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Name: People v. McDaniels
Case #: A149015
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/17/2018

Where Senate Bill No. 620 applies retroactively to case pending on appeal, remand is necessary where the record contains no clear indication that the trial court will not exercise its discretion to reduce defendant’s sentence. McDaniels was convicted of two offenses, including murder, and the jury found true three firearm enhancements (Pen. Code, § 12022.53, subds. (b) (personal use of a firearm), (c) (personal and intentional discharge of a firearm), & (d) (personal and intentional discharge of a firearm causing death). At the time it sentenced McDaniels, the trial court had no discretion to strike the three firearm enhancements. He was sentenced to a total term of 50 years to life. While his appeal was pending, SB 620 became effective, which vests sentencing courts with discretion to strike or dismiss firearm enhancements, including the three imposed in McDaniels’ case, in the interests of judgment. Held: Convictions affirmed, but case remanded for the superior court to consider its discretion under SB 620. Although SB 620 applies retroactively to non-final judgments, there is a recurring issue of whether a remand is necessary in pending appeals to allow a trial court to exercise its discretion under SB 620. After reviewing relevant case law, the Court of Appeal concluded “a remand is required unless the record shows that the trial court clearly indicated when it originally sentenced the defendant that it would not in any event have stricken a firearm enhancement.” Based on the record in this case, remand was proper for the trial court to consider whether to strike the three firearm enhancements. [Editor’s Note: The Court of Appeal here disagreed with the standard for remand applied in People v. Almanza (2018) 21 Cal.App.5th 1308, but rehearing was later granted in this case.]

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