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Name: People v. Perez
Case #: G046032
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/04/2013

The One Strike Law, as applied to defendant, who committed the offenses when he was 16-years old, is not unconstitutional. Appellant was convicted as an adult of forcible sex offenses committed when he was 16-years old, and sentenced under the “One Strike” law to two consecutive terms of 15 years to life, for a total of 30 years to life. The appellate court rejected his argument that the One Strike law (Pen. Code, sec. 667.61, subd. (b)) was unconstitutional because it did not allow for consideration of appellant’s diminished culpability as a result of his status as a minor. The court reasoned that because the case was not an LWOP case with the state’s most severe penalties at stake, it does not fall within the scope of the Roper-Graham-Miller-Caballero line of cases, which consider defendant’s status as a minor in assessing whether a life sentence is cruel and unusual. Under the court’s calculations, appellant will be eligible for parole when he reaches age 47, allowing for “some meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.” (Graham v. Florida (2010) 560 U.S. __ [176 L.Ed.2d 825, 130 S.Ct. 2011].) It is up to the Legislature to modify the sentencing laws to provide for such discretion.