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Name: In re Butler
Case #: S237014
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 04/02/2018

Due to changes in the laws governing parole, the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) is no longer required to calculate base terms when deciding whether a defendant is suitable for release. Butler was convicted of second degree murder in 1988. In 2012 he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus arguing that BPH violated his constitutional rights by declining to calculate his base term prior to finding him suitable for parole. The BPH agreed to a stipulated order requiring it to calculate the base terms of an inmate serving an indeterminate sentence for use at the inmate's initial parole…

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Name: People v. Shenouda
Case #: E061954
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 09/11/2015

Defendant's multiple uncharged sexual battery offenses supported the court's denial of probation and imposition of six-year midterm sentence for lewd acts upon a child. A jury convicted Shenouda of committing a lewd act upon a 13-year-old girl, Brianna, for grabbing and squeezing her buttocks. It acquitted him of a child molestation charge regarding Brianna, as well as sexual battery charges against Brianna's mother. The trial court denied probation and sentenced Shenouda to the statutory middle term of six years in state prison. Shenouda appealed the trial court's sentencing decisions, arguing that the court improperly relied on findings that…

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Name: People v. Borynack
Case #: E061733
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/24/2015

Provisions of the Realignment Act of 2011 that allow the court to impose a split sentence may not be applied to a conviction for possession of a destructive device. Borynack pled guilty to a number of counts related to possession of destructive devices (Pen. Code, §§ 18715, subds. (a)(1), (a)(3), 18720) and other offenses. The trial court imposed a two-year term for possession of a destructive device (Pen. Code, § 18715, subd. (a)) and ordered the remaining counts served concurrently. After applying credits, the court suspended execution of the remainder of the sentence and placed appellant on mandatory supervision (Pen.…

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Name: People v. Jacobs
Case #: H038082
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/01/2013

Defense counsel was not ineffective for failing to argue for the minimum sentence where there was no reasonable probability that the court would have imposed a lesser sentence. In exchange for the dismissal of additional charges, Jacobs pled no contest to forcible rape and other charges. The agreed sentencing range was eight years, eight months to 11 years. The prosecutor urged the court to impose the 11-year term recommended in the probation report because Jacobs lured his victims through communications on social networking sites and physically injured one victim. Defense counsel responded "the indicated was 11 years" and "that's the…

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Name: People v. Neely
Case #: B204851
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 08/13/2009

Reversal and remand for resentencing was required due to several misapplications of the Determinate Sentencing Law. A jury convicted appellant of first degree murder, two attempted robberies, and possession of cocaine base for sale. Appellant also admitted that a principal personally used a firearm. The murder and attempted robberies stemmed from an incident in which appellant and three cohorts tried to rob a cell phone store and one of the men working in the store was fatally shot. The drug charge was from an unrelated incident. Appellant was sentenced to a term of 36 years to…

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Name: People v. Garcia
Case #: B193077
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 01/18/2008

The trial court did not err when it allowed Garcia to represent himself while he was mentally incompetent. Appellant chose to represent himself at trial for animal cruelty and exhibiting a deadly weapon. He identified the charges against him, made motions, corrected the court on a sentencing calculation, and requested a jury. His cross examinations of witnesses demonstrated an understanding of the charges. After consulting an expert, the trial court concluded that appellant was competent to stand trial. The record supports this observation. Garcia demonstrated a rational understanding of the proceedings and charges against him.…

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Name: People v. Grayson
Case #: A114556
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 09/28/2007
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 12/19/07: S157952

The trial court properly relied on appellant's prior juvenile adjudications in imposing an upper term sentence. Appellant was sentenced to the upper term in state prison based on the planning and sophistication of the offense and the vulnerability of the victims, as well as the fact that his prior juvenile adjudications were of increasing seriousness. One mitigating factor was cited, but the court found it was not enough to outweigh the aggravating factors. He appealed this sentence on the ground that the trial court lacked authority to impose the upper term based on aggravating factors neither found…

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Name: People v. Fluker
Case #: B193079
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 05/29/2007
Subsequent History: rev. granted 8/15/07, S154229

Resentencing was required where the court imposed the upper term solely on facts not admitted or found true by a jury. During appellant's trial for possession of cocaine he was disruptive, and at one point stood up and said he was going to leave. The court ordered him taken into lockup and excluded him from the remainder of his trial. Following conviction, appellant was sentenced to an upper term after the court stated that it chose the upper term because appellant "tried to escape in my courtroom." On appeal, he argued that the imposition of the…

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Name: People v. Diaz
Case #: B185735
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 04/25/2007

Resentencing was required where judge engaged in additional factfinding in order to find that aggravating factors justified the upper term. Appellant was convicted of multiple sex offenses. The trial court sentenced appellant to upper terms on three sex offense convictions, finding that the four factors in aggravation outweighed the one mitigating factor. It also imposed consecutive terms for two counts because the crimes were committed on separate occasions. While the case was pending on appeal, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Cunningham, and the parties submitted letter briefs on the impact of that…

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Name: People v. Black
Case #: S126182
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/20/2005

The judicial fact finding that occurs when a judge exercises discretion to impose an upper term sentence or consecutive terms under California law does not implicate a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial under Blakely v. Washington (2004) 124 S.Ct. 2531. Blakely and United States v. Booker (2005) 125 S.Ct. 738 established a constitutionally significant distinction between a sentencing scheme that permits judges to engage in the type of judicial fact finding traditionally involved in the exercise of discretion employed in selecting a sentence from within the range prescribed for an offense, and a sentencing scheme that…

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