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Reversed: Denial of CDCR Recommendation for Recall of Sentence

People v. Mendez Court: California Courts of Appeal, Docket: B306301 (Second Appellate District), Opinion Date: September 27, 2021. In 2008, Mendez was convicted of 12 counts of second-degree robbery and one count of attempted second-degree robbery, with personal weapon use enhancement findings as to 12 of the counts (Penal Code 12022.53(b)). He was sentenced to 164 months for the robbery counts plus 560 months on the weapon enhancements, a total term of 724 months. By letter to the Los Angeles County Superior Court dated 2019, the secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation recommended a recall of Mendez’s sentence, noting an amendment to section 12022.53(h), effective January 2018, giving courts discretion to strike or dismiss a personal use firearm enhancement at sentencing or resentencing. The trial court declined. Mendez argued the trial court failed to adequately weigh his postconviction record and afforded him no opportunity to be heard regarding the CDCR recommendation. The court of appeal reversed. In view of the substantial liberty interest at stake, the court remanded to the trial court to give notice to the parties, to allow the parties the opportunity to supplement the CDCR’s recommendation with additional relevant information, and to enable the trial court to exercise its discretion whether to recall Mendez’s sentence in light of such information as well as any briefing the parties might choose to submit.

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