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People v. Smith
California Court of Appeal
94 Cal. App. 3d 433 (1979)
Michael Smith (defendant) pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, and one of the robbery counts included an allegation that Smith used a knife. Smith and Dale Booth were Marine Corps members who were absent without official leave from duty. Smith and Booth needed money and targeted an elderly man to rob, breaking into an apartment that they mistakenly believed belonged to the elderly man. Instead, two women were asleep in a bed, and Smith and Booth climbed on top of them. After demanding money and receiving $18, Smith and Booth spent four hours inside the apartment, sexually harassing and abusing the two women and a third woman who entered the apartment later. Smith admitted that he ordered the women to remove their underwear so that they would not leave the apartment. Both Smith and Booth wielded knives during the robberies and assaults; Booth cut one woman’s hand. The trial court sentenced Smith to a total of five years of incarceration. Smith received an aggravated term of four years for robbery, plus a one-year sentencing enhancement for use of a knife, and the second robbery sentence ran concurrently. The trial court reasoned that Smith’s crime warranted an aggravated sentence because there were multiple victims, the victims suffered a threat of great bodily harm, and the victims were particularly vulnerable. Smith appealed from his sentence, arguing that the trial court erred by imposing the aggravated sentence because the term particularly vulnerable is vague and the court’s finding that the victims were particularly vulnerable was unjustified.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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