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Name: Brown v. Mayle
Case #: 99-17261
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 02/07/2002
Subsequent History: 3/10/03 vacated & remanded

Prison sentences of 25 years to life for Bray and Brown’s petty theft offenses violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Brown’s conviction was for stealing a $25 car alarm. His prior offenses were for robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon. Bray was convicted of stealing three videotapes. His prior convictions were for robbery, some of them with force. The sentences were grossly disproportionate to the crimes, even in light of their prior criminal records. The fact that the prior convictions were more violent than those in Andrade v.…

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Name: People v. Fountain
Case #: C028465
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/10/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 10/25/00

The trial court erred in using appellant's prior juvenile adjudication for violation of Penal Code section 243, subdivision (d), battery with serious bodily injury, as a strike. While it was proper for the trial court to look to the record behind the juvenile adjudication to determine whether appellant's conduct constituted "assault by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury," the evidence did not support a finding that section 243, subdivision (d), came within Welfare and Institutions Code section 707, subdivision (b)(14). The evidence had to show more than that a great bodily injury resulted from…

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Name: People v. Riggs
Case #: C029575
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/02/2001
Subsequent History: None

Here a "second strike" defendant was sentenced in Placer County for receiving stolen property. The Placer County sentencing took place after defendant was sentenced in El Dorado County for a burglary he committed before he committed the receiving offense. Defendant received a four-year sentence from El Dorado County (the middle term of two years doubled for a strike). Placer County followed Penal Code section 1170.12, subdivision (a)(8), which invokes the subordinate term provisions of section 1170.1, subdivision (a), and imposed the middle term of two years, doubled to four years, under section 1170.12, subdivision (c)(1). It…

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Name: Thompson v. Superior Court
Case #: B144625
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/31/2001
Subsequent History: None

Petitioner was charged with possession of cocaine and two prior strikes. While he acknowledged that the courts have held that proof of strike priors is not required at a preliminary hearing, he argued in this writ proceeding that in light of the United States Supreme Court opinion in Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466, the prior convictions were elements of the charged offense, and therefore were required to be proved at the preliminary hearing. The appellate court here disagreed, holding that Apprendi did not alter the principle that California law does not require proof of strike priors at…

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Name: People v. Barro
Case #: B144905
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 10/24/2001
Subsequent History: None

Appellant was convicted of a drug offense and admitted a "strike" based on a prior mayhem conviction, which had been dismissed pursuant to Penal Code section 1385 at the end of a probationary period as a part of the plea bargain agreement. The appellate court here found the sentence unauthorized, since it was dismissed under section 1385. Although under the terms of the plea bargain appellant was advised that the conviction would still be "priorable," dismissal under section 1385 operates as a matter of law to erase the prior conviction, and a contrary conclusion is not compelled because…

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Name: People v. Gutierrez
Case #: C034224
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/24/2001
Subsequent History: None

The trial court erred when it allowed the prosecutor to amend an information to allege a prior robbery conviction as a strike prior and a five year enhancement pursuant to Penal Code section 667, subd.(a), after the jury had been discharged. In People v. Tindall (2000) 24 Cal. 4th 767, the California Supreme Court held that in the absence of a defendant’s waiver, section 1025, subdivision (b) requires that the same jury that decided the issue of a defendant’s guilt shall determine the truth of the prior convictions. Because a jury cannot determine the truth of prior convictions…

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Name: In re Taylor
Case #: F036604
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/04/2001
Subsequent History: Modif. on den. rehg at 89 Cal.App.4th 406d; Rev. den. 8/29/01

The right to a jury trial on a prior conviction derives solely from California statutory law. Therefore, the United States Supreme Court decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466, which held that any fact which increases the penalty for a crime must be submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt, did not apply to the proof of a prior conviction under the Three Strikes Law in appellant's case. The California Supreme Court held in People v. Epps (2001) 25 Cal.4th 19, that there was no constitutional right to a jury trial to…

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Name: People v. Carillo
Case #: H020663
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/27/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 6/27/01

A trial court correctly determined that it did not have the discretion to conditionally dismiss a "strike" in order to make appellant eligible for commitment to CRC. Penal Code section 667, subdivision (d) and section 1170.12, subdivision (b) specifically state that diversion shall not be granted nor shall a defendant be eligible for commitment to CRC. It could not be clearer that the Legislature intended persons who fell under these sections to be ineligible for CRC commitment. There is no authority for appellant's proposal that the court conditionally strike his strike and order commitment to CRC, and…

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Name: People v. Murphy
Case #: S075263
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 03/29/2001
Subsequent History: Rehg. den. 6/20/01

A defendant's prior conviction for oral copulation with a child under 14 in violation of Penal Code section 288a, subdivision (c) is a "strike." The plain language of section 1192.7 includes any lewd or lascivious act on a child under 14, and under any definition oral copulation on a child is a lewd or lascivious act. Any other interpretation of the statute would frustrate the intent of that section. J. Mosk dissented on the issue of whether appellant's prior conviction qualified as a "strike." A trial court should apply both the Three Strikes Law and the habitual…

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Name: People v. Strong
Case #: C033513
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/27/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 6/13/01

The striking of appellant's prior strike for assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury was reversed on a People's appeal where the trial court abused its discretion to conclude that a career criminal was "outside the spirit" of the Three Strikes Law. The trial court had found that the strike was "out of character" with the defendant's nonviolent criminal record, and that he had reached an age where he statistically posed a reduced risk to society. The appellate court here reversed, noting that appellant had a 22-year criminal record, with six felonies within the last eight…

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