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Name: People v. Taulton
Case #: G033673
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/31/2005
Subsequent History: rvw. den. 9/7/05

Following a bifurcated trial, appellant was convicted of burglary. The court then found two prior convictions true based solely on the introduction of a “969b” packet. He was sentenced to the upper term based on his record as a recidivist. On appeal, he argued that the true findings, which were based on documentary evidence only, violated his right to confrontation under Crawford v. Washington. In a supplemental brief, he argued that the court erred in imposing the upper term based on facts neither alleged in the information nor proven to a jury, in violation of his rights as interpreted by Blakely v. Washington. The appellate court rejected both arguments and affirmed. Records of prior convictions are not “testimonial” and therefore not subject to Crawford’s confrontation requirement. The records were beyond the scope of Crawford, and the court properly admitted and considered them. Further, the fact of appellant’s recidivism based on prior convictions fall within the exception announced in Apprendi. Even if there was Blakely error, it was harmless because the facts relied upon by the court were uncontroverted and supported by overwhelming evidence. Therefore, reversal was not required.