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Name: People v. Christianson (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 300
Case #: D081330
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/17/2023

Defendant is entitled to a full resentencing under Penal Code section 1172.75 (Senate Bill No. 483) based on prior prison term enhancements under section 667.5(b) that were imposed but stayed. In 2016, pursuant to a stipulated sentence, defendant received a nine-year sentence based on several felony counts. The court stayed two section 667.5(b) prior prison term enhancements. In 2022, CDCR identified defendant as an inmate potentially eligible for relief under section 1172.75, but the trial court corrected the original sentence by administratively striking the previously stayed section 667.5(b) enhancements, and thus concluded resentencing was unnecessary. Defendant appealed. Held: Reversed. Section 1172.75(a) states that enhancements under section 667.5(b), with limited exceptions, are legally invalid. Reading section 1172.75 in the context of the entire statutory scheme, as well as the stated legislative intent, and the legislative history, the court here was “not convinced” that the Legislature intended the word “imposed” to be limited to enhancements that were imposed and executed. While 1172.75(d)(1) requires the trial court to impose a “lesser sentence than the one originally imposed,” if “imposed” is read to include both “imposed and executed” and “imposed and stayed” throughout the statute, then the sentence “originally imposed” also includes any additional terms that were imposed and stayed, and removing the stayed term from the abstract of judgment results in a “lesser sentence than the one originally imposed.” The California Supreme Court in People v. Gonzalez (2008) 43 Cal.4th 1118 rejected the interpretation of the word “impose” as encompassing both impose and execute and impose and stay, in the context of section 12022.53(f). However, the Gonzalez court reached that conclusion after acknowledging the potential ambiguity in the term, by construing the word in the context of the entire statutory scheme at issue before it, in sections 12022.5 and 12022.53. Section 1172.75’s statutory context and its legislative history support the court’s interpretation that imposed encompasses enhancements that were imposed and stayed. [Editor’s Notes: (1) The court addressed the relevance of defendant’s stipulated plea agreement in a footnote: “We note that while this case was pending another court concluded that seeking further sentence reductions based on other statutory changes in a resentencing based on section 1172.75 may impact the prosecution’s ability to withdraw from a prior plea agreement. (People v. Coddington (2023) 96 Cal.App.5th 562.) (2) There is a split of authority based on the holding in this case and that in People v. Rhodius (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 38 [full resentencing not required under SB 483 where prison priors were stayed and not executed].]