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NCJ Number: 50536 Find in a Library
Title: COMPUTING A DETERMINATE SENTENCE... NEW MATH HITS THE COURTS
Journal: CALIFORNIA STATE BAR JOURNAL  Volume:51  Issue:7  Dated:(NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER 1976)  Pages:604-612,654-659
Author(s): M H OPPENHEIM
Corporate Author: California State Bar
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: California State Bar
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE CALIFORNIA POLICY OF INDETERMINATE SENTENCING WAS REPLACED BY THE UNIFORM DETERMINATE SENTENCING ACT OF 1976 WHICH AMENDS FELONY PUNISHMENT SECTIONS IN ALL OF THE STATE CRIMINAL CODES.
Abstract: THE NEW PROVISIONS OF THE CALIFORNIA CRIMINAL STATUTES REPRESENT A SIGNIFICANT DEPARTURE FROM PREVIOUS PRACTICES OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE ADMINISTRATION. TO ASSIST IN THE TRANSITION FROM THE PREVIOUS TO THE REVISED LAW, THE UNIFORM DETERMINATE SENTENCING ACT MAY BE DIVIDED INTO ITS COMPONENT PARTS FOR ANALYSIS. PROVISIONS OF LAW CONCERNING THE IMPOSITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY REMAIN UNAFFECTED, ALONG WITH THE STATUTES PROVIDING FOR LIFE IMPRISONMENT WITHOUT POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE AND THE PROVISIONS FOR GRANTING PROBATION. UNDER THE NEW ACT, CRITERIA ARE PROVIDED TO HELP THE COURT DECIDE BETWEEN CONFINEMENT AND PROBATION. THE LENGTH OF SENTENCES UNDER THE ACT DEPENDS ON THE BASIC RANGE PRESCRIBED FOR THE OFFENSE COMMITTED, THE DECISION OF THE COURT TO IMPOSE ADDITIONAL PUNISHMENT BECAUSE OF AGGRAVATING CONDITIONS ENUMERATED IN THE LAW, AND THE IMPOSITION OF CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES FOR MULTIPLE CRIMES. IN IMPOSING A PRISON SENTENCE, THE TRIAL JUDGE IS REQUIRED TO USE THE MIDDLE OF THE THREE POSSIBLE TERMS OF IMPRISONMENT ESTABLISHED BY THE LEGISLATURE. MITIGATING FACTORS COULD BE USED IN SPECIAL HEARING TO REDUCE THE SENTENCE, OR AGGRAVATING FACTORS COULD BE PRESENTED BY THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY TO SUPPORT THE IMPOSITION OF THE HIGHER TERM. ON IMPOSITION OF THE LOWER OR HIGHER SENTENCE THE JUDGE MUST SET FORTH THE REASONS ON RECORD AT THE TIME OF SENTENCING. THE SENTENCING JUDGE MUST APPLY THE RULES FORMULATED BY THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL IN DECIDING WHICH SENTENCE TO APPLY. IF THE PROSECUTION PROVES ENHANCEMENT, SUCH AS PRIOR PRISON TERMS OR USE OF FIREARMS, THE COURT MUST IMPOSE ADDITIONAL PUNISHMENT UNLESS THE COURT ALSO FINDS THAT THERE WERE MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES. SPECIFIC ENHANCEMENTS WHICH ARE INCONSISTENT WITH GENERAL ENHANCEMENTS HAVE BEEN REPEALED, AND CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES ARE TREATED AS A FORM OF ENHANCEMENT. A 5-YEAR LIMITATION IS IMPOSED AS THE AMOUNT OF TIME WHICH MAY BE ADDED TO A SENTENCE FOR PRIOR PRISON TERMS AND CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES. THE TOTAL TERM OF IMPRISONMENT MAY NOT EXCEED TWICE THE TERM OF YEARS INITIALLY IMPOSED BY THE TRIAL COURT, EXCEPT FOR CASES INVOLVING CERTAIN SERIOUS FELONIES. PROVISION IS MADE ALSO FOR THE LENGTH OF PAROLE FOLLOWING RELEASE FROM STATE PRISONS. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (TWK)
Index Term(s): California; Determinate Sentencing; Judicial discretion; Mandatory Sentencing; Sentencing/Sanctions
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