caclr_header_template1 California Criminal Law Reporter

Recent Defense Victories

The trial court had discretion under SB 620 to impose a lesser related enhancement under section 12022.53, subd.(b) or (c). (856)
Defendant moved to recall his sentence based on recent amendments to Penal Code section 12022.53 that gave the court discretion to strike a firearm enhancement. However, at the new sentencing hearing, the court did not understand the scope of its discretion. The choices were not merely strike the 25 years- to-life enhancement under section 12022.53, subd. (d) or reimpose the original term. The court also had the option of modifying the enhancement to a “lesser included” term under section 12022.53, subd.(b) or (c), which carry lesser terms of 10 years or 20 years, respectively. The matter was remanded so that the court could properly exercise its discretion.
People v. Morrison ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 3127 (1st Dist. 2019) April 11, 2019 (A154092)
Section 3051 violates equal protection by denying youthful offender parole hearings for those sentenced under the one strike law. (134) (816)
Defendants were convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault and robbery based on incidents that occurred when they were 19 years old. They received life terms under the one strike law. The sentences were not cruel and unusual. However, the sentences violated equal protection provisions in that they were excluded from the provisions of Penal Code section 3051, which mandates youthful -offender parole hearings for most who receive de facto life sentences for crimes they committed at or before age 25.
People v. Edwards ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 3069 (1st Dist. 2019) April 10, 2019 (A147103)
The matter was remanded for resentencing to allow the court to dismiss the section 667(a) enhancement even though the defendant had agreed to a stipulated sentence. (848)
Defendant entered a guilty plea to one count of residential burglary and admitted to a prior serious felony allegation. The court then sentenced him to the stipulated nine year prison term. He then sought to have the matter remanded for resentencing after the enactment of SB 1393, which gave the court discretion to strike the five year serious felony conviction enhancement. The matter was remanded for a new sentencing hearing although the judge could consider whether dismissing the Penal Code section 667, subd. (a) enhancement was comparable with the plea agreement.
People v. Stamps ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 3013 (1st Dist. 2019) April 09, 2019 (A154091)
Prosecutor’s reference to jury selection notes when offering reasons after Batson/Wheeler motion waives work product protection. (639) (652) (940)
The prosecutor’s jury selection notes, when referenced by a prosecutor offering a neutral reason for exercising a peremptory strike, are discoverable by the defendant as part of a postconviction writ of habeas corpus discovery.
People v. Superior Court (Jones) ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 3002 (4th Dist. 2019) April 09, 2019 (D074028)
Serial denials of parole resulted in a constitutionally excessive sentence, and where defendant had been released on parole, his parole supervision was terminated. (812)
Defendant pled guilty to kidnapping for robbery at age 17, and was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. He became eligible for parole in 1996, and over the next 19 years his parole was repeatedly denied. He filed a habeas petition claiming his sentence was cruel and/or unusual. While the petition was pending he was released on parole. It was thereafter determined that the sentence was cruel and unusual under the state and federal constitutions. Defendant remained in constructive custody under parole supervision so the petition was not moot. He had already served a prison term grossly disproportionate to his offense and so he was released from all forms of custody, including parole supervision.
People v. Frandsen ____ Cal.App.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 2933 (1st Dist. 2019) April 08, 2019 (B280329)
The Stone rule allowing a trial court to accept a partial verdict of acquittal as to a charged greater offense survives Blueford under the California Constitution’s double jeopardy clause.
Stone v. Superior Court (1982) 31 Cal.3d 503, concluded that a court must accept a partial verdict of acquittal as to a charged greater offense when a jury has expressly indicated it has acquitted on the greater offense but had deadlocked on uncharged lesser included offenses. In Blueford v. Arkansas (2012) 566 U.S. 599, the court found federal double jeopardy principles do not require a court to accept a partial verdict. However, the Stone rule survives as an interpretation of the state constitution’s double jeopardy clause.
People v. Aranda ____ Cal.5th ____, ____ Cal.Rptr.3d ____, 2019 D.A.R. 2871 (2019) April 04, 2019 (S214116)