California v. WilfordAnnotate this Case
The Court of Appeals concluded Jerome Wilford's challenge to his sentence on two counts of corporal injury to a cohabitant was well taken. For counts 5 and 6, the amended information alleged Wilford committed a violation of section 273.5(a), which carried a sentence range of two, three, or four years. In addition, the information included a special allegation under section 273.5(h)(1) as to counts 5 and 6. The information indicated the effect of the allegation was a minimum sentence of 15 days. Before sentencing, the prosecutor filed a sentencing brief requesting the court to sentence Wilford under counts 5 and 6 to a term of two, four, or five years under section 273.5(f)(1). This term could be doubled to four, eight, or 10 years based on Wilford's prior strike conviction. Wilford argues his sentence for counts 5 and 6 must be reversed because it was not properly pled in the information. Specifically, he contends that because the prosecutor pled an enhancement under section 273.5(h)(1) instead of section 273.5(f)(1), the court could not sentence him under the two, four, or five year triad. Due process requires that a criminal defendant be given fair notice of the charges to provide an opportunity to prepare a defense and to avoid unfair surprise at trial. The Court of Appeal reversed the sentence on those two counts and remanded this matter to the superior court for resentencing as to those two counts only.