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Name: People v. Atkins
Case #: B253416
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 09/04/2014
Subsequent History: Review granted 11/12/2014: S221786
Summary

Inmate is eligible for Strike Reform resentencing even though his commitment offenses included serious felonies, because he was not serving an indeterminate term for those offenses. In 2002, Atkins was convicted of four counts of making criminal threats (Pen. Code, § 422) and one count of stalking. He had several strike priors. At his sentencing, the trial court struck the priors as to three of the criminal threats counts and imposed determinate terms. It imposed a life three strikes sentence on the stalking count and a like term on one criminal threats count, which was stayed (Pen. Code, § 654). After the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012 (Prop. 36) was approved by voters, Atkins filed a petition for resentencing under the Act, which the trial court summarily denied because Atkins’ commitment offenses included criminal threats, a serious felony. He appealed. Held: Reversed and remanded. Regarding retrospective application, the Act allows qualified defendants to petition for recall of their indeterminate three strikes life term and be resentenced as two strike offenders. (Pen. Code, § 1170.126.) “In order for defendant’s criminal threats conviction to bar resentencing, he would have to be subject to an indeterminate sentence for that offense, which he is not.” Atkins is serving a life three strikes term for stalking, a nonserious felony. Absent an express statutory provision, a stayed sentence may not be used for any punitive purpose. Further, Atkins was not convicted of any enumerated disqualifying offense (Pen. Code, § 1170.126, subd. (e)(2)). Based on the unambiguous language of section 1170.126, subdivision (e), Atkins was eligible for resentencing. [Editor’s Note: Justice Kriegler dissented, finding section 1170.126 ambiguous in this context, which mandates consideration of voter intent in enacting the law.]