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Name: People v. Trammel (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 415
Case #: A166756
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/21/2023

Trial court violated state double jeopardy clause in imposing a greater prison term after remand for resentencing because the initial sentence was improperly harsh. In Trammel’s first appeal, the Court of Appeal remanded for resentencing because the trial court had improperly failed to stay the sentence on two counts under Penal Code section 654. On resentencing, the trial judge restructured multiple counts, producing a sentence that was four months longer than the initial sentence. Trammel appealed again, arguing that this violated the state double jeopardy bar against increased sentencing following a successful appeal, as set forth in People v. Henderson (1963) 60 Cal.2d 482. Held: Reversed. The court recounted relevant case law on the Henderson rule and the exception to it for unauthorized sentences. (See People v. Serrato (1973) 9 Cal.3d 753, disapproved on another ground as stated in People v. Fosselman (1983) 33 Cal.3d 572, 583, fn.1.) It concluded the exception applies only where the initial sentence was both unauthorized and unduly lenient to the defendant. Even where the exception applies, the trial court may impose a greater sentence on remand only when that is legally necessary to correct the unauthorized leniency, despite the trial court’s ability to restructure the sentences on other counts. The trial court here erred because the sentence was initially improperly harsh, not improperly lenient, and so the exception to the Henderson rule did not apply. The court was, thus, barred from imposing a sentence greater than that initially imposed. [Editor’s Notes: (1) The Court of Appeal noted a lack of consistency among appellate courts analyzing issues such as this and offered its own interpretation of how Serrato should be applied at a resentencing. The court noted that it found aspects of Serrato troubling. (2) The court also addressed an error in custody credits.]