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Name: People v. Masters
Case #: C038004
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/28/2002
Subsequent History: None

The trial court acted within its discretion in denying a referral for an evaluation to determine if appellant should be confined for drug rehabilitation at CRC. Appellant had an extensive history of drug offenses, including poor performance on probation. Trial counsel had requested the referral at sentencing, citing that his client was addicted to methamphetamine, and that defendant had not demonstrated a pattern of criminality sufficient to deny him a CRC referral. The People opposed the referral citing defendant was a “dope dealer.” The court’s comments at sentencing demonstrated that it accepted the claim of addiction but noted that instead of seeking treatment for his addiction when given an earlier chance, appellant chose to become more deeply involved in it. The court’s exercise of discretion under Welfare and Institutions Code section 3051 is a 2-step process: the court must determine if the defendant is addicted or in danger of becoming so; and, if so, the court must either suspend execution of sentence and order initiation of CRC proceedings or find him unsuitable. This the trial court did by accepting the claim of addiction and appellant’s criminal orientation as reflected in his pattern of criminality. “The important consideration for purposes of appellate review, . . . is not whether the trial court uses the magic words such as ‘a pattern of criminality’ or even whether the court itself recites on the record each and every fact in support of its sentencing choice. Rather, the important consideration is whether the record includes ‘some specification of where the court was looking in making its finding of [a pattern of criminality]. In other words, was it looking at the defendant’s prior convictions, his prior performance on probation or parole, the nature and seriousness of the current offense, or some other facts evidencing criminality?’ ” [Citing People v. Granado (1994) 22 Cal.App.4th 194, 202-203.] “To the extent that People v. McGinnis (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 592, requires a more exacting statement of reasons we respectfully disagree with it.” In the unpublished portion of this opinion the court imposed a “tedious, but necessary housecleaning” in the form of a mandatory lab criminal fee “applicable to almost all drug-related convictions” under Health and Safety Code section 11372.5, subdivision (a). The lab fee is mandatory, and “the error can neither be waived nor ignored.” (People v. Smith (2001) 24 Cal.4th 849, 853-854.) Accordingly, he matter was remanded with directions to the trial court to impose the mandatory fee and penalty assessments: $50 + $85 = $135.