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Name: People v. Demirdjian
Case #: B188113
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 10/24/2006
Summary

Appellant was 15 years old when he committed two murders with special circumstances. He was first sentenced to two terms of life without the possibility of parole (LWOPP). His convictions were affirmed. After the remittitur issued in that case, the Attorney General wrote the trial court, advising that the sentence was unauthorized, because a term of LWOPP cannot be imposed where a minor was under 16 when the crime was committed. The trial court vacated the original sentence and resentenced appellant to two consecutive life terms. In this appeal, appellant argued that the sentence violated the cruel and unusual punishment clause of both the California and U.S. Constitutions, and that the punishment was not statutorily authorized. The appellate court upheld the sentences, finding that the murders were premeditated, particularly savage and unprovoked. Appellant was not a naive youth, but had firearms in his possession and was shown to be dealing narcotics. The fact that the United States Supreme Court has held that execution of a person under 18 when the crime was committed is excessive does not bar a life sentence. Further, the sentence was valid under the applicable statutes.