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Name: People v. Hiller (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 335
Case #: A165126
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/09/2023

Prior convictions for robbery in Washington State did not support prior serious or violent conviction sentencing enhancement in California. The trial court found true the allegations that defendant had been convicted of three serious or violent felonies in Washington, specifically robbery. These offenses were used to treat his current offenses as third strike offenses and to impose two five-year enhancements. Hiller appealed, arguing the evidence did not support the trial court’s findings related to his prior convictions in Washington State. Held: True findings of prior convictions reversed, remanded. The elements of robbery in Washington are broader than those in California, as Washington law does not include an intent to deprive the victim of property permanently. After analyzing People v. Gallardo (2017) 4 Cal.5th 120, and related cases, the Court of Appeal concluded the trial court erred in treating the Washington robberies as serious or violent felonies for purposes of California law because no jury found—and nothing in the record showed defendant admitted—that he intended permanently to deprive his victims of their property. “Although defendant admitted the elements of the offense in pleading guilty to it and agreed the [Washington] court could look to the declarations of probable cause to find a factual basis, there is no indication in this record that he admitted the truth of any statements in the declarations of probable cause.” Even if he had admitted to the factual allegations in the probable cause declarations, they did not conclusively establish (although they strongly suggested) his intent to keep the property. The court remanded for a new hearing on the prior convictions at which the People may present evidence of any admissions made by defendant when he entered his guilty pleas.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: