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Name: People v. Haller
Case #: C056282
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/09/2009

A life sentence with a minimum term of 78 years for stalking offense was not cruel and unusual punishment. Appellant was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 78 years for multiple threats and stalking offenses, with multiple prior convictions including two prior strikes. In the published portion of the opinion, the appellate court addressed appellant’s challenge to his sentence as cruel and unusual punishment under the state and federal Constitutions. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding it “ludicrous” to view the criminal threats as low grade felonies in light of appellant’s actions in going to the victims’ home armed with a knife and a stated intent to carry out his threats. In addition, the crimes are not viewed in isolation but together with his “relentless” recidivism. Appellant’s sentence was not out of proportion to the punishment in California for commission of multiple, serious stalking/assault/criminal threat offenses by a third strike offender, nor does California have to “march in lockstep with other states” in fashioning a penal code.