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People v. Superior Court (Leonard Joseph Rangel)

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division

October 21, 2016

THE PEOPLE, Petitioner,
v.
THE SUPERIOR COURT OF RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Respondent; LEONARD JOSEPH RANGEL, Real Party in Interest

         ORIGINAL PROCEEDINGS; petition for writ of prohibition/mandate. Super.Ct.No. CR57387, Edward D. Webster, Judge.[*]

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         COUNSEL

         Paul E. Zellerbach and Michael A. Hestrin, District Attorneys, Emily R. Hanks and Donald W. Ostertag, Deputy District Attorneys, for Petitioner.

         No appearance for Respondent.

         Steven L. Harmon, Public Defender, and William A. Meronek, Deputy Public Defender, for Real Party in Interest.

         Opinion by McKinster, J., with Hollenhorst, Acting P. J., and Miller, J., concurring.

          OPINION

          [208 Cal.Rptr.3d 638] McKINSTER, J.

         I.

         INTRODUCTION

         In this proceeding for extraordinary relief, the People challenge an order of the Superior Court of Riverside County declining to place defendant and real party in interest Leonard Joseph Rangel on community supervision (Pen. Code, § 3451, subd. (a)) following his release from prison. In our original published opinion filed on January 12, 2016 (and modified on Feb. 2 and 4, 2016), we agreed with the superior court's decision and denied the petition.

         The California Supreme Court granted a petition for review filed by the People and subsequently transferred the matter to this court with directions to vacate our prior opinion and to reconsider the cause in light of People v. Morales (2016) 63 Cal.4th 399');">63 Cal.4th 399 [203 Cal.Rptr.3d 130, 371 P.3d 592]. We then invited the People and Rangel to file supplemental briefs addressing the impact, if any, of People v. Morales on this case.

         Our original decision in this case is hereby vacated. Having considered People v. Morales and the supplemental briefs filed by the parties, we now grant the People's petition.

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         II.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In 1996, Rangel was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm (Pen. Code,[1] former § 12021, subd. (a)(1)) and of two misdemeanors. As a " third striker" (former § 667, subds. (b) & (e)), he was sentenced to an indeterminate term of 25 years to life in state prison.

         In 2012, the electorate adopted Proposition 36');">36, known as the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012. Proposition 36');">36 amended section 667 to provide prospectively that many of those defendants who have two prior strikes but whose current conviction is not for a " serious and/or violent felony" are subject only to a doubled base term sentence (§ 667, subd. (e)(1)) rather than the minimum sentence of 25 years to life reserved for more serious current violators. (§ 667, subd. (e)(2)(A)(ii).) At the same time, the electorate added section 1170.126 as a retroactive mechanism by which inmates sentenced as " third strikers" under the old law could petition to have their sentences recalled and be resentenced under the new provisions, if they would have been subject only to the lesser term had they been sentenced under the new law and met specified other requirements.

         Rangel filed a request under Proposition 36');">36 on November 13, 2012, which the superior court granted on April 9, 2014. Rangel was resentenced to the upper term of three years for the weapons offense, doubled to six years, plus three additional one-year prior prison term enhancements (§ 667.5, subd. (b)), for a total of nine years in state prison. The People did not challenge the order granting Rangel's petition.

          [208 Cal.Rptr.3d 639] Due to the nature of his current conviction, Rangel would normally have been subject upon release from prison to a period of community supervision under section 3451, part of the Postrelease Community Supervision Act of 2011 (PCSA; § 3450 et seq.). That act provides that except for more serious offenders, as described, inmates released from prison on or after October 1, 2011, are subject to a new program of community supervision for a period not to exceed three years. ...


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