California v. BatesAnnotate this Case
Defendant David Richard Bates was tried by jury and found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of M.H. He was sentenced to 18 years in state prison. On appeal, defendant contended the trial court erred in refusing his request to instruct the jury regarding the effect of the victim’s past harmful or threatening conduct on the reasonableness of a defendant’s belief in the need for self-defense. He also challenged the imposition of a five-year prior serious felony enhancement under Penal Code section 667 (a)(1) on several grounds: (1) the sentence was unauthorized because the information did not allege such an enhancement nor did he admit a prior serious felony conviction for that purpose; (2) it violated due process because he was given inadequate notice of the enhancement; (3) his counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to object to the enhancement; and (4) even if the enhancement was proper, the matter must be remanded to allow the trial court to exercise newly granted discretion to strike the prior serious felony enhancement under Senate Bill No. 1393 (2017-2018 Reg. Sess.). The Court of Appeal concluded the trial court did not err in declining to give defendant’s requested instruction, but that the court improperly imposed a five-year term for a prior serious felony enhancement under section 667(a)(1). The Court struck the unauthorized enhancement and affirmed the judgment as modified.