Thursday, June 09, 2011

People v. Villanueva (Cal. Ct. App. - June 8, 2011)

Villanueva gets convicted of attempted murder and mayhem.  Bummer for him.  Plus there's some firearm enhancements.  But at least the jury hangs on the most serious of those enhancements.  He's sentenced to 20 years in prison.

He appeals.  He prevails.  Huge celebration, presumably.  He gets a retrial.

Further victories for Villanueva.  The prosecution has 60 days to retry him.  At the end of that period, they can't find the victim.  So they dismiss the charges.  More celebration for Villanueva!

But they promptly refile them, thus getting another 60 days.  Which they can do.  And this time, the trial goes on time.  Sorry about that, V.

But yet more good news for Villanueva.  At the second trial, the jury acquits him of attempted murder, though it still convicts him of mayhem and attempted involuntary manslaughter.  So at least a partial victory, right?  Sure, the jury finds him guilty on all the enhancements, but he's only convicted this time of a lesser offense.  So things are looking up, eh?

Uh oh.  That's not how California works.  Because, you see, the enhancements are big.  So while Villanueva was "only" sentenced to 20 years previously, even with his lesser conviction, after the retrial, he now receives a sentence of 25 years to life -- plus eight additional years for mayhem -- rather than the set 20 he previously received.  He argues that that's vindictive, but the Court of Appeal disagrees.  Nope, we just retried you and got a harsher result this time.  That's the way of the world.

Oh, by the way.  Villanueva was offered a plea deal before his second trial.  16 years.  He turned it down.


Sometimes victory ain't victory in the end.