People v. Acosta

29 Cal. 4th 105, 124 Cal. Rptr. 2d 435, 52 P.3d 624 (2002)

 

RULE:

A sentence enhancement is an additional term of imprisonment added to the base term. Cal. R. Ct. 405(c). Rather, it sets forth an alternate penalty for the underlying felony itself, when the jury has determined that the defendant has satisfied the statute's conditions. Thus, the One Strike law does not establish an enhancement, but sets forth an alternative and harsher sentencing scheme for certain enumerated sex crimes when a defendant commits one of those crimes under specified circumstances.

FACTS:

A jury convicted defendant of forcible oral copulation, and the trial court subsequently found he had sustained prior convictions for rape in concert and forcible rape, and had served prior prison commitments for those convictions. Based on these findings, the trial court sentenced him to a prison term of 85 years to life. In a separate case, a jury convicted another defendant of forcible oral copulation, forcible sodomy, and five counts of forcible rape. As to each conviction and for purposes of applying the one strike law, the jury also found he kidnapped the victim in a manner that substantially increased the risk of harm over and above the level of risk necessarily inherent in the underlying offense. The jury also convicted defendant of kidnapping for sexual purposes. The trial court subsequently found that he had sustained prior convictions for assault with intent to commit forcible rape and attempted robbery, and that he had served prior prison commitments for those convictions. Based on these findings, the court sentenced defendant to a prison term of 230 years to life.

 

ISSUE:

Were the sentences imposed by the trial court under the two statutes correct?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The three strikes law applied notwithstanding defendant's eligibility for sentencing under the one strike law. It further held that a prior conviction treated as a strike may also serve as the basis for referencing the one strike law in calculating the minimum term and for imposing a sentence enhancement under

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