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Name: People v. Dunckhurst
Case #: C074341
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/30/2014
Subsequent History: Review granted 9/17/2014: S219745

Defendant is ineligible for Strike Reform resentencing where he committed disqualifying offense after his third-strike sentence was imposed. In 2005 defendant received a third-strike sentence for vehicle taking (Veh. Code, § 10851, subd. (a)). While in custody for that offense, he assaulted an inmate (Pen. Code, § 4500) and received a 30-year-to-life sentence in 2010. In 2013, he petitioned to recall his 2005 third-strike sentence under the Strike Reform Act of 2012. The court found he was disqualified because of the 2010 assault conviction. On appeal he argued the assault was not a “prior conviction” under section 1170.126, subdivision (e)(3) (statutory implementation of the Act). Held: Affirmed. The Act changed the strike law by reserving a life sentence for cases where the current offense is either serious or violent, or the prosecution has pled and proved an enumerated disqualifying factor. It also created a post-conviction procedure whereby a qualified defendant may seek recall of his life term and resentencing. There are three requirements for resentencing: the commitment offense may not be serious/violent; the defendant did not commit one of the offenses listed in subdivision (e)(2) of section 1170.126; and the defendant has (present tense) no disqualifying priors under subdivision (e)(3). Disqualifying priors include felonies carrying a life term. Defendant’s 2010 assaultive crime is punishable by life imprisonment. The statute does not require that the “prior” offense precede the conviction for which the defendant received a three strikes sentence, only that it occurred before the court decides whether the defendant is eligible for resentencing. As a result, the trial court properly found that defendant was ineligible for resentencing based on the 2010 assault.