Commercial Burglary and Petty Theft In California
In People v. Goodwin (1997) 59 Cal.App.4th 1084, the defendant was convicted of commercial burglary ( 459) and petty theft with a prior ( 666).
The defendant in Goodwin had taken a pair of pants from a department store without paying for them, then returned them and attempted to obtain a refund.
Goodwin argued that his sentence was unconstitutional under the three-pronged test set forth by the United States and California Supreme Courts ( Solem v. Helm (1983) 463 U.S. 277, 290-300; In re Lynch (1972) 8 Cal.3d 410, 425-429; People v. Goodwin, supra, 59 Cal.App.4th at p. 1093)
The Goodwin court explained:
"This analysis requires the court to examine the nature of the offense and of the offender, 'with particular regard to the degree of danger both present to society,' to compare the penalty at issue with those imposed for more serious offenses, and to compare the challenged penalty with those for the same offense in other jurisdictions. ( In re Lynch, supra, at pp. 425-427.)
Even assuming this test is appropriate in an Eighth Amendment analysis (see Harmelin v. Michigan (1991) 501 U.S. 957 . . .; People v. Cooper (1996) 43 Cal.App.4th 815, 820-824 . . .), we cannot conclude appellant's sentence of 25 years to life under the Three Strikes law resulted in cruel and/or unusual punishment." (59 Cal.App.4th at p. 1093.)
The Goodwin court examined the defendant's record of repeated criminal convictions and parole violations, concluding: "His record reveals an almost unrelenting pattern of criminal conduct." (59 Cal.App.4th at p. 1094.) Prior attempts at rehabilitation and deterrence had failed. (Ibid.)
The court concluded that a "comparison of inter- and intra-jurisdictional punishments did not compel a finding of cruel and/or unusual punishment. 'All recidivists with prior serious felonies are treated the same under the statutory scheme' citation, and appellant has failed to establish that his sentence is disproportionate when compared to recidivist statutes in other jurisdictions. ( People v. Cooper, supra, 43 Cal.App.4th at pp. 826-828.)" ( People v. Goodwin, supra, 59 Cal.App.4th at p. 1094.)
It ruled that Goodwin's sentence was not a violation of either the federal or state Constitution. (Ibid.)