COURT WATCH: Sentence Enhancements Applied Despite California Legislature Resentencing Efforts to Reduce Mass Incarceration; Motion to Demur Denied

LOS ANGELES- CA, MARCH 2: Los Angeles Superior Court Stanley Mosk Courthouse March 2, 2004 in Los Angeles Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

By Autumn Johansson

LONG BEACH, CA – The accused was charged with attempted murder as well as felony enhancements of possessing a firearm and ammunition here in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, pleading not guilty to all three counts.

With a Spanish interpreter, the accused’s public defender filed a motion to reduce felony charges to a misdemeanor, arguing the arrest violated the state penal code.

Judge Laura Laesecke denied the motion, noting the “aggravating factor doesn’t change anything” in reference to the three felony counts. 

The defense noted the state has passed many resentencing reforms in an attempt to reduce mass incarceration, including AB 1540, AB 200, and PC 1170.18, which reclassify felony sentence enhancements into their own section, giving judges further discretion over sentencing those accused of serious crimes. 

The goal, the defense added, of these resentencing efforts is to prevent persons who don’t pose a threat, or no longer pose a threat to the public, out of prison…support and rehabilitation can be offered to continue their lives, or even a less severe sentence.

Felon in possession of a firearm along with possession of ammunition are two sentence enhancements the public defender said would be used against the accused to increase his sentence and in determination of the verdict to the charge of attempted murder.

The DPD expressed doubt in the statement of the first charge of attempted homicide, arguing aggravating factors as having impacted the legitimacy of the first count. 

Judge Laesecke said she didn’t like being on the cutting edge of new legislation, and set the next hearing for Oct. 17.

About The Author

Autumn is editor in chief at the Vanguard's LA branch and a fourth year political science major with a philosophy minor at UCLa. She is originally from Davis, CA. Previously, she was the social justice desk editor. She is looking forward to law school and a career in politics after graduation.

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