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Name: People v. Thomas
Case #: B144240
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 08/01/2001
Subsequent History: None

In a trial for evading an officer, appellant was charged with two prior prison terms pursuant to Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (b). Defense counsel waived appellant’s right to a jury trial on the prior prison terms, and the trial court found them true. Appellant was not personally asked whether he waived his right to a jury trial on the priors. Following the court trial on the prison terms, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466. Here, the appellate court held that in terms of recidivism findings which enhance a sentence and are unrelated to the elements of a crime, Apprendi did not overrule Almendarez-Torres v. United States (1998) 523 U.S. 224, which is the controlling due process authority. Almendarez-Torres does not require full due process treatment of an issue of recidivism which enhances a sentence and is unrelated to an element of a crime. Therefore, no federal constitutional violation occurred because defense counsel waived appellant’s state statutory right to a jury trial on the issue of the prior convictions.