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Name: Schinkel v. Superior Court
Case #: C073404
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/12/2014
Subsequent History: Review granted 11/25/2014: S221665
Summary

Inmate not eligible for resentencing under Three Strikes Reform Act (Prop. 36) because his current conviction for solicitation of murder necessarily included an intent to cause great bodily injury. Schinkel, who had six prior strike convictions, was convicted of solicitation of murder and four counts of sexual intercourse with a minor. He was sentenced under the Three Strikes law to 25 years to life for solicitation of murder with two consecutive terms of 25 years to life for two of the sexual intercourse counts, for an aggregate term of 75 years to life. In 2012, he filed a petition for resentencing under the Act, but the trial court denied it, finding that his current conviction for solicitation of murder disqualified him from resentencing. Schinkel appealed. The appellate court construed his appeal as a petition for a writ of mandate. Held: Petition denied. One way a defendant may be found ineligible for resentencing under the Act is if he intended to cause great bodily injury to another person during the commission of the current offense. (Pen. Code, § 1170.126, subd. (e)(2).) Here, the court concluded that intent to cause great bodily injury is necessarily included in solicitation of murder. An element of the offense is intent to kill, which necessarily involves intending to cause that person great bodily harm. The court disagreed with Schinkel’s argument that the Legislature must have intended to allow resentencing for a current solicitation of murder conviction based on the fact that this offense is not listed as a disqualifying current conviction, but is listed as a disqualifying prior conviction.

When an inmate has a current, disqualifying conviction, he is ineligible for resentencing under the Reform Act on other qualifying current convictions. Schinkel argued that even if his solicitation of murder conviction was ineligible for resentencing under the Act, his convictions for sexual intercourse with a minor were eligible because they were not disqualifying current convictions under Penal Code section 1170.126, subdivision (e)(1). The court disagreed. The Act’s purpose statement provides that “[t]he resentencing provisions . . . are intended to apply exclusively to persons . . . whose sentence under this act would not have been an indeterminate life sentence.” (Pen. Code, § 1170.126, subd. (a), italics added.) Based on this language and the Proposition 36 voter materials, the court concluded that voters did not intend to allow “truly dangerous criminals” who have a disqualifying current conviction to benefit from the Act. Because Schinkel would still receive an indeterminate life sentence under the Act based on his solicitation of murder conviction, he is ineligible for resentencing on the sexual intercourse counts. The court also disagreed with Schinkel’s argument that the Act must be interpreted in light of People v. Garcia (1999) 20 Cal.4th 490, which held that a trial court sentencing a defendant under the Three Strikes law has discretion to dismiss strike allegations on a count-by-count basis. The Act does not require a trial court to revisit that discretionary sentencing decision when a defendant files a petition for resentencing .