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Name: People v. Medina
Case #: B171348
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/25/2005
Subsequent History: Revw. GRANTED 11/30/05: S171348

Felony convictions for which the defendant has not yet been sentenced nonetheless count as prior convictions for purposes of the Three Strikes law. The defendant was convicted of five counts of attempted kidnapping during commission of a carjacking and one count of attempted carjacking. After the reading of the verdict but before the jury was polled, the defendant allegedly assaulted the prosecutor and resisted the bailiff, conduct that led to counts one and two in the instant case. After the jury was polled but still prior to sentencing in the first case, the defendant made a criminal threat that led to count three in the instant case. The six convictions from the first case, along with one other earlier conviction, were charged as prior serious felonies under the strikes law. He was convicted of the substantive charges after a jury trial, and admitted the prior conviction allegations. On appeal, however, he argued that the trial court erred in sentencing him under the Three Strikes law, because six of the seven priors had not constituted “convictions” at the time he committed the offenses at issue in this case. The court of appeal rejected the argument, noting that the term “conviction” can have different meanings in different contexts, and agreeing with other courts that have held that for purposes of prior conviction enhancements, the conviction occurs at the time the verdict is rendered. The court further rejected the argument that the convictions did not occur until after the jury was polled, because it is the oral declaration and the reading of the verdict in open court that constitutes a conviction in this context.