california supreme court archives

This page archives cases decided in the California Supreme Court in the last 3 years. If a case is recently decided (within the last 6 months), it will reside in the Recently Decided cases. After 6 months it will archive here.


Updated: 3/5/2015 Recall of Sentence under PC 1170, subd. (e)

(1) Is a trial court's order denying the recall of a sentence under Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (e) appealable? (2) Assuming such an order is appealable, what is the proper standard of review on appeal? (3) Was the trial court's order denying the recall of defendant's sentence correct in this case?

Held: Prisoner may appeal order denying compassionate release under Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (e). Loper was sentenced in 2011 to six years in state prison. In 2012, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) recommended that Loper's sentence be recalled pursuant to Penal Code section 1170, subdivision (e) and that he be granted compassionate release due to his medical condition. The superior court denied CDCR's recommendation. Loper, but not CDCR, appealed the trial court's decision. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, finding that the trial court's denial was a nonappealable order. The California Supreme Court reversed the decision of the appellate court. Section 1170, subdivision (e) authorizes only two parties to seek a prisoner's compassionate release: the Secretary of the CDCR or the Board of Parole Hearings. The statutory scheme does not authorize a prisoner to initiate a proceeding in the trial court for compassionate release and contains no express provision permitting a prisoner to appeal an adverse decision. However, Loper's appeal was authorized by Penal Code section 1237, subdivision (b) because the trial court's denial of compassionate release was an order made after judgment that affected his substantial rights. Section 1237 does not limit appealability only to parties who have authority to file the original motion. [Editor's Note: The court disapproved People v. Druschel (1982) 132 Cal.App.3d 667 and People v. Niren (1978) 76 Cal.App.3d 850. In each of these cases, the trial court had denied a motion for recall and resentencing under section 1170, subdivision (d) and the defendant attempted to appeal the denial. The appellate courts had dismissed the appeals on the ground that the defendant lacked statutory authority, or "standing," to make the motion.] (People v. Loper (2015) 60 Cal.4th 1155 (S211840).) This case was decided on 3/5/2015.

Updated: 1/12/2015 Failure to Object--Ability to Pay Claim

Does the failure to object to an order for payment of attorney fees, an order for payment of a criminal justice administration fee, and/or an order for payment of probation supervision fees forfeit a claim that the trial court erred in failing to make a finding of the defendant's ability to pay the amount in question?

Held: Appellate forfeiture rule applies to trial court's order for defendant to pay probation-related costs and attorney's fees, where there is no objection to order. Aguilar was convicted of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse (Pen. Code, 273.5, subd. (a)); the court found he had a suffered a prior battery conviction within seven years (Pen. Code, 243; former 273.5, subd. (e), now subd. (f)). He was granted probation. Without objection, the court imposed fines and fees, including the cost of the presentence report, cost of probation supervision, booking fee, and payment of attorney's fees. On appeal, his challenge to the probation supervision fee was rejected. Held: Affirmed. As set forth in People v. Trujillo (2015) __ Cal.4th __ , section 1203.1b provides procedural requirements for advising defendant of his right to an ability to pay hearing and for obtaining a knowing waiver of that right. Section 987.8, subdivision (b) contains a procedure to determine whether a defendant should repay all or a portion of the costs of appointed counsel, including a hearing at which the defendant is entitled to be heard, present witnesses and documentary evidence, cross-examine adverse witnesses, discover evidence against him, and to a written statement of the court's findings. As set forth in Trujillo, the ability to raise denial of these rights on appeal is forfeited absent a timely objection to the court's order. Aguilar is not without recourse; during the probationary or conditional sentence period, he may seek modification of the order upon valid grounds.

The fact that the Legislature has decreed that orders for probation costs and attorney's fees are enforceable as civil judgments does not bar application of the appellate forfeiture rule. Aguilar also argued that the appellate forfeiture rule should not bar his appeal because orders for probation costs and attorney fees are enforceable as civil judgments, which are excepted to by law and thus appealable without contemporaneous objection (Code Civ. Proc., 647). The court disagreed. "That the Legislature has decreed the state shall enforce fee orders in the same manner as civil judgments does not remove a defendant's challenge to such orders from the criminal sentencing matrix in which it necessarily arises, and in which the Welch/Scott forfeiture rule governs." It is especially appropriate to apply the forfeiture rule in this case because Aguilar had two opportunities to object?when the court imposed the fees at sentencing and when he met with the probation officer to fill out financial forms upon which a determination of ability to pay would be based?he failed to do so on either occasion.

When imposing fees, trial court properly relied on county fee and payment schedules based on actual costs. Aguilar also argued that the order imposing probation costs and booking and attorney's fees violated due process because the record did not contain evidence or court findings as to the actual costs involved. The court disagreed. The booking fees were derived from a schedule adopted by the county board of supervisors based on actual cost data submitted by the sheriff. Probation-related costs are based on a payment schedule developed by the probation department in each county (see Pen. Code, 1203.1b, subd. (a), (h)), which must be based on the actual average costs of presentence investigation and probation supervision. As for attorney fees, the trial court was qualified to make an implied finding that the cost of counsel's services was in the amount ordered. (People v. Aguilar (2015) 60 Cal.4th 862 (S213571).) This case was decided on 1/12/2015.

Updated: 1/12/2015 Failure to Object--Ability to Pay Claim

Does the failure to object to an order for payment of a presentence investigation fee and/or an order for payment of probation supervision fees forfeit a claim that the trial court erred in failing to make a finding of the defendant's ability to pay the amount in question?

Held: Appellate forfeiture rule applies where defendant fails to object to trial court's order to pay costs of probation supervision and presentence investigation fees. Trujillo was found guilty of receiving stolen property. She was referred to the probation department for a presentence report, but refused to talk with the probation officer. Incident to a grant of probation, the court imposed, without objection, a fee for the presentence investigation report and a probation supervision fee (Pen. Code, 1203.1b). On appeal, Trujillo challenged the fees. The Court of Appeal reversed. The Supreme Court granted review. Held: Reversed. When a defendant is granted probation or a conditional sentence, the probation officer must determine whether the defendant has the ability to pay all or part of the costs of the presentence investigation and probation supervision (Pen. Code, 1203.1b). Absent a waiver of a hearing, the matter is referred to the trial court for hearing. However, defendant bears the burden of asserting noncompliance with the statutory requirements as a prerequisite to challenging the court's order for payment on appeal. As the statute contemplates a waiver will take place off the record, it follows that defense counsel, and not the trial court, is in the best position to ascertain whether the defendant has knowingly and intelligently waived her right to a hearing. The defendant is not without recourse, as there is continuing jurisdiction for the sentencing court and the probation officer to entertain requests to modify a payment order during the probationary/conditional sentence period (Pen. Code, 1203.1b, subds. (c), (f)). (People v. Trujillo (2015) 60 Cal.4th 850 (S213687).) This case was decided on 1/12/2015.

Areas of Constitutional Law
Updated: 8/24/2017 Prop. 66 Validity

Original proceeding. The court ordered respondents Jerry Brown, Governor of the State of California, Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California, and the Judicial Council of California to show cause why the relief sought by petitioners should not be granted. This case presents issues regarding the validity of the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016 (Prop. 66, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 2016)).

Held: "In the November 2016 election California voters approved Proposition 66, the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016. (Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 2016) 1.) The measure's various provisions are intended to facilitate the enforcement of judgments and achieve cost savings in capital cases. Petitioner Ron Briggs seeks writ relief from this court, challenging the constitutionality of certain aspects of the proposition. Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and the Judicial Council of California oppose the petition as respondents. They are joined by intervener Californians to Mend, Not End, the Death Penalty, a campaign committee representing the proponents of the initiative. The issues raised are of sufficient public importance to justify the exercise of our original jurisdiction in the interest of a prompt resolution. (Legislature v. Eu (1991) 54 Cal.3d 492, 500 [286 Cal. Rptr. 283, 816 P.2d 1309].)

"Petitioner asserts four grounds for relief. He claims Proposition 66 (1) embraces more than one subject, as prohibited by the California Constitution; (2) interferes with the jurisdiction of California courts to hear original petitions for habeas corpus relief; (3) violates equal protection principles by treating capital prisoners differently from other prisoners with respect to successive habeas corpus petitions; and (4) runs afoul of the separation of powers doctrine by materially impairing the courts' ability to resolve capital appeals and habeas corpus petitions, and to manage their dockets in general.

"Petitioner's constitutional challenges do not warrant relief. However, we hold that in order to avoid serious separation of powers problems, provisions of Proposition 66 that appear to impose strict deadlines on the resolution of judicial proceedings must be deemed directive rather than mandatory." (Briggs v. Brown (2017) 3 Cal.5th 808 (S238309).) This case was decided on 8/24/2018.

Areas of Constitutional Law
Updated: 3/2/2015 Right to Jury Trial - Sex Offender Registration

Does the discretionary imposition of lifetime sex offender registration, which includes residency restrictions that prohibit registered sex offenders from living "within 2000 feet of any public or private school, or park where children regularly gather" (Pen. Code, 3003.5, subd. (b)), increase the "penalty" for the offense within the meaning of Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466, and require that the facts supporting the trial court's imposition of the registration requirement be found true by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt?

On 3/2/11 the court added two additional issues:

Does Penal Code section 3003.5, subdivision (b), validly create a misdemeanor offense subject to violation by all persons required to register for life pursuant to Penal Code section 290 et seq., regardless of their parole status?

If Penal Code section 3003.5, subdivision (b), is not separately enforceable as a misdemeanor offense, does that section nevertheless operate to establish the residency restrictions contained therein as a valid condition of sex offender registration pursuant to Penal Code section 290 et seq.?

Held: Discretionary order, supported by facts found by the court, that requires defendant to register as a sex offender and triggers the residency restrictions of Jessica's Law (Prop. 83) is not invalid under Apprendi. Mosley was convicted of misdemeanor simple assault. Although the jury acquitted Mosley of a charged sex offense, the court exercised its discretion under Penal Code section 290.006 and ordered Mosley to register as a sex offender after finding that his assault was sexually motivated and that he posed a risk of reoffending. Mosley appealed, arguing that Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466 requires that a jury, not a judge, make the findings required by section 290.006 because the residency restrictions set forth in Jessica's Law triggered by the registration requirement increased the penalty for his assault conviction beyond the statutory maximum. The Court of Appeal concluded that the residency restrictions were a penalty and struck the registration requirement. The California Supreme Court granted the People's petition for review. Held: Reversed. Under Oregon v. Ice (2009) 555 U.S. 160, "Apprendi has no application to sentencing decisions in which juries played no factfinding role at common law." Decisions regarding sex offender registration and residency requirements have not historically been entrusted to juries. Furthermore, the residency restrictions are not a penalty under the test set forth in Smith v. Doe (2003) 538 U.S. 84. They serve to promote public safety, not to punish sex offenders. Additionally, even if the residency restrictions are punitive and could not constitutionally be applied to a defendant, they would not bar the court from exercising its discretion to impose a registration order, which is not subject to Apprendi. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal erred by striking the registration requirement altogether. [Editor's Note: In a dissenting and concurring opinion joined by Justice Werdegar, Justice Liu concluded that Mosley "stated a valid Apprendi claim because the residency restriction is a penalty that exceeds what the jury's verdict in this case permits."] (People v. Mosley (2015) 60 Cal.4th 1044 (S187965).) This case was decided on 3/2/2015.

Areas of Constitutional Law
Updated: 1/29/2015 Equal Protection -- Sex Offender Registration

Do the equal protection principles of People v. Hofsheier (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1185 bar mandatory sex offender registration for a defendant convicted of oral copulation between a "person over the age of 21 years" and a "person who is under 16 years of age" (Pen. Code, 288a, subd. (b)(2))?

On December 18, 2013, the Supreme Court ordered supplemental briefing on the following issue: Should the court overrule People v. Hofsheier (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1185? The parties may wish to address the following questions: (1) What level of equal protection scrutiny applies to the statutory difference in sex offender registration requirements between those convicted of violating Penal Code section 288a and those convicted of violating Penal Code section 261.5? (2) Has Hofsheier presented practical difficulties of application in the trial and appellate courts? (3) Has Hofsheier been extended beyond the sex offender registration context in ways that could not have been anticipated at the time of the decision? (4) Absent the limitations on Hofsheier's application asserted in People v. Manchel (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 1108, the validity of which is challenged in the present case, what principles, if any, constrain the application of Hofsheier? (5) Does Hofsheier's equal protection analysis logically extend beyond the context of sex offender registration? (6) If Hofsheier's holding is overruled, would and should the court's decision apply retroactively to offenders who have been convicted or released from custody since the decision in Hofsheier without registration orders or who have obtained relief by writ petition from preexisting registration requirements?

Held: People v. Hofsheier (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1185, is overruled because there is a rational basis to mandate different sex offender registration requirements for unlawful sexual intercourse offenders and unlawful oral copulation offenders. Johnson pled guilty to one count of unlawful oral copulation in violation of Penal Code section 288a, subdivision (b)(2), which mandated sex offender registration. Relying on Hofsheier, which found the mandatory registration required for a section 288a, subdivision (b)(1) offense violated equal protection, Johnson sought relief from the registration requirement. The petition was denied in superior court but granted by the Court of Appeal. Review was granted. Held: Reversed. In Hofsheier, the court found those offenders convicted of nonforcible oral copulation with a minor 16 or 17 years old, which mandates registration, were similarly situated to offenders convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor (Pen. Code, 261.5), for which registration is discretionary. Hofsheier concluded there was no rational basis for this disparity and that mandatory registration for a section 288a, subdivision (b)(1) offense violated equal protection. Thereafter, the Courts of Appeal extended Hofsheier's holding to additional nonforcible sex offenses covered by section 290, thus denying significant effect to that section. Section 290's registration requirement seeks to promote the state's interests in controlling crime, preventing recidivism, and allowing police to track sex offenders. The problems of teen pregnancy and its associated costs, in addition to the possible stigma of registration, that might interfere with employment and the support of children, provides a plausible basis for treating unlawful sexual intercourse offenders differently from other types of sex offenders. Since Hofsheier was decided, the Legislature has not added unlawful sexual intercourse to the list of mandatory registration offenses. In light of the legitimate purposes of sex offender registration, the different treatment between section 261.5 and 288a offenders does not "so lack rationality that it constitutes" a denial of equal protection.

The overruling of Hofsheier is retroactive unless restricted on grounds of equity and public policy. "A decision of a court overruling a prior decision is typically given full retroactive effect." However, an appellate court may restrict retroactive application based on grounds of equity and public policy. There is no reason to "deny retroactive application where, as here, a sex offender has taken no action in justifiable reliance on the overruled decision." (Johnson v. Department of Justice (2015) 60 Cal.4th 871 (S209167). This case was decided on 1/29/2015.

Updated: 6/16/2016 Application PC section 424 (misappropriation public funds)

Does Penal Code section 424 apply only to public officers who are charged with the receipt, safekeeping, transfer, or disbursement of public moneys, or does the statute apply to a public officer who authorizes the disbursement of public funds even if the actual authority to approve the disbursement lies elsewhere?

Held: "In this case we must determine the scope of liability under a criminal statute enacted in 1872 proscribing the misuse of public funds. Penal Code section 424 applies to '[e]ach officer of this state, or of any county, city, town, or district of this state, and every other person charged with the receipt, safekeeping, transfer, or disbursement of public moneys.' (Pen. Code, 424, subd. (a) (section 424(a)).) Before us are two questions arising from this provision. The first is whether the statute applies to all public officers, or only to those 'charged with the receipt, safekeeping, transfer, or disbursement of public moneys.' Because we hold that section 424 applies only to those public officers imbued with such responsibility over public moneys, we must answer a second question: whether sufficient evidence supported the jury's verdict finding that defendant Jeffrey Hubbard, who served as superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District (the District), was charged with the 'receipt, safekeeping, transfer, or disbursement' of public funds. In light of Hubbard's explicit contractual responsibilities to oversee the 'budget and business affairs' of the District, testimony that superintendents like Hubbard owe a duty to safeguard school district funds, and Hubbard's responsibility to ensure such public funds were spent in accordance with the law, we hold the evidence was sufficient." (People v. Hubbard (2016) 63 Cal.4th 378 (S216444).) This case was decided on 6/16/2016.

Updated: 4/6/2015 BAC for DUI Prosecution

(1) Can circumstantial evidence other than the results of chemical tests be used to prove that a driver's blood-alcohol content at the time of driving was the same as, or greater than, the results of a blood-alcohol test taken approximately an hour after driving? (2) Is the decision of the Court of Appeal consistent with the requirements of Evidence Code section 604 for proof of an initially presumed fact after the presumption has been rebutted?

Held: "A California Highway Patrol officer stopped a car driven by plaintiff Ashley Jourdan Coffey after he observed her driving erratically. Four subsequent chemical tests revealed her blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) ranged from 0.08 to 0.096 percent. The officer then confiscated plaintiff's driver's license and served her with a notice that her license would be suspended pursuant to Vehicle Code section 13382. In an administrative hearing to review the suspension, plaintiff's expert witness opined that her BAC was rising at the time of the chemical tests, suggesting her BAC was below the 0.08 percent threshold at the time plaintiff was driving. Both the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) hearing officer and the trial court discounted the expert's testimony in part by relying on arrest reports, which described the physical manifestations of plaintiff's intoxication, such as her general appearance, erratic driving, poor performance on field sobriety tests, and the strong odor of alcohol she projected.

"We decide in this case whether the trial court erred by considering, in addition to the results of breath and blood tests, other circumstantial evidence of intoxication to conclude by a preponderance of the evidence that plaintiff drove with a BAC at or above 0.08 percent. As we explain, we conclude the trial court did not err." (Coffey v. Shiomoto (2015) 60 Cal.4th 1198 (S213545). This case was decided on 4/6/2015.

NG by Reason of Insanity
Updated: 1/4/2015 Right to Refuse to Testify at Extension Hearing

Petition for review after the Court of Appeal granted a petition for peremptory writ of mandate. This case presents the following issue: Does Penal Code section 1026.5, subdivision (b)(7), give a person who was committed after being found not guilty of criminal charges by reason of insanity the right to refuse to testify in a proceeding to extend that civil commitment?

Held: A person found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI) who is facing a commitment extension hearing has a statutory right to refuse to testify in the People's case-in-chief. Hudec was found NGI of killing his father in 1981, and was committed to a state hospital for a maximum term reflecting the sentence for voluntary manslaughter. In 2012, the prosecutor filed a petition to extend Hudec's commitment under Penal Code section 1026.5. The trial court denied Hudec's motion to preclude his compelled testimony as a prosecution witness. The Court of Appeal issued a writ of mandate, directing the superior court not to compel Hudec's testimony. The California Supreme Court granted the prosecution's petition for review to determine whether an individual facing extended commitment has the right to refuse to testify. Held: Court of Appeal judgment affirmed. Section 1026.5, subdivision (b)(7) provides that a person facing NGI commitment extension proceedings "shall be entitled to the rights guaranteed under the federal and State Constitutions for criminal proceedings. All proceedings shall be in accordance with applicable constitutional guarantees." After reviewing the historical development of section 1026.5, related statutes, and prior decisions, the Court concluded that section 1026.5 provides a respondent with a statutory right not to testify at his or her NGI commitment extension hearing. Although appellate courts have restricted the rights included under section 1026.5, subdivision (b)(7), none of those possible restrictions justifies excluding the right not to testify against oneself. Recognizing the application of the right to refuse to testify in the prosecutor's case-in-chief does not result in any absurd consequence. The court disapproved People v. Lopez (2006) 137 Cal.App.4th 1099 to the extent it is inconsistent with the holding in this case. (Hudec v. Superior Court (2015) 60 Cal.4th 815 (S213003).) This case was decided on 1/4/2015.

Probation & Parole
Updated: 3/2/2015 Sex Offender Residency Restriction

Does the residency restriction of Penal Code section 3003.5, subdivision (b), when enforced as a mandatory parole condition against registered sex offenders paroled to San Diego County, constitute an unreasonable statutory parole condition that infringes on their constitutional rights? (See In re E.J. (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1258, 1282, fn. 10.)

Held: As applied in San Diego County, portion of Jessica's Law (Prop. 83) that prohibits paroled registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools or parks is unconstitutional. Jessica's Law enacted Penal Code section 3003.5, subdivision (b) which prohibits all registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools or parks. CDCR began enforcing the residency restrictions as a mandatory parole condition for all registered sex offenders on parole in San Diego County. Paroled sex offenders in San Diego County sought habeas relief from Jessica's Law claiming that it was unconstitutional as applied to them. The superior court agreed and enjoined enforcement of the residency restrictions. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The California Supreme Court granted review. Held: Affirmed. The court here concluded that blanket application of the residency restriction to all paroled sex offenders in San Diego County "bears no rational relationship to advancing the state's legitimate goal of protecting children from sexual predators, and has infringed the affected parolees' basic constitutional right to be free of official action that is unreasonable, arbitrary, and oppressive." The purpose of Jessica's Law is to protect children from sexual predators, but it was uncontested that the residency restriction was having the opposite effect. It prohibits paroled sex offenders from residing in over 97 percent of San Diego County, which quadrupled their homelessness rate and made it more difficult to monitor and supervise them. Furthermore, the blanket residency restriction prevented many offenders from seeking in-patient psychological, medical, alcohol, or drug treatment because those facilities are mostly located within 2,000 feet of any school or park. Thus, the residency restriction also hampered efforts to rehabilitate offenders. However, parole authorities may impose residency restrictions on a case-by-case basis. (In re Taylor (2015) 60 Cal.4th 1019 (S206143).) This case was decided on 3/2/2015.

Updated: 6/16/2016 Prop. 47--Custody Credits and Parole Period

Can excess custody credits be used to reduce or eliminate the one-year parole period required by Penal Code section 1170.18, subdivision (d), upon resentencing under Proposition 47?

Held: "Proposition 47, an initiative measure the electorate passed in November 2014, reduced certain drug-related and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. The measure also provided that, under certain circumstances, a person who had received a felony sentence for one of the reduced crimes could be resentenced and receive a misdemeanor sentence. A person so resentenced is entitled to credit for time already served. Often the credit for time served will exceed the new sentence, thus entitling the person to immediate release from custody.

"Penal Code section 1170.18, subdivision (d), part of the same initiative measure, provides that a person who has been resentenced under the measure and given credit for time served 'shall be subject to parole for one year following completion of his or her sentence, unless the court, in its discretion, as part of its resentencing order, releases the person from parole.' We must decide whether excess credit for time served can be credited against this parole period, which could shorten it or reduce it to no parole at all.

"We conclude that credit for time served does not reduce the parole period. When it voted on Proposition 47, the electorate was informed, and it intended, that a person who benefitted from the new legislation by receiving a reduced sentence would be placed on parole for one year after completion of the reduced sentence, subject to the court's discretion to release the person from that parole." (People v. Morales (2016) 63 Cal.4th 399 (S228030).) This case was decided on 6/16/2016.

Updated: 8/13/2015 Gang Enhancement Applied to Substantive Gang Offense

Defendant Lam Thanh Nguyen was sentenced to death by the Orange County Superior Court on January 28, 1999; his automatic appeal (People v. Nguyen, S076340) is currently pending before the court. On June 1, 2015, the court directed the parties to submit supplemental briefing addressing the following question in this automatic appeal: May a gang enhancement under section 186.22, subdivision (b)(1), be applied to a conviction for active participation in a street gang under section 186.22, subdivision (a)? (See People v. Rodriguez (2012) 55 Cal.4th 1125, 1137-1138; People v. Albillar (2010) 51 Cal.4th 47, 60-62; People v. Briceno (2004) 34 Cal.4th 451, 465; Lopez v. Superior Court (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 824, 828-832; People v. Arroyas (2002) 96 Cal.App.4th 1439, 1445-1448.)

Held: "The Attorney General concedes that it was improper to add to each of defendant's convictions for the crime of gang participation a sentence enhancement for committing the crime for the benefit of a gang under section 186.22, subdivision (b)(1). We accept the Attorney General's concession, which accords with case law interpreting analogous provisions of section 186.22 as well as with the relevant legislative history. (See People v. Briceno (2004) 34 Cal.4th 451, 465 [20 Cal. Rptr. 3d 418, 99 P.3d 1007]; Lopez v. Superior Court (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 824, 833 [72 Cal. Rptr. 3d 929]; People v. Arroyas (2002) 96 Cal.App.4th 1439, 1445 [118 Cal. Rptr. 2d 380]; Sen. Rules Com., Off. of Sen. Floor Analyses, 3d reading analysis of Assem. Bill No. 2013 (1987?1988 Reg. Sess.) as amended Aug. 30, 1988, par. 15, p. 2 HN23 section 186.22, subdivision (a) offense is 'a "wobbler," punishable by the minimum term of imprisonment in the county jail and the state prison for these offenses and [a section 186.22, subdivision (b)] enhancement of the underlying felony'].) Accordingly, we strike defendant's gang enhancements from the sentences imposed for actively participating in a gang in counts 3, 5, 7, 10, and 14." (People v. Nguyen (2015) 61 Cal.4th 1015, 1068.) This case was decided on 8/13/2015.

Updated: 4/23/2015 Prior Serious Felony Enhancement and Second Strike Sentences

Can a five-year enhancement for a prior serious felony conviction (Pen. Code, 667, subd. (a)) be added to multiple determinate terms imposed as part of a second-strike sentence (Pen. Code, 667, subd. (e)(1))?

Held: Prior serious felony enhancement may be added only once to multiple determinate terms imposed as part of a second-strike sentence. Sasser was convicted of multiple offenses arising from sexual assaults on several victims. He admitted a prior strike and prior serious felony enhancement (Pen. Code, 667, subd. (a)(1)). On his first appeal, several convictions were reversed and the case was remanded for resentencing. As to a portion of the sentence on remand, the trial court applied a five-year prior serious felony enhancement on each of seven determinate terms. The Court of Appeal affirmed. Sasser's petition for review was granted. Held: Duplicate prior serious felony enhancements reversed. In considering the interplay between Penal Code section 1170.1, section 667.6, subdivision (c) (alternate sentencing scheme for certain sex offenses), and sentencing enhancements based on a defendant's prior convictions, the court in People v. Tassell (1984) 36 Cal.3d 77, distinguished between enhancements which go to the nature of the offender (status based) and those which go to the nature of the offense (conduct based). In prescribing the manner in which consecutive terms are calculated for determinate sentences, section 1170.1, subdivision (a) makes clear that status-based enhancements are added to the overall sentence only once. The fact that a determinate sentence may be made pursuant to the Strikes Law does not alter section 1170.1's application regarding the imposition of enhancements because the Three Strikes law incorporates section 1170.1's principal term/subordinate term scheme. Nor does it matter that Sasser was also sentenced under section 667.6, subdivision (c), as that section supplants the manner of calculating consecutive sentences specified in section 1170.1, subdivision (a) but not the manner of applying enhancements. (People v. Sasser (2015) 61 Cal.4th 1 (S217128).) This case was decided on 4/23/2015.

Updated: 2/5/2015 Great Bodily Injury Enhancement on Manslaughter Conviction

Does Penal Code section 12022.7, subdivision (g), which provides that the great bodily injury enhancement of this section "shall not apply to murder or manslaughter . . . ," allow an enhancement on a manslaughter conviction for the great bodily injury inflicted on another victim who was the subject of a separate manslaughter conviction?

On July 23, 2014, the court directed supplemental briefing on the question of whether any great bodily injury enhancement was proper in this case.

Held: Sentence for gross vehicular manslaughter cannot be enhanced for great bodily injury (Pen. Code, 12022.7, subd. (a)) suffered by the deceased or surviving victims. While speeding in her Ford Fusion, Cook caused an accident that killed three people and seriously injured a fourth. The jury convicted her of three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter (Pen. Code, 192, subd. (c)(1)). As to one of the manslaughter counts, the jury also found true three great bodily injury (GBI) enhancements (Pen. Code, 12022.7, subd. (a)): one for each of the other two individuals who were killed and one for the individual who was seriously injured. Cook appealed, arguing that section 12022.7 subdivision (g) prohibited all of the GBI enhancements. The Court of Appeal reversed the two GBI enhancements related to the two victims who were killed, but it upheld the enhancement as to the victim who survived. The Supreme Court granted review. Held: All GBI enhancements prohibited. Section 12022.7 subdivision (g) provides that the GBI enhancement set forth in subdivision (a) "shall not apply to murder or manslaughter . . . ." Courts of Appeal had interpreted this provision to allow a GBI enhancement to attach to a manslaughter conviction where, in addition to the homicide victim, other victims suffered great bodily injury. (See People v. Julian (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 1524, People v. Weaver (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 1301, People v. Verlinde (2002) 100 Cal.App.4th 1146.) Relying on the plain language of the statute, the Supreme Court disapproved these decisions and concluded that "[s]ubdivision (g) means what it says?great bodily injury enhancements simply do not apply to murder or manslaughter." The court disagreed with the Attorney General's argument that subdivision (g)'s limitation applies only to the victim of the charged murder or manslaughter and not to any other victim. (People v. Cook (2015) 60 Cal.4th 922 (S215927).) This case was decided on 2/5/2015.