Writ of Habeas Corpus & Setting Precedence in the California Courts
We are pleased to announce our recent success in an important Habeas Corpus case resulted in a Court of Appeals published opinion recognizing the broad powers of the trial courts to resolve issues related to habeas corpus proceedings, including re-sentencing.
Our client, Mr. Duval, failed to appear in court for sentencing, where he expected to receive a 2 year negotiated sentence. He was then sentenced by the court to 10 years in absentia. When he appeared the next court day, he explained to his attorney that he had been extremely ill and was physically unable to appear in court. Although the court re-sentenced him to five years for appearing one court day later, his attorney failed to present any evidence that Duval’s failure to appear in court was not willful. Arguing such a point could have secured the original 2 year sentence. This is where we came in to help resolve the issue.
We filed a petition for writ of Habeas Corpus on his behalf in the Court of Appeals which was also denied. Finally, after filing a petition for review, the California Supreme Court granted review and ordered the case returned to the lower court for an order to show cause why the writ of habeas corpus should not be granted. Prior to the hearing in the trial court, the district attorney’s office failed to file a return or objection to the habeas petition. During the hearing, the court noted this failure, granted the relief in the petition and re-sentenced Duval to credit time served which was a little over 4 years by this time.
The DA appealed but the Court of Appeals, in a published decision, found it fatal to the DA’s position that it did not file a return objecting to the claims in the petition for writ of habeas corpus. Additionally, the Court of Appeals found that the trial court has broad powers to vacate the defendant’s previously imposed sentence and re-sentence him in the manner it did. Ultimately, the court affirmed the trial court’s granting of the petition and re-sentencing.
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