California v. AmayaAnnotate this Case
In 2008, defendant Albert Amaya was found guilty of attempted extortion; two strike priors were found true, and defendant was sentenced, under the then-current “Three Strikes” law to 25 years to life in prison. A gang allegation was also found true, but it had no effect on the total sentence, and it was not reflected in the abstract of judgment. In 2013, defendant petitioned for resentencing under Proposition 36. Because of the gang finding, he was not actually eligible for resentencing. Nevertheless, the prosecutor, defense counsel, and even the clerk all mistakenly assured the trial court that the gang finding had been stricken. The trial court therefore resentenced him to less than the time he had already served, and he was released from prison. One month later, the State found the mistake. Defendant was brought back into court and re-resentenced to 25 years to life.
Defendant appealed. After review, the Court of Appeal held that the reduced sentence was not unauthorized, because all of the evidence that was before the trial court at the time indicated that defendant was entitled to resentencing. Nevertheless, the reduced sentence was void on the face of the record. Accordingly, the trial court had the authority to vacate the reduced sentence and to reimpose the original sentence.