 1991, the Legislature added provisions to the Education Code to address gang risk intervention programs.  (Stats.1991, ch. 641, § 1.)   Within this bill, the Legislature also amended, repealed, and added three different versions of section 11489, one of the civil forfeiture statutes.   The Legislature then amended Section 16 to read:  “The provisions of the Health and Safety Code amended by this act, except Section 11489, shall remain in effect only until January 1, 1994, at which time those sections as they read on December 31, 1988, shall have the same force and effect as if they had not been amended.”  (Stats.1991, ch. 641, § 14, italics added.)

January 1, 1994, came and went.   On August 19, 1994, section 11494 was enacted as an urgency measure, and provided:  “In the case of any property seized or forfeiture proceeding initiated before January 1, 1994, the proceeding to forfeit the property and the distribution of any forfeited property shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter in effect on December 31, 1993, as if those sections had not been repealed, replaced, or amended.”  (Stats.1994, ch. 314, §§ 22, 26.)   Thus, the 1994 legislation purported to apply the law in effect on December 31, 1993, to pending cases, and also provided a new section 11488.4 for future property seizures.  (§ 11488.4, subd. (i)(4);  Stats.1994, ch. 314, § 13.)

DISCUSSION

The Attorney General's opening brief argues the “[forfeiture] sections as they read on December 31, 1988,” became reoperative on January 1, 1994, pursuant to Section 16.   However, we first must address an issue largely ignored in the Attorney General's brief:  The effect of the 1990 and 1991 Statutes on the civil forfeiture statutes.5

I

Tracing the Legislative History:  Section 16 and the Subsequent Effect of the 1990 and 1991 Amendments

In 1988, the Legislature amended various Health and Safety Code sections of the forfeiture law and attached the uncodified Section 16 both to sunset the 1988 law and to revive the law in effect on December 31, 1988, as of January 1, 1994.  (Stats.1988, ch. 1492, § 16, p. 5298.)   This uncodified Section 16 provided:  “The provisions of the Health and Safety Code amended by [the 1988] act shall remain in effect only until January 1, 1994, at which time those sections as they read on December 31, 1988, shall have the same force and effect as if they had not been amended.” 6

 In 1990, the Legislature amended various sections of the forfeiture law, and attached a repealer, effective January 1, 1994, to sections 11470, 11488.4, 11488.5, and 11488.6 without any reversionary clause.   This created a direct conflict with, and thereby repealed, Section 16 insofar as it applied to these sections.7  “When two laws on the same subject or cognate subjects, passed at different times, are repugnant or inconsistent with each other, the one passed first in point of time must yield.   The later act, as the last expression of the legislature's will, prevails.”  (58 Cal.Jur.3d, Statutes, § 66, p. 410, fn. omitted.)

The 1990 Statutes expressly provided these four sections would expire January 1, 1994, and made no reference to any reversion.   Accordingly, those sections were effective only until January 1, 1994, “and as of that date [were] repealed.”   The remaining five sections previously amended by the 1988 Statutes—sections 11473, 11473.2, 11473.3, 11488, and 11489 (which were not changed by the 1990 Statutes)—remained subject to Section 16's reversionary language.

This was the state of the law in 1991 when the Legislature amended section 11489 of the forfeiture law and amended Section 16 of the 1988 Statutes to exclude section 11489 from its provisions.   The Attorney General asserts the 1991 Statutes resurrected the original reversionary language of the 1988 Statutes.   The Attorney General argues:  “The 1991 bill reconfirmed this legislative intent, i.e., that the [1987 Statutes were] to be revived on January 1, 1994, by showing that the Legislature believed it needed to amend section 16 of the [1988 Statutes], in order to exempt Health and Safety Code section 11489 from the implementation of section 16.   Had the Legislature intended for all of these asset forfeiture sections to be totally repealed on January 1, 1994, there would have been no need to amend section 16 as recently as 1991.”

The Attorney General's argument is fallacious due to its overbroad underlying premise that Section 16 had no continuing vitality whatsoever after the 1990 Statutes.   As noted above, sections 11473, 11473.2, 11473.3, 11488, and 11489 were not changed by the 1990 Statutes and thus remained subject to Section 16's reversionary language.   Accordingly, Section 16 still applied as to those five sections.

The 1991 Statutes addressed only one Health and Safety Code section, section 11489, which concerned the distribution of forfeited money.   Section 11489 was not amended in the 1990 Statutes, and thus had remained subject to Section 16's reversionary language.   In the 1991 Statutes, the Legislature amended section 11489, with this amended version to remain effective until “July 1, 1992, and as of that date is repealed.”  (Stats.1991, ch. 641, § 2.)   The Legislature also added two new versions of section 11489:  one version was to become operative July 1, 1992, and “remain in effect until January 1, 1994, and as of that date is repealed.”  (Stats.1991, ch. 641, § 3.)   The other version of section 11489 was to become operative on January 1, 1994, and contained no sunset clause.  (Stats.1991, ch. 641, § 4.)   The Legislature then amended Section 16 to add three words—“except Section 11489”—thereby exempting section 11489 from Section 16's operation.8

The Attorney General asks us to conclude the Legislature thus repealed by implication the express statutory termination date set forth in the 1990 amendments to sections 11470, 11488.4, 11488.5, and 11488.6—on the basis of a three-word amendment to Section 16 referring solely to an entirely different section, and despite the fact that the Legislature demonstrated it was aware of the impact of a repealer clause by electing not to employ such a clause in the three other sections amended by the 1990 Statutes—sections 11488.1, 11488.2, and 11492.

 “[R]epeals by implication are disfavored, being recognized only if two apparently conflicting laws cannot be harmonized.   [Citations.]  We are bound to maintain the integrity of both statutory provisions if the two can stand together.  [Citation.]”  (In re Manuel L. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 229, 235–236, 27 Cal.Rptr.2d 2, 865 P.2d 718.)   A repeal by implication makes no sense here.   Expressly excluding section 11489 from Section 16's application was obviously done in an unnecessary abundance of caution to avoid the existence of conflicting versions of section 11489.   It is wholly unreasonable to assume the Legislature, by its 1991 act of removing a provision dealing with the distribution of forfeited money from the sunset and revival provisions of generalized Section 16, intended to repeal sunset clauses it had explicitly and individually attached to specific sections the previous year.   There is nothing in the Legislative Counsel's Digest of the 1991 measure to indicate any such consequence was contemplated.

Facially, the 1991 Statutes do not apply the reversionary language of Section 16 to the sections amended in 1990.9  Nor is there any analytic bridge by which the 1990 Statutes may be linked with that reversionary language.   Because there is no facial ambiguity and no analytic bridge, there is no need to consider the Legislature's intent.

 Accordingly, sections 11470, 11488.4, 11488.5, and 11488.6 expired by their own unambiguous terms on January 1, 1994.10  As the Attorney General acknowledges, although other sections of the civil forfeiture law remained effective, absent these aforementioned provisions—which among other things, set forth the items subject to forfeiture, the applicable procedures for forfeiture proceedings, and procedures for redeeming seized property—the civil forfeiture statutes are rendered meaningless.

II

Ex Post Facto Considerations of the 1994 Legislation

The August 1994 legislation enacted section 11494, which provides:  “In the case of any property seized or forfeiture proceeding initiated before January 1, 1994, the proceeding to forfeit the property and the distribution of any forfeited property shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter in effect on December 31, 1993, as if those sections had not been repealed, replaced, or amended.” 11

 “ ‘[I]t has been held in a long line of cases that the repeal of a statute creating a penalty, running either to an individual or the state, at any time before final judgment, extinguishes the right to recover the penalty.’ ”  (People v. One 1953 Buick (1962) 57 Cal.2d 358, 363, 19 Cal.Rptr. 488, 369 P.2d 16, citations omitted.)  “Forfeiture of [inter alia,] a vehicle used to transport narcotics[,] is a penalty to induce performance of a duty and its penal character being obvious, the repeal of the statute authorizing the forfeiture extinguishes the right of forfeiture.”  (One 1986 Toyota, supra, 31 Cal.App.4th at p. 262, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 29, citations omitted.)   Since “the title of the state is inchoate or incomplete until such time as there is a judicial determination of the forfeiture,” the effect of the repeal of the asset forfeiture law on January 1, 1994, was to extinguish whatever State rights existed in the forfeited property.  (See ibid.;   People v. One 1961 Austin Healey Sprite Roadster (1969) 1 Cal.App.3d 316, 318, 81 Cal.Rptr. 755 [“its penal character being obvious, the repeal of the statute authorizing the forfeiture extinguishes the right of forfeiture”], internal quotation marks omitted;  see also Ruiz, supra, 32 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1453–1454, fn. 17, 38 Cal.Rptr.2d 836 [suggesting double jeopardy implications because removing profits from those engaged in drug trade is punitive rather than remedial];  but see People v. 25651 Minoa Dr. (1992) 2 Cal.App.4th 787, 797, 3 Cal.Rptr.2d 577 [concluding “our drug forfeiture laws under sections 11470 and 11488.4 are civil and remedial in nature, and the ex post facto guarantees do not apply”].)

“The Legislature, by the express use of a savings clause, may protect the rights of litigants in pending actions even though the particular statute is repealed.  [Citations.]”  (People v. One 1961 Austin Healey Sprite Roadster, supra, 1 Cal.App.3d at p. 319, 81 Cal.Rptr. 755.)   However, the Legislature did not use such savings clauses when establishing the express repealers in the 1990 act.   Accordingly, the August 1994 legislation stands alone, as if there was no preexisting law.12

The State's authority to penalize by forfeiture lapsed.   It now seeks such a penalty retroactively, which it may not do.13  The forfeiture law sunsetted on January 1, 1994.   No law remained and none was adopted by the Legislature to replace it until August 1994.   This lapse in the law deprived the State of all power to pursue the penalty of forfeiture.   Accordingly, the trial court properly dismissed the consolidated proceedings.14

DISPOSITION

The judgment is affirmed.

I respectfully dissent.

In People v. $31,500 United States Currency, supra, 32 Cal.App.4th 1442, 38 Cal.Rptr.2d 836 (Ruiz ) we considered the legislative quagmire resulting from various amendments to California forfeiture laws dating from 1987.   Applying settled rules of statutory construction, including the obligation of appellate courts to “ascertain the intent of the lawmakers so as to effectuate the purpose of the law” (id. at p. 1459, 38 Cal.Rptr.2d 836), we extracted from the morass a reasonably clear expression of legislative intent, viz., that to ensure continuity of California's civil forfeiture laws through a series of legislative experiments, the law would default on January 1, 1994, to the 1987 forfeiture provisions in place when the spate of experimentation first began.   A subsequent 1994 enactment purporting to clarify the law could be given retroactive effect because the new law's mandate did not significantly differ from the former and thus did not disadvantage the claimants.

We had no occasion in Ruiz to devote more than passing attention to the effect of the 1990 and 1991 statutory amendments to the asset forfeiture statutes;  neither side argued the 1990 or 1991 changes fundamentally affected the issues then before us.   The majority devotes considerably more attention to these amendments and concludes they effectively gutted California's forfeiture laws.   Thus, despite language in Statutes 1988 clearly providing that on January 1, 1994, the “sections as they read on December 31, 1988, shall have the same force and effect as if they had not been amended” and despite subsequent clarifying legislation, California was effectively without an asset forfeiture law between January 1, 1994, and August 1994, when forfeiture legislation was again enacted to “reduce the confusion and ambiguity which [then existed].”

As illustrated by the present case, confusion and ambiguity cannot be always legislated away.   Confronted with the same legislative quagmire, the present majority reaches a different conclusion.   In so doing they ignore the wisdom of our prior holding in Ruiz and the logic of our colleagues in Mundy v. Superior Court, supra, 31 Cal.App.4th 1396, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 568.

In Ruiz, we were mindful that, “ ‘[t]he fundamental purpose of statutory construction is to ascertain the intent of the lawmakers so as to effectuate the purpose of the law.  (․ Palos Verdes Faculty Assn. v. Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified Sch. Dist. (1978) 21 Cal.3d 650, 658 [147 Cal.Rptr. 359].)   In order to determine this intent, we begin by examining the language of the statute.  (Lungren v. Deukmejian (1988) 45 Cal.3d 727, 735 [248 Cal.Rptr. 115, 755 P.2d 299].)   But “[i]t is a settled principle of statutory interpretation that language of a statute should not be given a literal meaning if doing so would result in absurd consequences which the Legislature did not intend.”  (Younger v. Superior Court (1978) 21 Cal.3d 102, 113 [145 Cal.Rptr. 674, 577 P.2d 1014]․)  Thus, “[t]he intent prevails over the letter, and the letter will, if possible, be so read as to conform to the spirit of the act.”  (Lungren v. Deukmejian, supra, [45 Cal.3d] at p. 735 [248 Cal.Rptr. 115, 755 P.2d 299].)   Finally, we do not construe statutes in isolation, but rather read every statute “with reference to the entire scheme of law of which it is part so that the whole may be harmonized and retain effectiveness.”  (Clean Air Constituency v. California State Air Resources Bd. (1974) 11 Cal.3d 801, 814 [114 Cal.Rptr. 577, 523 P.2d 617].)  (People v. Pieters (1991) 52 Cal.3d 894, 898–899 [276 Cal.Rptr. 918, 802 P.2d 420];  see also, Code Civ.Proc., §§ 1858–1859.)”  (Ruiz, supra, 32 Cal.App.4th at p. 1459 [38 Cal.Rptr.2d 836].)

The language at issue, an uncodified section 16 of the 1988 Statutes reads:  “The provisions of the Health and Safety Code amended by this act shall remain in effect only until January 1, 1994, at which time those sections as they read on December 31, 1988, shall have the same force and effect as if they had not been amended.”  (Stats.1988, ch. 1492, § 16, p. 5298.)

As we also noted in Ruiz, the Legislative Counsel's Digest for the 1988 Statutes states:  “ ‘This bill would ․ continue the temporary sections affected by this bill and would repeal the versions of certain of those sections which are scheduled to become effective on January 1, 1989, but sections amended by the bill would be repealed and their December 31, 1988, versions revived on January 1, 1994.’   It is reasonable to presume that the digest expresses the Legislature's intent.  (Maben v. Superior Court (1967) 255 Cal.App.2d 708, 713 [63 Cal.Rptr. 439].)”  (Ruiz, supra, 32 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1449–1450, fn. 10, 38 Cal.Rptr.2d 836.)

No matter how clear the intent of the Legislature might have been in 1988, the majority concludes the legislature had a change of heart in 1990 with the passage of Statutes 1990, Chapter 1200.   One might suppose that such a change would have been clearly and simply effectuated through the outright repeal of section 16.   However, section 16 was not repealed;  its language survived.   Instead, according to the majority, a partial repeal was accomplished when the Legislature amended four sections of the forfeiture law and inserted language specifying “[t]his section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 1994, and as of that date is repealed.”  (Stats.1990, ch. 1200, § 4, p. 5009.) 1

However, to the extent the language provides the affected sections survive only until January 1, 1994, it is consistent with section 16's directive they “shall remain in effect only until January 1, 1994.”   The critical question is whether the 1990 amendments abrogated section 16's command that on January 1, 1994, “those sections as they read on December 31, 1988, shall have the same force and effect as if they had not been amended.”   (Stats.1988, ch. 1492, § 16, p. 5298.)   The majority answers in the affirmative.   I prefer the view expressed by a different majority in Mundy v. Superior Court, supra, 31 Cal.App.4th at p. 1396, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 568;  “The primary consideration militating against this interpretation is that ‘repeals by implication are disfavored, being recognized only if two apparently conflicting laws cannot be harmonized.  [Citations.]  We are bound to maintain the integrity of both statutory provisions if the two can stand together.   [Citation.]’  (In re Manuel L. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 229, 235–236 [27 Cal.Rptr.2d 2, 865 P.2d 718].)   The blanket sunset clause and the 1990 sunset provisions are consistent to the extent they contain January 1, 1994, expiration dates.   Thus, the Legislature logically may have thought it unnecessary to reiterate the previously stated reversion language in 1990.   Nonetheless, the Legislature did reaffirm the original blanket clause in 1991.   Under this most recent expression of legislative intent, the subject provisions are to be interpreted on January 1, 1994, ‘as they read on December 31, 1988[.]’  (See Stats.1991, ch. 641, § 14.)   Accordingly, we find the Legislature contemplated and intended the revival of the Condit law on January 1, 1994.”  (Emphasis in original, fn. omitted.)

The majority recognizes the presumption against repeals by implication, sanctimoniously invoking it to dispatch the Attorney General's argument the 1991 amendment of section 11489 reconfirmed the Legislature's intent not to totally repeal crucial asset forfeiture statutes.   Whatever the merits of the Attorney General's argument regarding the 1991 amendments, why shouldn't the presumption against repeals by implication be applied to the 1990 Statutes?   The majority offers three reasons.   First, we are told the 1990 Statutes “expressly and unambiguously provided that the statutes at issue expired January 1, 1994,” and thereby affected a “repeal by express legislative action.”

“Nonsequitur” is the term commonly applied to such a statement.   There is no conflict between the language of section 16 instructing that the affected sections “shall remain in effect until January 1, 1994,” and the language of the 1990 statute providing “the statutes at issue expired January 1, 1994.”   The majority focus on the wrong language and thereby miss the whole issue.   The truly relevant language of section 16 is not the “sunset” clause, but the “sunrise” clause, providing that on January 1, 1994, “those sections as they read on December 31, 1988, shall have the same force and effect as if they had not been amended.”   There is no express repeal of this language.   The issue is whether the 1990 Statutes repealed the language by implication.   I think not and nothing in the majority opinion supports a contrary conclusion.

The majority also declare that “a competing, and more specific, rule of statutory construction holds forfeiture statutes are disfavored and thus are strictly construed.”   This rule would certainly be relevant in a case involving the interpretation of forfeiture statutes.   It has no application in the present case.   We are not here concerned with whether a property owner complied with claim requirements of the forfeiture law (Baca v. Minier, supra, 229 Cal.App.3d at p. 1265, 280 Cal.Rptr. 810) or the multitude of other issues that arise in the application of specific forfeiture provisions.   We are confronted with the more basic question of whether a functional asset forfeiture law still existed after January 1, 1994.   I question whether a rule requiring strict construction of forfeiture statutes should be applied to construe a statute out of existence;  the presumption against repeals by implication applies with equal force to preclude the inadvertent, unintended appeal of forfeiture statutes as it would to other statutes.

Lastly, the majority takes note of a Legislative Counsel's Opinion concluding California would have no asset forfeiture law when the 1988 Statutes expired on January 1, 1994.   Inasmuch as the opinion was “based on other grounds,” the Legislature was not apparently informed of section 16's significance to the current controversy.   We can only wonder what insights are provided in the Legislature's intent regarding repeal of section 16 by the Legislative Counsel's musings on related but different issues.

Under the majority's reasoning we are left with half an asset forfeiture law, with four of the nine provisions included in the 1988 statute repealed effective January 1, 1994, and the remainder yet in place though inoperative as a practical matter.   The Legislature did not intend this result as it made clear when it passed the 1994 law.2

Finally, I disagree with the majority's assertion that forfeitures are penal in nature, thereby invoking the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws.   The ex post facto issue is not so easily resolved, even accepting the majority's view that California was effectively without a viable forfeiture law for eight months.   Forfeitures may also be remedial, in which case ex post facto restrictions might not apply.3  In any event, I do not accept the majority's view regarding the January 1 sunset provisions;  there is no ex post facto violation even assuming the forfeiture provision is considered punitive.  Ruiz, supra, 32 Cal.App.4th 1442, 38 Cal.Rptr.2d 836 adequately explains why.

The judgment should be reversed.

FOOTNOTES

FN1. Undesignated statutory references are to the Health and Safety Code..  FN1. Undesignated statutory references are to the Health and Safety Code.

2.   The Attorney General's brief repeatedly refers to these provisions as “AB 1462.”   However, this bill was Assembly Bill Number 4162, Chapter 1492.  (See Stats.1988, Summary Digest, ch. 1492, p. 527.)

3.   Although the 1990 Statutes also amended sections 11488.1, 11488.2, and 11492, these three sections were not amended in the 1988 Statutes and thus were not subject to the provisions of Section 16.  (See fn. 7, post.)

4.   The versions of these sections found in the 1988 Statutes did not employ this language, and the 1990 Statutes nowhere contain the reversionary language found in Section 16.

5.   We requested, and the parties submitted, supplemental briefing to address the impact of the August 1994 legislation.   In this supplemental briefing, the Attorney General contends the August 1994 legislation renders discussion of any pre–1994 statutes moot.   We disagree, for reasons which will become apparent.

6.   The Legislature's failure to codify Section 16 is inexplicable.   As a general proposition, the wisdom of sunset clauses is questionable, as this case amply illustrates.   Requiring practitioners to hunt down an uncodified, unindexed sunset clause found in one version of the forfeiture statutes' tortuous legislative history borders on inanity.

7.   Section 16 applied only to “[t]he provisions of the Health and Safety Code amended by this act․”  (Stats.1988, ch. 1492, § 16, p. 5298, italics added.)  Sections 11488.1, 11488.2, and 11492, although amended by the 1990 Statutes, were not among the provisions amended in the 1988 Statutes, and thus Section 16 never applied to these provisions.

8.   With the amendment, Section 16 provided:  “The provisions of the Health and Safety Code amended by this act, except Section 11489, shall remain in effect only until January 1, 1994, at which time those sections as they read on December 31, 1988, shall have the same force and effect as if they had not been amended.”  (Stats.1991, ch. 641, § 14, italics added.)

9.   People v. $1,930 United States Currency (1995) 38 Cal.App.4th 834, 45 Cal.Rptr.2d 322 (“Trejo ”), People v. $31,500 United States Currency (1995) 32 Cal.App.4th 1442, 38 Cal.Rptr.2d 836 (“Ruiz ”), Mundy v. Superior Court (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 1396, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 568, and People v. One 1986 Toyota Pickup (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 254, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 29, are contrary, concluding the 1991 Statutes “reaffirmed [the Legislature's] intention to revive the 1988 law on January 1, 1994.”   (Mundy, supra, 31 Cal.App.4th at p. 1401, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 568;  accord Trejo, supra, 38 Cal.App.4th at p. 842, 45 Cal.Rptr.2d 322;  Ruiz, supra, 32 Cal.App.4th at p. 1450, fn. 10, 38 Cal.Rptr.2d 836;  One 1986 Toyota, supra, 31 Cal.App.4th at pp. 263–264, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 29.)   We note Ruiz, a decision of this court, concerned a different issue:  whether the 1987 law revived on January 1, 1994.   The parties in Ruiz did not raise, and Ruiz did not address, the issue we here resolve.   Mundy, which presented a fuller analysis of this issue, reasoned that repeals by implication are disfavored, but ignored the fact that its analysis acted to repeal by implication the specific sunset provisions of the 1990 Statutes by virtue of the 1991 amendment to Section 16.   (Mundy, supra, 31 Cal.App.4th at p. 1403, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 568.)   Accordingly, the dissent's description of the “wisdom of our prior holding in Ruiz ” (when Ruiz did not address the issue raised here) and “the logic of our colleagues in Mundy ” (when Mundy, due to its incomplete analysis of the 1990 and 1991 Statutes, ignored the effect of these statutes) is unconvincing.Generally, a statute “should not be given a literal meaning if doing so would result in absurd consequences which the Legislature did not intend.”  (People v. Broussard (1993) 5 Cal.4th 1067, 1071, 22 Cal.Rptr.2d 278, 856 P.2d 1134, citation and internal quotation marks omitted.)   Here, however, the Legislature's failure to track the forfeiture statutes left us with no statutory language to interpret:  The Legislature expressly and unambiguously provided that the statutes at issue expired January 1, 1994.   Thus, there is no repeal by implication here;  rather, there is repeal by express legislative action.   Moreover, a competing, and more specific, rule of statutory construction holds forfeiture statutes are disfavored and thus are strictly construed.  (See Baca v. Minier (1991) 229 Cal.App.3d 1253, 1265, 280 Cal.Rptr. 810.)   In addition, the Legislature knew these forfeiture statutes would lapse on January 1, 1994:  although based on other grounds, a November 1993 opinion of the Legislative Counsel concluded California would have no asset forfeiture law when the 1988 Statutes expired on January 1, 1994.   (Ops.Cal.Legis.Counsel, No. 30765 (Nov. 24, 1993) Controlled Substances:  Asset Forfeiture.)Contrary to the view expressed by the dissent, our job is to interpret what the Legislature has given us, not to weave a more desirable legislative scheme from tattered cloth.  (See Langsam v. City of Sausalito (1987) 190 Cal.App.3d 871, 877, 235 Cal.Rptr. 672 [“In construing a statute the function of the judge is simply to ascertain what in terms or substance is already there and not to insert what has been omitted or omit what has been inserted.   Under the guise of construction the court will not rewrite a law;  it will not supply an omission;  and it will not give the words an effect different from the plain and direct import of the terms used”];  internal quotation marks and citations omitted.)

10.   Indeed, at oral argument the Attorney General appeared to concede that these statutes lapsed, but contended any lapse was rendered irrelevant by passage of the August 1994 legislation.

11.   The 1994 legislation additionally repealed sections 11470, 11471.1, 11473.2, 11473.3, 11488, 11488.4, 11488.5, and 11494 of the 1987 Statutes;  amended sections 11471, 11488.1, 11488.6, and 11492 of the 1987 Statutes;  added replacement sections 11470, 11488, 11488.4, 11488.5, and 11494;  added new sections 11469 and 11495;  and amended the 1992 version of section 11489.  (Stats.1994, ch. 314, §§ 1–23.)

12.   The Fourth District's Mundy decision, which upheld section 11494's revival provisions, did so on the view that there was an existing law.  (Mundy v. Superior Court, supra, 31 Cal.App.4th at p. 1406, 37 Cal.Rptr.2d 568, see also Trejo, supra, 38 Cal.App.4th at pp. 844–845, 45 Cal.Rptr.2d 322 [upholding section 11494 and relying on Mundy 's analysis].)   However, there was no such continuation of the substantive law.  Section 11494 provides that the law in effect on December 31, 1993, applies to seizures or forfeitures initiated before January 1, 1994.   However, the 1994 legislation did not take effect until August 19, 1994.   The previous law, and with it, the State's authority over the seized property, lapsed on January 1, 1994.

13.   An apt analogy is the extension of a statute of limitations by an enactment passed after the statute has run on a criminal offense.  “It is settled law in California that a criminal statute of limitations period, in effect on the date of an alleged offense, may lawfully be extended before, but not after, it has run as to the offense.”  (Lynch v. Superior Court (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 1223, 1226, 39 Cal.Rptr.2d 414.)   When the statute has not yet run on a criminal offense, the extension of a limitations period is considered a change in procedure only, to which the ex post facto doctrine does not apply.  (People v. Masry (1986) 179 Cal.App.3d 1149, 1151, 225 Cal.Rptr. 174.)As Judge Learned Hand observed:  “Certainly it is one thing to revive a [penalty] already dead, and another to give it a longer lease of life.   The question turns upon how much violence is done to our instinctive feelings of justice and fair play.   For the state to assure a man that he has become safe from its pursuit, and thereafter to withdraw its assurance, seems to most of us unfair and dishonest.   But, while the chase is on, it does not shock us to have it extended beyond the time first set, or, if it does, the stake forgives it.”  (Falter v. United States (2d Cir.1928) 23 F.2d 420, 425–426.)

14.   Respondents also challenge section 11494 pursuant to Government Code section 9607, subdivision (b), which provides:  “If a later enacted statute that deletes or extends the date of termination or repeal of a previously enacted law is chaptered before such date of termination or repeal, the terminated or repealed law is revived when the later enacted statute becomes operative.”   Respondents argue the 1994 legislation cannot purport to apply the provisions “in effect on December 31, 1993,” because the legislation was not chaptered until August 1994—long after the January 1, 1994, expiration of the statutes which the 1994 legislation sought to revive.   We need not address this argument due to our resolution of this matter on other grounds.

1.   The 1990 statute also amended two other sections not affected by section 16, sections 11488.1 and 11488.2.   Neither section was critical to operation of the forfeiture law.

2.   The majority wisely caution that “our job is to interpret what the Legislature has given us, not to weave a more desirable legislative scheme from tattered cloth.”   Having no thoughts as to what legislative scheme might be more “desirable,” I have not undertaken to weave one.   Any contrary perception is a product of either the majority's vivid imagination or my own awkward prose.

3.   For a discussion of the ex post facto implications of forfeiture laws generally, see Kasten, Extending Constitutional Protection to Civil Forfeitures That Exceed Rough Remedial Compensation (1991) 60 Geo.Wash.L.Rev. 194;  Stahl, Asset Forfeiture, Burdens of Proof and the War on Drugs (1992) 83 J.Crim.L. & Criminology 274.)

NICHOLSON, Associate Justice.

BLEASE, Acting P.J., concurs.

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