January 14, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

Federal Court of Appeal reverses 28 years to life sentence based upon three strikes felony law, proving you should never stop fighting your conviction of sentence by hiring an experienced California criminal appeals attorney

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a 28 year to life sentence that was handed down to a California man who failed to register as a sex offender. The Court of Appeal in Gonzales vs. Dunan, 2008 DJ DAR 18915 held that it was a violation of the 8th Amendment of our United States Constitution as “cruel and unusual punishment” to impose this type of prison sentence under the facts of this case.

What makes this decision so important is that after the defendant was found guilty of failure to register as a sex offender per Penal Code Section 290 the trial court sentenced him to 28 years to life in prison. The defendant then appealed to all of the California Court including the California Supreme Court. All the California courts rejected his appeal. Then Gonzalez took his case to the federal courts but the federal district court in Orange County also rejected his appeal. However, the accused’s California appellate lawyers would not quit their fight to receive justice. Finally, their pleas were heard and the federal court of appeals said that Gonzalez conviction was just too harsh to be constitutional.

In this case, the defendant had prior felony convictions for attempted rape in 1988 and lewd act upon a child in 1989. The defendant went to prison and upon his release was advised he had to register as a sex offender on his birthday each year. The defendant continued to reside at the same residence but he forgot to register on his birthday in 2001. He had registered a few months before his birthday. When his failure to register as a California sex offender came to the attention of authorities he was arrested and was facing a “three strikes case”.

Gonzalez made the major error of attempting to represent himself at his trial. He was found guilty and the trial judge imposed a 28 year to life sentence due to the “three strike law” in California. He has been in prison since his arrest in 2001.

Based upon the court of appeals ruling it is likely Gonzalez will be resentenced shortly and soon be released form custody. When you or a loved one has been given a prison sentence or is facing any serious felony matter it is critical you seek the legal advice of a highly qualified southern California criminal appeals law firm such as Wallin and Klarich to help you. It is never too late to keep fighting for justice. You can reach us at 888-749-0034 and visit us at www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.

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