Rules for Sentencing a Criminal Defendant
Decisions related to sentencing a criminal defendant that criminal courts must take into account include “the nature of the offense and/or the offender, with particular regard to the degree of danger both present to society.” In re Rodriguez (1975) 14 Cal.3d 639, 654, quoting In re Lynch (1972) 8 Cal.3d 410, 425. In other words: “For the determination of sentences, justice generally requires . . . that there be taken into account the circumstances of the offense together with the character and propensities of the offender.” Gregg v. Georgia (1976) 428 U.S. 153, 189. The scope of “circumstances in aggravation or mitigation” under Penal Code section 1170(b) is, therefore, coextensive with the scope of inquiry under the similar phrase in Penal Code section 1203.
The Judicial Council has enumerated a number of factors that help guide us toward what an appropriate plea and sentence are in a particular case. They will be reviewed in detail later in this brief. They are illuminating herein.
Counsel must also provide relevant materials to the court such that the court, in sentencing a criminal defendant, may impose a just and reasonable sentence and to correct errors in the probation report which might have a negative impact on the sentence imposed by the court. People v. Valdivia (1960) 182 Cal.App.2d 145; People v. Peterson (1973) 9 Cal.3d 717, 726; People v. Fang (1997) 54 Cal.App.4th 669, 677-678.) Preparing statements in mitigation to aid the court in its decision to grant probation or impose a lesser sentence is a commonplace part of the practice of law. (Pen. Code §§ 1204, 1170(b); Cal. Rules Ct. 4.437.)
In In re Rodriguez the court released defendant from further incarceration after a 22 year sentence because “[I]t appears that neither the circumstances of his offense nor his personal characteristics establish a danger to society sufficient to justify such a prolonged period of imprisonment.” (Id. at 655.) In the Rodriguez case, a conviction for violating Penal Code section 288 was at issue where Rodriguez had received a life term. The court engaged in a cruel and unusual punishment analysis pursuant to the Lynch, supra case. “[Rodriguez] was only 26 years old at the time of the offense… Thus, it appears that neither the circumstances of his offense nor his personal characteristics establish a danger to society sufficient to justify such a prolonged period of imprisonment.” (Id. At 655.)
At Jay Leiderman Law, we have proven results over years of practice, and we are uniquely qualified to represent you in your time of need. We are situated in Ventura, California but we handle cases throughout the state. We have the expertise, experience and skill to handle numerous types of legal matters. Jay Leiderman is one of only a few CERTIFIED CRIMINAL LAW SPECIALISTS in the area. He handles every kind of criminal law case. He is famous for defending medical marijuana cases and computer hacking cases, though the bulk of his practice is a generous mix of those cases plus serious felonies and misdemeanors. Read more at his Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Leiderman or his homepage www.jayleiderman.com
This post does not create an attorney-client relationship and does not constitute legal advice. Moreover, the law changes over time. Always consult an attorney before determining what motion s to file and what the current law is as to any particular topic.
Criminal defense attorney and author Jay Leiderman, a California State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist can be contacted through the contact page of this website: http://www.jayleiderman.com/htm/contact.php