Giving More Than the Maximum Consecutive Sentence Permitted by California Law

In People v. Hill (1986) 185 Cal. App. 3d 831 230 Cal. Rptr. 109, the defendant pleaded guilty to four counts of child molestation and the trial court sentenced him to consecutive terms equaling 16 years. The department notified the trial court that the sentence was illegal; the maximum consecutive sentence permitted by law is 14 years. On remand the defendant was sentenced to 14 years, but the defendant objected because the trial court's initial mistake was that it had calculated the 16-year term by imposing an unauthorized subordinate term of eight years. The defendant contended that the sentence should be modified by striking only the erroneous subordinate term. the appellate court affirmed the resentence of 14 years. "When a case is remanded for resentencing by an appellate court, the trial court is entitled to consider the entire sentencing scheme. Not limited to merely striking illegal portions, the trial court may reconsider all sentencing choices. . . . We see no reason why this reasoning should not apply where, as here, the Department of Corrections rather than the Court of Appeal notifies the trial court of an illegality in the sentence." (Id. at p. 834.)