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Name: People v. Martin
Case #: B242447
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 12/16/2013
Subsequent History: Review granted 3/26/2014: S216139
Summary

Juvenile defendant’s sentence of two consecutive life terms is constitutional because newly enacted Penal Code section 3051 will provide defendant with a meaningful opportunity to obtain release during his lifetime. Martin was 17 years old when he entered a residence, stole property, and shot at the occupants, physically injuring one of them. A jury convicted him of residential robbery, first degree burglary, and two counts of attempted murder with firearm enhancements. He was sentenced to 45 years plus two consecutive life terms. On appeal, he contended that the sentence was cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment as he would be 76-years-old at the time of his first parole eligibility hearing and his predicted life expectancy is 64.6 years. Held: Affirmed. In 2013, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill No. 260 (2013 Reg. Sess.), which amended Penal Code sections 3041, 3046, and 4801, and added section 3051. The new legislation provides for “youth offender parole hearings” to consider release for offenders who committed specified crimes as juveniles and were sentenced to prison. Such hearings are to take into consideration the diminished culpability of juveniles because of their age and can occur as early as the 15th year of incarceration, depending on the sentence. This legislation will provide Martin with a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation, thereby answering the constitutional concerns addressed in Graham v. Florida, Miller v. Alabama, and People v. Caballero. Because Martin will receive a youth offender parole hearing at the age of 44, his present sentence is not a defacto LWOP. Further, he is not entitled to a new sentencing hearing in light of the new legislation.