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Name: People v. Mendoza
Case #: B272222
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 11/15/2016
Summary

When a trial court grants Proposition 47 relief on an offense that is a subordinate term, the court has discretion to resentence the defendant on any component of the aggregate sentence. Mendoza pleaded guilty to several offenses and admitted various allegations in two different cases. In October 2012, the trial court sentenced him to an aggregate term of nine years in state prison on both cases. After the passage of Proposition 47, Mendoza petitioned to reduce a drug possession felony in one of his cases to a misdemeanor. The court granted the request and then resentenced Mendoza on both cases, modifying a previously concurrent 32-month term in the case unaffected by Proposition 47, and ordering that it be served consecutively. On appeal, Mendoza argued the trial court lacked jurisdiction to resentence him on the case that did not involve Proposition 47. Held: Affirmed as modified. “Proposition 47 does not limit the court to rigid sentencing options.” The trial court may reconsider any component underlying the sentence imposed when resentencing. In People v. Sellner (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 699, the court held that when a trial court grants Proposition 47 relief for a principal term, the court must resentence the defendant on the subordinate term. The same discretion is afforded when a trial court grants Proposition 47 relief on a subordinate term. In this case, the aggregate sentence on Mendoza’s two cases is “to be viewed as interlocking pieces.” When Proposition 47 applies to any count or related case, the trial court is therefore required to reconsider the entire aggregate term. Here, the court was entitled to sentence anew on the case that was not affected by Proposition 47.

The trial court erred by imposing a longer term than the original nine-year sentence. Penal Code section 1170.18, subdivision (e) provides that “under no circumstances may resentencing under this section result in the imposition of a term longer than the original sentence.” When the trial court resentenced on Mendoza’s two cases, it imposed a nine-year term on one case and a consecutive one-year term on the other case where the offense had been reduced to a misdemeanor. The total term of 10 years exceeded the nine years initially imposed. The one-year term on the case affected by Proposition 47 was ordered to run concurrently to the other case.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B272222.PDF