One Strike Law for Sex Offenders During Burglary

Section 667.61 "was enacted in 1994 as part of what is commonly known as the one strike law." (People v. Jones (1997) 58 Cal. App. 4th 693, 703 [68 Cal. Rptr. 2d 506].) The one strike law provides that a person who is convicted of specified sex offenses, including forcible rape and sodomy, shall be punished to an indeterminate term of either 15 or 25 years to life if there are one or more aggravating circumstances. (Ibid.; 667.71, subds. (a), (b).) One special circumstance requiring a sentence of 15 years to life is: "the defendant committed [the sex offense] during the commission of a burglary . . . of a building, including any commercial establishment, which was then closed to the public." ( 667.61, subd. (e)(2).) Section 667.61 mandates indeterminate sentences of 15 or 25 years to life where the nature or method of the sex offense "place[d] the victim in a position of elevated vulnerability." (Assem. Com. on Public Safety, Analysis of Sen. Bill No. 26 (1993-1994 1st Ex. Sess.) as amended May 25, 1994, pp. 2-3, italics added.) Circumstances that elevate a victim's vulnerability and fall within the one strike statutory scheme include sex offenses where the attacker: kidnapped the victim ( 667.61, subd. (e)(1)), inflicted great bodily injury on the victim ( 667.61, subd. (e)(3)), used a dangerous or deadly weapon in the commission of the sex offense ( 667.61, subd. (e)(4)), tied or bound the victim ( 667.61, subd. (e)(6)), administered a controlled substance to the victim by force or fear ( 667.61, subd. (e)(7)), or, as in the circumstance at issue here, committed the offense during the commission of a burglary of a commercial building, "which was then closed to the public" ( 667.61, subd. (e)(2)).