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Name: People v. Wortham
Case #: A138769
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 10/24/2013
Subsequent History: Review granted 1/15/2014: S214844
Summary

Trial court’s initial determination that a petitioner is ineligible for resentencing under the Three Strikes Reform Act is an appealable order. Appellant was convicted of first degree burglary and received an indeterminate life sentence under the Three Strikes law in 2000. In 2012 the Reform Act amended the law to provide a two-step process for eligible defendants sentenced to an indeterminate life term under the previous version of the law to petition for resentencing (Pen. Code, § 1170.126, subd. (f)). At the first step, the court determines if the petitioner is eligible for resentencing, with eligibility dependent on factors which include the nature of the commitment offense. If petitioner is eligible, the court resentences appellant under the Reform Act unless it determines that appellant would pose an unreasonable danger to society. Here, the trial court denied the petition at the first step and appellant filed an opening brief pursuant to People v. Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436. Disagreeing with People v. Leggett (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 846, the appellate court found that the order was appealable because it affects the substantial rights of the party (Pen. Code, § 1237, subd. (b)). However, because appellant’s commitment offense is a serious felony, he is not eligible for resentencing. [Editor’s Note: This issue is currently pending in the California Supreme Court. (See Teal v. Superior Court (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 308, review granted 7/31/2013, S211708; People v. Hurtado (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 941, review granted 7/31/2013, S212017.)