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Name: People v. Nguyen
Case #: S154847
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/02/2009

The United States Constitution allows use of a prior juvenile adjudication as a “strike” even though there was no right to a jury trial in the juvenile proceeding. In adult felony proceedings, the complaint charged a prior juvenile adjudication as a strike, it was found true, and appellant’s sentence for his assault conviction was doubled. On appeal, appellant contended that the Apprendi rule barred use of the prior juvenile adjudication as he had not had a right to a jury trial on the prior offense. The appellate court agreed and reversed. The California Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal. California statutory law afforded appellant the right to have the jury determine the existence of the sentencing fact (whether he suffered the prior “strike”) but appellant waived that right. Nothing in Apprendi interferes under these circumstances with the sentencing court’s traditional authority to impose increased punishment on the basis of recidivism evidenced by a constitutionally valid prior adjudication. J. Kennard dissented.