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Name: People v. Rhoads
Case #: F084749
Opinion Date: 07/18/2023
Attorney: Benjamin Owens

Appellant’s case was remanded for resentencing. Prior to resentencing, Penal Code section 1385 was amended by Senate Bill No. 81 (2021-2022 Reg. Sess.), reflecting a legislative preference for the dismissal of enhancements if certain “mitigating circumstances” are shown to exist. (§ 1385, subd. (c)(2).) One such circumstance was present in appellant’s case. Nonetheless, the trial court reimposed appellant’s original sentence. The Court of Appeal held that Senate Bill 81 circumscribes the discretion of sentencing courts. While trial courts are presumed to know and follow the relevant law, that presumption was rebutted in this case because the record was “at the very least ambiguous” in terms of the trial court’s “awareness of its discretionary authority.” (People v. Ochoa (2020) 53 Cal.App.5th 841, 853, 852). The record did not clearly indicate the result would have been the same had full consideration been given to amended section 1385. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal vacated appellant’s sentence and remanded the matter for a new sentencing hearing.