By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Fifth District Court of Appeal yesterday rejected a child molester’s contention that his sentence of 396 years to life in prison constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, spurning the view expressed by the late California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk in 1998 that a prison term exceeding a human life span is senseless and necessarily violates the Eighth Amendment.
Presiding Justice Brad Hill noted that Mosk’s concurring opinion in People v. Deloza “been rejected by other courts.”
Hill said, in his unpublished decision:
“[D]efendant’s sentence actually serves valid penological goals, including vindication of society’s sense of justice, protecting society from criminal harms, and deterring criminal behavior….
“As defendant seems to acknowledge, his sentence is effectively a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Considering the number of victims (three children under 10 years old and one child under 14 years old), the repeated abuse, the eight-month period over which the crimes occurred, the gravity and cumulative nature of the crimes, and the likely lifelong impact on the child victims, we conclude defendant’s sentence plainly furthers these valid penological goals.”
The jurist went on to say:
“Defendant’s acts of molestation affected at least three children while they were under his care and at extremely vulnerable times in their lives, realistically leading to lifelong consequences for them. Furthermore, defendant continued to commit the offenses over an eight-month period. Given this record, the sentence that defendant received furthered acceptable penological goals of retribution, incapacitation, and deterrence and, accordingly, was not excessive. In light of our finding that defendant’s claim is meritless and that established precedent has rejected similar constitutional challenges, defendant cannot show defense counsel was ineffective for failing to raise the claim below.”
The case is People v. Long, F079251.
Copyright 2021, Metropolitan News Company