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Domestic Battery Prior Reversed & Remanded for Resentencing

California v. Kiger Docket: E075551 (Fourth Appellate District), Opinion Date: March 30, 2022. The ex-girlfriend of defendant Johnathan Kiger testified that he got drunk and started an argument with her. During the argument, he slapped her, pushed her head against a car, dragged her by the leg, and finally strangled her into unconsciousness. There was evidence that defendant had committed three prior assaults: one on the same girlfriend and two on previous girlfriends. The assaults on the previous girlfriends had resulted in a conviction in 2009 for domestic battery and in 2016 for attempted domestic battery. At a bench trial, defendant was found guilty of domestic battery with a prior, and assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury, each with a domestic violence great bodily injury enhancement. One “strike” prior, and one prior serious felony conviction enhancement, were found true. Defendant was sentenced to a total of 16 years in prison, along with the fines, fees, and ancillary orders. On appeal, defendant contended there was insufficient evidence of domestic battery with a prior because his only sufficiently recent prior conviction was for an attempt, not for a completed crime. In the published portion of its opinion, the Court of Appeal found the trial court erred by finding defendant guilty of domestic battery with a prior when his only relevant prior conviction was for attempted domestic battery. In the unpublished portion, the Court rejected defendant’s other contentions. Accordingly, the judgment was modified and remanded for resentencing. #domesticbatteryprior #remand

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