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Three Strikes Sentencing When There Are Multiple Current Violent or Serious Felony Convictions

Case Name: People v. Henderson (2022) 14 Cal.5th 34
Case #: S265172
Last Updated: November 17, 2022

Does the Three Strikes law (Pen. Code, §§ 667, subd. (c)(6) & (7), 1170.12, subd. (a)(6) & (7)) require consecutive terms on multiple current violent or serious felony convictions, regardless of whether the offenses occurred on the same occasion or arose from the same set of operative facts?

Held: “This case considers if and when a court may impose concurrent sentences in cases falling under the habitual criminal, or ‘Three Strikes,’ sentencing scheme. People v. Hendrix (1997) 16 Cal.4th 508, 512 [66 Cal. Rptr. 2d 431, 941 P.2d 64] (Hendrix) observed that scheme required imposition of consecutive sentences for multiple current felonies that were not ‘committed on the same occasion’ or did not ‘aris[e] from the same set of operative facts.’ (Pen. Code, §§ 667, subd. (c)(6); 1170.12, subd. (a)(6).) It clarified, however, that a trial court retained discretion to impose concurrent terms for those felonies that were committed on the same occasion or arose from the same set of operative facts, even if the felonies qualified as serious or violent. (See Hendrix, at pp. 513?514.) The question here is whether Proposition 36, the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012 (Proposition 36, the Reform Act, or the Act), changed the law and stripped sentencing courts of that discretion, thus abrogating the Hendrix rule. We conclude the Reform Act did not have that effect. Following Proposition 36, the court retains its Hendrix concurrent sentencing discretion, and the total sentence imposed for multiple current counts of serious or violent felonies must be ordered to run consecutively to the term imposed for offenses that do not qualify as serious or violent felonies. We reverse the Court of Appeal’s contrary judgment and remand with directions to order a new sentencing hearing.” This case was decided on 11/17/2022.

Review on this issue was also granted with briefing deferred in:

  • People v. Schafer (Nov. 5, 2020, C083560) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 2/10/2021 (S266096)
  • People v. Aguirre (Dec. 14, 2020, B296528) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 3/10/2021 (SS266762)
  • People v. Loftis (July 16, 2021, F080908) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 9/22/2021 (S270446)
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