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Name: People v. Grayson
Case #: A114556
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 09/28/2007
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 12/19/07: S157952

The trial court properly relied on appellant’s prior juvenile adjudications in imposing an upper term sentence. Appellant was sentenced to the upper term in state prison based on the planning and sophistication of the offense and the vulnerability of the victims, as well as the fact that his prior juvenile adjudications were of increasing seriousness. One mitigating factor was cited, but the court found it was not enough to outweigh the aggravating factors. He appealed this sentence on the ground that the trial court lacked authority to impose the upper term based on aggravating factors neither found true by the jury nor admitted by him, under Blakely/Cunningham. The appellate court found that the issue was not waived on appeal because appellant was sentenced after Blakely was decided but before Cunningham. As such, it would be unreasonable to expect trial counsel to have objected to the imposition of the upper term in anticipation of the United States Supreme Court’s subsequent disapproval of Black I in Cunningham. Appellant contended that a single valid aggravating factor was insufficient because of the requirement that the factors be balanced. Further, prior juvenile adjudications are not “prior convictions” within the meaning of Apprendi, and thus were not valid aggravating factors absent a jury trial, which he was not afforded. The appellate court rejected his arguments, finding that under Black II, one valid aggravating factor was sufficient to impose the upper term sentence. Further, a single aggravating fact of a prior juvenile adjudication which has been established in accordance with constitutional and statutory requirements is sufficient to authorize a trial court to impose the upper term sentence. Further, there is no requirement that prior convictions be established by jury trial, and therefore the court properly relied on the aggravating fact of appellant’s prior juvenile adjudications in imposing the upper term.