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Name: People v. Waymire
Case #: C051736
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/20/2007

In this probation violation case involving claimed Blakely error, the appellate court rejected the prosecution's theory that the issue was waived for failure to object and forfeiture or that appellant waived his jury trial rights to sentencing issues when he waived his right to a jury trial or probation revocation hearing. An objection would have been futile as Cunningham v. California (2007) 549 U.S.__ [166 L.Ed.2d 856] was not yet the applicable law (People v. Welch (1993) 5 Cal.4th 228) and a waiver must be knowing and intelligent (People v. Collins (2001) 26 Cal.4th 297). The trial court…

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Name: People v. Banks
Case #: G036873
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/13/2007
Subsequent History: 6/27/07 Cunningham rev. gr/hold: S152849

Sentence imposing the upper term was reversed where the court cited appellant's leadership role in the crime, sophistication, planning, and cruelty as well as his prior convictions as factors. Appellant was convicted of robbery, commercial burglary, and false imprisonment, and sentenced to six years in prison, consisting of the five year upper term for the first robbery, and a consecutive one-year term on the second. Sentencing was stayed pursuant to section 654 on the burglary, and a concurrent term was imposed on the false imprisonment counts. In choosing the upper term, the court cited appellant's "leadership role"…

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Name: People v. Burch
Case #: D049604
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/20/2007

The trial court did not err when it denied appellant's request to bifurcate his trial on prior prison convictions. Following appellant's trial for possession of methamphetamine and possession of fictitious bills, he appealed, contending that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his request to bifurcate the trial on his prior conviction, charged pursuant to Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (b). The appellate court found no abuse of discretion. The trial court ordered a conditional bifurcation, but informed appellant that if he testified, he would be impeached by the prior convictions. When it became…

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Name: People v. Thomas
Case #: A111109
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/17/2007

Thomas was convicted of sex offenses against four minors. On appeal, he contended that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury sua sponte on the provisions of Penal Code section 302(g) regarding the extension of the statute of limitations for three counts of forcible sodomy. The appellate court held that the issue was waived for failure to raise it in the trial court. Further, the trial court was not required to submit the limitations extension issue to the jury under Apprendi v. New Jersey. The 803(g) limitations extension was not a functional equivalent…

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Name: Cunningham v. California
Case #: May-51
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 01/22/2007
Subsequent History: 127 S.Ct. 856; 166 L.Ed.2d 856

Opinion reversing defendant's sentence under Blakely v. Washington (2004) 542 U.S. 296, abrogating People v. Black (2005) 35 Cal.4th 1238, and holding that all facts used to support an upper-term sentence are subject to the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of a jury trial and proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Cunningham reiterated "Apprendi's bright-line rule" that "[e]xcept for a prior conviction, 'any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.'" (Emphasis added.) California sentencing rules require that the midterm "shall"…

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Name: People v. Carr
Case #: E038124
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 09/29/2006

Under the terms of Carr's plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to carjacking and was sentenced to nine years in prison. The agreement provided that Carr would be released on his own recognizance, and if he met certain conditions, including appearing for resentencing and not violating any laws, the term would be reduced to 365 days to be served on weekends. (A Vargas waiver.) Prior to the sentencing date, Carr was arrested for a domestic violence offense. The trial court found that Carr violated the plea agreement and did not resentence him. It also denied Carr's…

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Name: Taylor v. Lewis
Case #: 04-17517
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/15/2006

A sentence of 25 years to life for possession of a small amount of cocaine does not violate the Eighth Amendment. The narrow proportionality principle prohibits only extreme sentences that are grossly disproportionate to the crime, and given the United States Supreme Court's recent similar rulings, it cannot be said that the state court's affirmance of the sentence in this case involved an objectively unreasonable application of federal…

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Name: People v. Delgado
Case #: A109991
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 06/27/2006

Appellant was convicted in 2005 of domestic violence offenses he committed in 1993. He pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment and corporal injury to a spouse and was placed on probation. Conditions of probation were imposed pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.097, a statute which took effect on September 21, 1994. On appeal, appellant argued that he could not be sentenced under section 1203.097 because it would violate ex post facto principles. The appellate court agreed and remanded for resentencing. Section 1203.097 operates retrospectively because the mandatory conditions of probation are dependent on the 1993…

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Name: People v. Jordan
Case #: H029487
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/11/2006

Appellant entered into a plea bargain in which he waived his right to trial in exchange for a maximum sentence of 15 years. He was sentenced to a total term of 15 years. On appeal, he contended that the trial court improperly stayed the five-year enhancement on the second serious felony conviction because a stay is not authorized under section 667, subdivision (a)(1). He also argued that the upper term sentence on count one violated his Sixth Amendment rights under Blakely. The appellate court agreed with the first argument, but rejected the Blakely claim. Section…

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Name: Washington v. Recuenco
Case #: May-83
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 06/26/2006
Subsequent History: 126 S.Ct. 2546; 165 L.Ed.2d 466

Sentencing factors must be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, but the failure to do so may be harmless error. Recuenco was convicted of assault in the second degree based on the jury's finding that he assaulted his wife with a deadly weapon. The trial court applied a 3-year firearm enhancement based on its own factual findings. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Washington vacated the sentence, concluding that Blakely violations can never be harmless. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to review the conclusion, and reversed. Failure to submit a sentencing factor…

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