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Name: People v. Young
Case #: C096971
Opinion Date: 10/11/2023
Attorney: Benjamin Owens

The Court of Appeal found appellant received ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel, after successfully requesting the trial court to dismiss one of appellant’s 25 years-to-life firearm enhancements under Penal Code section 1385(c)(2)(B), failed to request dismissal of the second firearm enhancement under section 1385(c)(2)(C). Section 1385(c)(2) states that certain mitigating factors weigh greatly in favor of dismissing an enhancement, unless the court finds that dismissal of the enhancement would endanger public safety. The two relevant mitigating circumstances here are when “[m]ultiple enhancements are alleged in a single case” (§ 1385, subd. (c)(2)(B)) and when “[t]he application of an enhancement could result in a sentence of over 20 years” (id., subd. (c)(2)(C)). Given that trial counsel already argued to the court that all but a single enhancement should be dismissed under subsection (c)(2)(B), there was no reasonable tactical purpose for not also moving for dismissal of the remaining enhancement under the same standard. There is a reasonable probability that, but for trial counsel’s deficient performance, the trial court would have dismissed the second enhancement, as it reasoned dismissing the first enhancement would not endanger public safety because appellant received an indeterminate life sentence for the substantive offense.