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The People v. Jeffrey James Pringle

August 1, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
JEFFREY JAMES PRINGLE, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. CR027518)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mauro , J.

P. v. Pringle

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Defendant Jeffrey James Pringle was convicted of burglary and receiving stolen property. The trial court sentenced him to six years in prison (three years doubled under California's three strikes law based on a strike).

Defendant contends (1) he did not admit that his prior out-of-state conviction constituted a strike under California law; (2) even if he admitted a prior conviction, his admission was not knowing and voluntary; (3) the record does not support a finding that the prior conviction qualifies as a strike; and (4) defense counsel was ineffective in failing to challenge whether the prior conviction constituted a strike.

We agree with defendant (and the Attorney General) that defendant did not admit a prior strike conviction. We also agree that even though defendant waived his right to have the prior strike allegation determined by trial, there is insufficient evidence in the record to support a finding that his prior robbery conviction in Maine would constitute a prior serious felony conviction, and hence a strike, under California law. Accordingly, it is not necessary to address defendant's second and fourth contentions.

We will vacate defendant's sentence and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

BACKGROUND

A detailed recitation of the underlying facts is unnecessary given defendant's contentions on appeal. The People charged defendant in a first amended information with six theft-related counts. It was further alleged that defendant had a prior "Class A Robbery" conviction in Maine on January 24, 1994, and that the prior conviction was for a serious or violent felony. (Pen. Code, § 667, subds. (b)-(i).)*fn1

A jury convicted defendant of burglary (Pen. Code, § 459), receiving stolen property (§ 496, subd. (a)) and grand theft (§ 487, subd. (a)). The trial court sentenced defendant to the upper term of three years in prison on the burglary conviction, doubled to six years "pursuant to the strike . . . ." The trial court also stayed a three-year term on the count for receiving stolen property pursuant to section 654 and granted the prosecution's motion to dismiss the grand theft conviction.

Defendant's prior Maine conviction was discussed only twice on the record. Before trial, defense counsel told the court that defendant would admit the prior conviction to avoid litigating the issue in front of the jury. The reporter's transcript then recorded the following colloquy:

"THE COURT: Do you understand that you've got a right to a trial on the prior to make the district attorney prove that you committed that prior conviction? Your counsel has just indicated you want to give up that ...


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