Does the rule against interpreting statutory language "in a manner that would render some part of the statute surplusage" support a different interpretation?

California, United States of America

The following excerpt is from People v. Rizo, 22 Cal.4th 681, 94 Cal.Rptr.2d 375, 996 P.2d 27 (Cal. 2000):

The rule against interpreting statutory language "in a manner that would render some part of the statute surplusage" also does not support a different interpretation. (People v. Cruz (1996) 13 Cal.4th 764, 782, 55 Cal.Rptr.2d 117, 919 P.2d 731.) This rule is only a "guide[] and will not be used to defeat legislative intent" or "provide an absurd result." (Id. at pp. 782-783, 55 Cal.Rptr.2d 117, 919

[94 Cal.Rptr.2d 380]

P.2d 731.) Our interpretation of section 113, at most, makes the statutory term "true" a minor redundancy without defeating the intent of the voters. In contrast, defendants' interpretation contravenes voter intent by disregarding the syntax of the statute. If California voters wished to make the citizenship of the recipient an element of the crime, they could have enacted a statute prohibiting the manufacture, distribution or sale of "false documents" that rather than "to ""conceal the true citizenship or resident alien status of another person." ( 113, italics added.) Thus, our interpretation is more consistent with voter intent despite the minor redundancy.

[94 Cal.Rptr.2d 380]

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