People v. OchoaAnnotate this Case
Applying the principles of Miller v. Alabama, (2012) 567 U.S. 460, the California Supreme Court in People v. Gutierrez, (2014) 58 Cal.4th 1354, 1361, held that Penal Code section 190.5, subdivision (b), which prescribes a sentence of life without parole or a term of 25 years to life for a 16- or 17-year-old defendant found guilty of special circumstances murder, "authorizes, and indeed requires" consideration of the youth-related mitigating factors identified in Miller before imposing life without parole on a juvenile homicide offender. Legislation enacted shortly before the decision in Gutierrez now provides for youth offender parole hearings at statutorily prescribed points, including Senate Bill No. 394 for youth offenders sentenced to life without parole.
In this case, defendant was sentenced to life without parole for murder during an attempted robbery committed when he was 17 years old. The Court of Appeal held that the sentencing court is statutorily required to consider youth-related mitigating factors before imposing life without parole. When, as here, the record is at the very least ambiguous as to whether the sentencing court understood its obligation to consider youth-related mitigating factors at sentencing before making the discretionary sentencing decision required by section 190.5, subdivision (b), remand is appropriate. Finally, the court held that defendant's sentence for aggravated assault should have been stayed under section 654. The court affirmed defendant's convictions and remanded for resentencing.