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Name: People v. Machado
Case #: B249557
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/30/2014
Subsequent History: Review granted 7/30/2014: S219819

Defendant serving multiple third-strike terms may petition for Strike Reform resentencing where his commitment offenses include both serious and nonserious felonies. Defendant, who was serving consecutive third-strike sentences for two 1998 offenses (first degree burglary and second degree burglary) petitioned for Strike Reform resentencing. His petition was denied because of his first degree burglary offense. He appealed. Held: Reversed. The Three Strikes Reform Act amended the strikes law to apply a life term only when a defendant’s current offense is serious/violent or the prosecution pleads and proves a disqualifying factor. It also created section 1170.126, which allows inmates currently serving a third-strike term to petition for resentencing if the commitment offense is not serious/violent, the current offense is not for an enumerated nonserious offense, and the inmate has no disqualifying priors. Here, the court concluded that the statute permits a qualified defendant to seek resentencing on a life term imposed for a nonserious felony, notwithstanding the fact he is also serving a life term for a serious felony. Use of the word “any” to modify “person” in subdivision (b) reflects that section 1170.126 was intended to be broadly construed to allow the filing of a petition unless expressly excluded. Subdivision (f), which allows a court to deny resentencing where it concludes the defendant remains a danger, provides a fail-safe to assure dangerous offenders will not be released. Nothing in the Proposition 36 ballot pamphlet addressed this issue, but allowing petitions under these circumstances would effectuate the voters’ dual intent in enacting the statute of saving the state money while continuing to incarcerate dangerous offenders.