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Name: People v. Renteria (2023) 96 Cal.App.5th 1276
Case #: H049980
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/18/2023
Subsequent History: Ordered published 11/8/2023

Defendant is entitled to a full resentencing under Penal Code section 1172.75 based on prior prison term enhancements (Pen. Code, § 667.5(b)) that were imposed but stayed. In 2018, defendant was sentenced to 34 years in prison on 18 drug- and gang-related offenses. The Court of Appeal remanded with instructions for the trial court to strike prior prison term enhancements and to exercise discretion as to whether to strike a prior serious felony enhancement. After the case was remanded, several more changes in the sentencing laws took effect. However, the trial court declined to conduct a full resentencing to apply the new laws and decided not to strike the prior serious felony enhancement. Defendant appealed. Held: Reversed and remanded for a full resentencing. The trial court declined to apply section 1172.75 (which provides for a full resentencing) on the ground that the section applies only to an enhancement that has been “imposed” (§ 1172.75(a)), and here no prior prison term enhancements were imposed because they had been stayed. The Court of Appeal disagreed. The word “impose” applies to enhancements that are “imposed and then executed” as well as those that are “imposed and then stayed.” As such, the prison priors must be stricken, and defendant is entitled to a full resentencing that includes changes in the sentencing laws, such as SB 567 and AB 518. [Editor’s Note: There is a split of authority based on the holding in this case and that in People v. Rhodius, E080064 (Nov. 13, 2023) (full resentencing not required under section 1172.75 where prison priors were stayed and not executed). The People filed a petition for rehearing in this case and the Court of Appeal requested that defendant file a response to address the opinion in Rhodius.]

The “shall be dismissed” language in Penal Code section 1385(c)(2), added by Senate Bill No. 81, does not require dismissal of an enhancement where dismissal would endanger public safety. Although section 1385(c)(2) states that the court shall dismiss an enhancement where there are multiple enhancements or the enhancement would result in a sentence over 20 years, the court is not required to do so if it finds dismissing the enhancement would endanger public safety. To interpret dismissal as mandatory would implicitly repeal some enhancements and undermine the purpose of the statute. SB 81’s legislative history supports the court’s interpretation. In coming to this conclusion the court agreed with the analysis of all other appellate courts on this issue, including People v. Lipscomb (2022) 87 Cal.App.5th 9, 17-21, People v. Anderson (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 233, 238-241, review granted Apr. 19, 2023, S278786; People v. Mendoza (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 287, 294-297; and People v. Walker (2022) 86 Cal.App.5th 386, 396-398, review granted Mar. 22, 2023, S278309.