People v. Thomas, B290614

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtLUI, P. J.
Citation252 Cal.Rptr.3d 718,39 Cal.App.5th 930
Parties The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Raynould THOMAS, Defendant and Appellant.
Decision Date12 September 2019
Docket NumberB290614

39 Cal.App.5th 930
252 Cal.Rptr.3d 718

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Raynould THOMAS, Defendant and Appellant.

B290614

Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 2, California.

Filed September 12, 2019


Three Strikes Project, Stanford Law School, Michael S. Romano and Susan L. Champion for Defendant and Appellant.

Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Steven D. Matthews, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Noah P. Hill, Roberta L. Davis and Charles S. Lee, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

LUI, P. J.

39 Cal.App.5th 933

A jury found appellant Raynould Thomas guilty of battery with serious bodily injury ( Pen. Code,1 § 243, subd. (d) ), but found not true an allegation under section 12022.7, subdivision (a) that in the commission of the offense, appellant personally inflicted great bodily injury on the victim.

252 Cal.Rptr.3d 721

After finding true four prior strike conviction allegations, the trial court sentenced appellant to an indeterminate term of 25 years to life under the Three Strikes law. (§§ 667, subds. (b)–(i), 1170.12, subds. (a)–(e).) This court affirmed appellant's conviction and sentence in a nonpublished opinion filed May 22, 2002. (People v. Thomas , B151924.)

Thomas appeals an order of the superior court denying his petition for recall of his sentence pursuant to section 1170.126. Following an eligibility hearing, the trial court found beyond a reasonable doubt that during the commission of the offense, appellant " ‘intended to cause great bodily injury to another person,’ " and was therefore ineligible for resentencing pursuant to section 1170.12, subdivision (c)(2)(C)(iii). Appellant contends the trial court erred in denying the petition for resentencing on the basis of an inference, which he asserts was unsupported by the evidence, that appellant intended to cause great bodily injury in the commission of his offense. We disagree and affirm.

BACKGROUND

On March 16, 2001, appellant and a woman spent the night in the apartment of appellant's friend, Alton Chillious. Appellant and the woman left together early the next morning but returned a few hours later asking to use the apartment again for the day. Chillious objected and told appellant he did not want them using his apartment that day. Appellant and Chillious argued, and appellant began raising his voice and pacing the floor.

As Chillious was removing his jacket from a closet, appellant suddenly punched him hard on the left side of his jaw, knocking him into the closet door. While Chillious was still down, appellant punched him again, this time on the right side of his jaw. Chillious fell backward, slid down the wall, and "saw stars." When Chillious touched his jaw, he felt his tooth had moved and he found a big gash in his jaw. After punching Chillious, appellant stood over him for a few minutes, pacing and angry. Before appellant punched him, Chillious had not challenged appellant to fight, nor did he strike, punch, kick, push, or otherwise threaten appellant. After the attack appellant and the woman left Chillious's apartment.

39 Cal.App.5th 934

Chillious's jaw was broken in two places. He underwent surgery during which screws and plates were inserted into the jawbone to stabilize the jaw. His jaw was wired shut after the surgery and he received stitches for the gash. Over the next three and a half weeks Chillious lost 20 pounds, and the attack left him with permanent nerve damage.

After Chillious was released from the hospital, appellant went to Chillious's apartment and apologized. Chillious was reluctant to testify in the case because he felt sympathy for appellant and his daughter. Before trial, Chillious wrote appellant a letter in which he said, " ‘I don't want you to be sent away. But Ray, you can't be sucker punching people because things aren't going your way.’ " He also told appellant he planned to lie at the next court hearing by testifying that appellant punched him in self-defense after Chillious pushed appellant. Chillious wrote that he knew appellant did not mean to break his jaw, and he did not " ‘want to see [appellant] in the system for something [he] didn't mean to do.’ " Finally, Chillious said that he considered appellant to be a friend, and he hoped appellant would be out of custody within a couple of months.

DISCUSSION

I. Proposition 36

Passed by the electorate on November 6, 2012, the Three Strikes Reform

252 Cal.Rptr.3d 722

Act of 2012 (Proposition 36 or the Act) "reduced the punishment to be imposed with respect to some third strike offenses that are neither serious nor violent, and provided for discretionary resentencing in some cases in which third strike sentences were imposed with respect to felonies that are neither serious nor violent." ( People v. Johnson (2015) 61 Cal.4th 674, 679, 189 Cal.Rptr.3d 794, 352 P.3d 366 ( Johnson ).) In addition to the prospective reduction of sentences for qualifying third strike convictions, "the Act provides a procedure by which some prisoners already serving third strike sentences may seek resentencing in accordance with the new sentencing rules." ( Id. at p. 682, 189 Cal.Rptr.3d 794, 352 P.3d 366.) The procedure allows an inmate currently serving a third strike sentence for a nonserious, nonviolent felony conviction to file a petition to recall the third strike sentence and be resentenced as a second strike offender. (§ 1170.126, subd. (b); People v. Perez (2018) 4 Cal.5th 1055, 1059, 232 Cal.Rptr.3d 51, 416 P.3d 42 ( Perez ); Johnson , at p. 682, 189 Cal.Rptr.3d 794, 352 P.3d 366.)

Not every inmate who is currently serving a third strike sentence for a nonserious, nonviolent felony is eligible for resentencing under the Act. (See §§ 667, subd. (e)(2)(C), 1170.12, subd. (c)(2)(C); People v. Estrada (2017) 3 Cal.5th 661, 667, 220 Cal.Rptr.3d 801, 399 P.3d 27 ( Estrada ).) Among other disqualifying factors, a petitioner is ineligible for resentencing if, "[d]uring

39 Cal.App.5th 935

the commission of the current offense, [he or she] used a firearm, was armed with a firearm or deadly weapon, or intended to cause great bodily injury to another person." (§§ 667, subd. (e)(2)(C)(iii), 1170.12, subd. (c)(2)(C)(iii); Estrada , at p. 667, 220 Cal.Rptr.3d 801, 399 P.3d 27 ; Johnson , supra , 61 Cal.4th at p. 682, 189 Cal.Rptr.3d 794, 352 P.3d 366.) As our Supreme Court has explained, "section 1170.12, subdivision (c)(2)(C)(iii) is best read as excluding from resentencing ‘broadly inclusive categories of offenders who, during commission of their crimes—and regardless of those crimes' basic statutory elements—used a firearm, were armed with a firearm or deadly weapon, or intended to cause great bodily injury to another person.’ " ( Estrada , at p. 670, 220 Cal.Rptr.3d 801, 399 P.3d 27, quoting People v. Blakely (2014) 225 Cal.App.4th 1042, 1055, 171 Cal.Rptr.3d 70 ( Blakely ).)

In determining Proposition 36 eligibility on a petition for recall and resentencing, a trial court makes findings of fact drawn from the entire record of conviction and "is not limited by a review of the particular statutory offenses and enhancements of which petitioner was convicted." ( People v. Bradford (2014) 227 Cal.App.4th 1322, 1332, 174 Cal.Rptr.3d 499 ; People v. Cruz (2017) 15 Cal.App.5th 1105, 1110, 224 Cal.Rptr.3d 77.) Thus, " ‘the court may examine relevant, reliable, admissible portions of the record of conviction to determine the existence or nonexistence of disqualifying factors.’ " ( Cruz , at p. 1110, 224 Cal.Rptr.3d 77 ; Blakely , supra , 225 Cal.App.4th at p. 1063, 171 Cal.Rptr.3d 70.) As Estrada held, "Proposition 36 permits a trial court to examine facts beyond the judgment of conviction in determining whether a resentencing ineligibility criterion applies." ( Perez , supra , 4 Cal.5th at p. 1063, 232 Cal.Rptr.3d 51, 416 P.3d 42 ; Estrada , supra , 3 Cal.5th at p. 672, 220 Cal.Rptr.3d 801, 399 P.3d 27.)

II. The Standard of Proof for Ineligibility and the Standard of Review on Appeal

The petitioning defendant has the initial burden of establishing a prima facie case for eligibility for recall of the third strike sentence. (

252 Cal.Rptr.3d 723

People v. Frierson (2017) 4 Cal.5th 225, 234, 226 Cal.Rptr.3d 582, 407 P.3d 423 ; People v. Johnson (2016) 1 Cal.App.5th 953, 963, 205 Cal.Rptr.3d 246.) Once that requirement is satisfied, however, the burden shifts to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one of the disqualifying factors applies. ( Perez , supra , 4 Cal.5th at pp. 1059, 1062, 232 Cal.Rptr.3d 51, 416 P.3d 42 ; Frierson , at p. 236, 226 Cal.Rptr.3d 582, 407 P.3d 423 ; People v. Arevalo (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 836, 853, 198 Cal.Rptr.3d 343 ( Arevalo ).) Our Supreme Court has expressly held that in determining a petitioner's eligibility, the trial court may rely on facts not found by a jury, and "[a] reviewing court, in turn,...

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13 practice notes
  • People v. Caceres, B292031
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • September 12, 2019
    ...criminal conviction assessments and fines prevented her from recovering her license. The Dueñas court described this as "cascading 252 Cal.Rptr.3d 718 consequences" stemming from "a series of criminal proceedings driven by, and contributing to, [a defendant's] poverty." ( Dueñas , supra , 3......
  • People v. Byers, B295235
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 25, 2020
    ...trial court's findings without reassessing the credibility of witnesses or resolving evidentiary conflicts." ( People v. Thomas (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 930, 935–936, 252 Cal.Rptr.3d 718.) We "determine if there was sufficient evidence for the trial court to conclude that the prosecutor did no......
  • People v. Lewis, B295998
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 6, 2020
    ...initial burden is to establish "a prima facie case for eligibility for recall of the third strike sentence." ( People v. Thomas (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 930, 935, 252 Cal.Rptr.3d 718.) The trial court can determine whether the petitioner met that burden based in part on the record of the petit......
  • People v. Thomas, B294746
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • June 8, 2020
    ...trial court's findings without reassessing the credibility of witnesses or resolving evidentiary conflicts." (People v. Thomas (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 930, 935-936.)Page 6 B. The Superior Court Did Not Err in Ruling Thomas Was Ineligible for Resentencing Under Proposition 36 Because He Was Ar......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • People v. Caceres, B292031
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • September 12, 2019
    ...criminal conviction assessments and fines prevented her from recovering her license. The Dueñas court described this as "cascading 252 Cal.Rptr.3d 718 consequences" stemming from "a series of criminal proceedings driven by, and contributing to, [a defendant's] poverty." ( Dueñas , supra , 3......
  • People v. Byers, B295235
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 25, 2020
    ...trial court's findings without reassessing the credibility of witnesses or resolving evidentiary conflicts." ( People v. Thomas (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 930, 935–936, 252 Cal.Rptr.3d 718.) We "determine if there was sufficient evidence for the trial court to conclude that the prosecutor did no......
  • People v. Lewis, B295998
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 6, 2020
    ...initial burden is to establish "a prima facie case for eligibility for recall of the third strike sentence." ( People v. Thomas (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 930, 935, 252 Cal.Rptr.3d 718.) The trial court can determine whether the petitioner met that burden based in part on the record of the petit......
  • People v. Thomas, B294746
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • June 8, 2020
    ...trial court's findings without reassessing the credibility of witnesses or resolving evidentiary conflicts." (People v. Thomas (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 930, 935-936.)Page 6 B. The Superior Court Did Not Err in Ruling Thomas Was Ineligible for Resentencing Under Proposition 36 Because He Was Ar......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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