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Name: People v. Valdez
Case #: B222463
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 04/05/2011
Subsequent History: opn. mod. on 4/25/2011

Under the “One Strike” law, the court must impose a life term when defendant has been convicted in the present case of committing the requisite offense against more than one victim; the statute contains no limitation of terms in a particular case. Appellant was convicted of several counts of Penal Code 288, subdivision (a) against three victims. As to each offense, the jury also found true the One Strike provision pursuant to Penal Code section 667.61, subdivision (b), providing for the enhanced punishment where defendant has been convicted in the present case of committing an offense specified in subdivision (c) against more than one victim. Appellant was sentenced to consecutive life terms for four of the counts and concurrent life terms for the remaining three. The appellate court rejected appellant’s contention that under the applicable 1998 version of section 667.61, imposition of multiple life terms for the offenses for the one victim were impermissible because multiple terms can be imposed only once for each crime victim. Applying rules of statutory construction, the court found that the legislative intent for a life sentence for each qualifying offense was easily determined by the plain language used in the statute. The court also rejected appellant’s claim that he fell within the 2010 version of the statute allowing for court discretion in determining if the sentences were required to be consecutive or concurrent. Here, the record clearly indicated the court was exercising its discretion in choosing the consecutive sentences it imposed.