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Name: People v. Hernandez
Case #: H043551
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/28/2017
Summary

Defendant’s indeterminate life sentence under the Three Strikes law for robbery conviction did not preclude Proposition 47 relief. In 1997, defendant Hernandez was convicted of second degree robbery and petty theft with a specified prior conviction and two prior strike allegations were found true. For the robbery, defendant was sentenced to an indeterminate term of 25 years to life under the Three Strikes law. His petty theft term was stayed. In 2015, defendant petitioned to have his petty theft with a prior conviction reduced to a misdemeanor under Proposition 47. The trial court denied relief on the ground that his conviction for robbery was a disqualifying factor because he received an indeterminate life sentence. Defendant appealed. Held: Reversed and remanded. Penal Code section 1170.18, subdivision (i) precludes resentencing under Proposition 47 for defendants who have previously been convicted of certain disqualifying offenses specified in Penal Code section 667, subdivision (e)(2)(c)(iv), including “any serious and/or violent felony offense punishable in California by life imprisonment or death.” Applying principles of statutory interpretation, the court concluded that the offense itself must be punishable by an indeterminate term in order to qualify as “an offense punishable in California by life imprisonment or death.” The offense of robbery has an associated statutory punishment of two, three, or five years. Although defendant’s robbery conviction was punished by an indeterminate life term under the Three Strikes law, robbery itself is not a “serious and/or violent felony offense punishable in California by life imprisonment or death” under section 667, subdivision (e)(2)(c)(iv)(VIII). Accordingly, the trial court erred in denying defendant’s petition on this ground.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/H043551.PDF