Doubling Sentence of Second Strike Offender
In People v. Jefferson (1999), our Supreme Court held that in sentencing a second strike offender on an offense such as attempted premeditated murder, which has no specified minimum term to double, the minimum term of confinement under section 3046 serves as the "minimum term for an indeterminate term" which is doubled to produce the second strike sentence under section 667, subdivision (e)(1). (21 Cal. 4th at pp. 90, 96.)
While the three strikes law essentially provides for doubling the sentence of a second strike offender it does not provide for simply tripling the sentence of a third strike offender. (See 667, subd. (e)(2)(A), quoted ante.)
The court imposed the indeterminate life term for premeditated attempted murder under section 664, subdivision (a) and, because that life term has no specified minimum term, the court created one by adopting the seven-year minimum parole eligibility period under section 3046 as the minimum term, which it then tripled, resulting in a sentence of 21 years to life.
In other words, the court imposed on a third strike defendant the sentence for a second strike defendant but tripled, instead of doubled, the minimum term of the indeterminate life term. (Cf. People v. Jefferson, supra, 21 Cal. 4th at pp. 90, 96.)
The sentence for a third strike defendant "shall be an indeterminate term of life imprisonment with a minimum term of the indeterminate sentence calculated as the greater of one of three options." ( 667, subd. (e)(2)(A).)
Option 1 is "three times the term otherwise provided as punishment" for the current conviction. ( 667, subd. (e)(2)(A)(i).) Option 2 is "25 years." ( 667, subd. (e)(2)(A)(ii).) Option 3 is "the term determined by the court pursuant to Section 1170 for the underlying conviction . . . or any period prescribed by Section 190 or 3046." ( 667, subd. (e)(2)(A)(iii).)
Thus, the sentence for a third strike defendant is x years to life with x representing the minimum term of the life sentence under one, two or three, whichever is greater.