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REVERSED: Judge Finding of Sentencing Enhancement

In re Cabrera Court: Supreme Court of California, Docket: S271178, Opinion Date: March 2, 2023. The Supreme Court remanded this case to the circuit court after the court found that Defendant inflicted "great bodily injury," holding that the sentencing court's finding of great bodily injury violated Defendant's Sixth Amendment jury trial rights under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). Defendant was charged with assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and other related crimes. The jury found Defendant guilty of assault, battery, and participating in a street gang and deadlocked on the remaining counts. During sentencing, the court imposed a five-year enhancement, concluding that Defendant's charges were serious felonies because there was "great bodily injury." After he appealed, Defendant sought a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to challenge the great bodily injury finding. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the sentencing court's finding of great bodily injury did violate Defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial under Apprendi in light of the jury's failure to reach a verdict on great bodily injury allegations.

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