People v. Perez, G050927

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtO'LEARY, P.J.
Citation3 Cal.App.5th 612,208 Cal.Rptr.3d 34
Parties The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Joshua PEREZ, Defendant and Appellant.
Decision Date01 August 2016
Docket NumberG050927

3 Cal.App.5th 612
208 Cal.Rptr.3d 34

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Joshua PEREZ, Defendant and Appellant.

G050927

Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 3, California.

Filed August 1, 2016
As Modified on Denial of Rehearing August 30, 2016


Christopher Nalls, Pasadena, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Julie L. Garland, Assistant Attorney General, Collette Cavalier and Andrew Mestman, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

O'LEARY, P.J.

OPINION

3 Cal.App.5th 614

Joshua Perez appeals from a judgment after a jury convicted him of three counts of attempted premeditated murder, discharging a firearm with gross negligence, and vandalism and found true firearm enhancements. Perez argues his 86–years–to–life sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Although we disagree his 86–years–to–life sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, we must remand the matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. We affirm the judgment and order a limited remand.

FACTS

One evening, “Mobbing our Professions Crew” (MOPC) gang member Julio Diaz and MOPC associates Gregorio Ariza and Christian Rodriguez were in front of Ariza's apartment. A dark colored car stopped in front of a

3 Cal.App.5th 615

nearby home. Two heavyset Hispanics were in the car. Moments later, someone fired several shots at Diaz, Rodriguez, and Ariza. The gunman yelled “EBK” and ran away. MOPC and the “Every Body Killer” (EBK) gang were rival gangs, and they had recent skirmishes. Diaz suffered gunshot wounds to his torso and lower back.

The next day, officers interviewed 20–year–old Perez at the police department. After waiving his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694, Perez admitted he had a “beef” with Diaz and they had fought in the past. Perez initially denied any involvement in the shooting. Perez eventually admitted he “did it,” claiming he did so because Diaz was going to “smoke” him. Perez claimed he “did it all [him]self” because he was “tired of that guy.” Perez admitted he unloaded his weapon, a .45 caliber handgun, at the three victims. He disposed of the gun in the ocean; officers found .45 caliber ammunition in a box in his bedroom. Perez admitted he yelled “EBK” after the shooting.

An amended information charged Perez with three counts of attempted premeditated murder (Pen. Code, §§ 664, subd. (a), 187, subd. (a), all further statutory references are to the Pen. Code) (counts 1–3), discharging a firearm with gross negligence (§ 246.3, subd. (a)) (count 4), street terrorism (§ 186.22, subd. (a)) (count 5), vandalism (§ 594, subds. (a) & (b)(1)) (count 6), and gang-related vandalism (§§ 186.22, subd. (d), 594, subds. (a) & (b)(1)) (count 7).1 The information alleged Perez committed counts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 for the benefit of a criminal street gang (§ 186.22, subd. (b)). As to count 1, the information alleged he personally discharged

208 Cal.Rptr.3d 36

a firearm causing great bodily injury (§ 12022.53, subd. (d)). With respect to counts 2 and 3, the information alleged he personally discharged a firearm (§ 12022.53, subd. (c)).

At trial, Perez testified that on the night of the shooting he drank two 40 ounce beers. Perez got his gun and walked to his friend's house. When Perez saw Diaz, he shot in Diaz's direction to scare him. He did not shoot directly at him and was not trying to kill anyone.

The jury convicted Perez of counts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 but acquitted him of counts 5 and 7. The jury found true the premeditation and firearm enhancements. Both the prosecution and Perez's defense counsel filed sentencing briefs; Perez argued, among other things, that although he was not a juvenile, his youth meant the maximum sentence would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

3 Cal.App.5th 616

The trial court sentenced Perez to a determinant term of 40 years in prison and an indeterminate term of 46 years to life in prison as follows: count 1–seven years to life plus 25 years to life for the personal use of a firearm enhancement; count 2–seven years to life plus 20 years for the personal use of a firearm enhancement; and count 3–seven years to life plus 20 years for the personal use of a firearm enhancement. The court imposed two-year consecutive sentences on counts 4 and 6.

DISCUSSION

The United States Supreme Court has made it clear that absent gross disproportionality in the defendant's sentence, no Eighth Amendment violation will be found. (See, e.g., Ewing v. California (2003) 538 U.S. 11, 123 S.Ct. 1179, 155 L.Ed.2d 108 [upholding 25–years–to–life sentence for grand theft with priors]; Lockyer v. Andrade (2003) 538 U.S. 63, 123 S.Ct. 1166, 155 L.Ed.2d 144 [upholding 50–years–to–life sentence for petty thefts with priors].) Similarly, a sentence will not be found unconstitutional under the California Constitution unless it is so disproportionate to the defendant's crime and circumstances that it shocks the conscience or offends traditional notions of human dignity. (See People v. Dillon (1983) 34 Cal.3d 441, 194 Cal.Rptr. 390, 668 P.2d 697 ; In re Lynch (1972) 8 Cal.3d 410, 424, 105 Cal.Rptr. 217, 503 P.2d 921.)

In Roper v. Simmons (2005) 543 U.S. 551, 575, 125 S.Ct. 1183, 161 L.Ed.2d 1 (Roper ), the Court held the imposition of capital punishment on juvenile offenders for any offense whatsoever violated the Eighth Amendment. In Graham v. Florida (2010) 560 U.S. 48, 74, 130 S.Ct. 2011, 176 L.Ed.2d 825 (Graham ), the Court held the imposition of a life-without-possibility-of-parole sentence on a juvenile offender for a nonhomicide offense violated the Eighth Amendment. Finally, in Miller v. Alabama (2012) 567 U.S. ––––, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 2464, 2469, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (Miller ), the Court held “the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile offenders,” although a trial court could in its discretion impose such a sentence after considering how children are different and how the differences weigh against a life sentence.

In People v. Caballero (2012) 55 Cal.4th 262, 268, 145 Cal.Rptr.3d 286, 282 P.3d 291 (Caballero ), the California Supreme Court concluded that, under the reasoning of these United States Supreme Court cases, “sentencing a juvenile offender for a nonhomicide offense to a term of years with a parole eligibility date that falls outside the juvenile offender's natural life expectancy constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.”

208 Cal.Rptr.3d 37
3 Cal.App.5th 617

Relying on Roper, Graham, Miller, and Caballero, Perez, who was 20 years old at the time of the offenses, argues their rationales although “not directly applicable to him,” should “appl[y] equally to defendants of [his] age.” Perez acknowledges two cases from the Second District, Division Four, People v. Argeta (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 1478, 149 Cal.Rptr.3d 243 (Argeta ), and People v. Abundio (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 1211, 165 Cal.Rptr.3d 183 (Abundio ), rejected similar claims.

In Argeta, supra, 210 Cal.App.4th at page 1482, 149 Cal.Rptr.3d 243, the court stated as follows: “[Defendant] was 18 and was convicted of first-degree murder as a principal. His counsel argue[d] that since the crime was committed only five months after [defendant's] 18th birthday the rationale applicable to the sentencing of juveniles should apply to him. We do not agree. These arguments regarding sentencing have been made in the past, and while ‘[d]rawing the line at 18 years of age is subject ... to the objections always raised against categorical rules ... [, it] is the point where society draws the line for many purposes between childhood and adulthood.’ [Citations.] Making an exception for a defendant...

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93 practice notes
  • People v. Montelongo, B294095
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 15 October 2020
    ...functional equivalent of life without the possibility of parole is constitutional for a 19-year-old defendant]; People v. Perez (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 612, 617-618, 208 Cal.Rptr.3d 34 [the functional equivalent of life without the possibility of parole is constitutional for a 20-year-old defe......
  • People v. Suarez, F070210
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 4 December 2017
    ...the eventual youth offender parole hearing. ( Franklin, at pp. 269, 284, 202 Cal.Rptr.3d 496, 370 P.3d 1053 ; People v. Perez (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 612, 619, 208 Cal.Rptr.3d 34 ( Perez ).) We further conclude Suarez is entitled, upon remand, to have the trial court exercise its discretion wh......
  • People v. Windfield, E055062
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 4 January 2021
    ...reconsider the cause in light of People v Canizales (2019) 7 Cal.5th 591, 248 Cal.Rptr.3d 370, 442 P.3d 686, and People v. Perez (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 612, 619, 208 Cal.Rptr.3d 34. We again modified the judgment in accordance with the directions of the Supreme Court. ( People v. Windfield et......
  • People v. Windfield, E055062
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 20 December 2019
    ...reconsider the cause in light of People v Canizales (2019) 7 Cal.5th 591, 248 Cal.Rptr.3d 370, 442 P.3d 686, and People v. Perez (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 612, 619, 208 Cal.Rptr.3d 34. We do so now. FACTS Several months prior to June 2009, Marvin Moore and his best friend, Montoyea Smith went to......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
93 cases
  • People v. Montelongo, B294095
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 15 October 2020
    ...functional equivalent of life without the possibility of parole is constitutional for a 19-year-old defendant]; People v. Perez (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 612, 617-618, 208 Cal.Rptr.3d 34 [the functional equivalent of life without the possibility of parole is constitutional for a 20-year-old defe......
  • People v. Suarez, F070210
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 4 December 2017
    ...the eventual youth offender parole hearing. ( Franklin, at pp. 269, 284, 202 Cal.Rptr.3d 496, 370 P.3d 1053 ; People v. Perez (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 612, 619, 208 Cal.Rptr.3d 34 ( Perez ).) We further conclude Suarez is entitled, upon remand, to have the trial court exercise its discretion wh......
  • People v. Windfield, E055062
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 4 January 2021
    ...reconsider the cause in light of People v Canizales (2019) 7 Cal.5th 591, 248 Cal.Rptr.3d 370, 442 P.3d 686, and People v. Perez (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 612, 619, 208 Cal.Rptr.3d 34. We again modified the judgment in accordance with the directions of the Supreme Court. ( People v. Windfield et......
  • People v. Windfield, E055062
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 20 December 2019
    ...reconsider the cause in light of People v Canizales (2019) 7 Cal.5th 591, 248 Cal.Rptr.3d 370, 442 P.3d 686, and People v. Perez (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 612, 619, 208 Cal.Rptr.3d 34. We do so now. FACTS Several months prior to June 2009, Marvin Moore and his best friend, Montoyea Smith went to......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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