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Name: People v. Campbell
Case #: D034190
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 07/11/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 10/25/00

California’s “one strike” law, Penal Code section 667.61, requires the trial court to impose a life sentence when the defendant is convicted of a specified sexual offense, and the People plead and prove one or more specified aggravating circumstances. Here, the People pled that the victim was tied or bound in the commission of the offense within the meaning of section 667.61, subdivision (e)(6). The trial court, however, found taping the victims eyes here did not fall within the meaning of this aggravating circumstance and granted a Penal Code section 995 motion to set aside the aggravating circumstance. Acknowledging the issue appears to be one of first impression, the Court of Appeal held this finding was not a factual one, but a legal one of whether the statute applies to the covering of the eyes alone, or requires the binding to be of the hands and/or feet as well. Deducing that the purpose of the aggravating factor is to punish more severely those defendants who render their victims more vulnerable through the use of ties or bindings, the Court of Appeal concluded that binding the victim’s eyes here made her more vulnerable despite the fact that appellant’s objective was merely to prevent his identification. The Court of Appeal rejected appellant’s claim that the “tying and binding” aggravating circumstance of the “one strike” law, Penal Code section 667.61, subdivision (e)(6), was void for vagueness. According to the court, a reasonable and practical construction of the phrase “tying or binding” would necessarily include those actions which render a victim more vulnerable, and would include the binding of the head to deprive the victim of her visual senses.