Monge v. California Page 17

Monge v. California general information

Media for Monge v. California

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 28, 1998 in Monge v. California

Stephen G. Breyer:

How does it work?

Matthew D. Roberts:

--I think that it's the case with sentencing determinations like this, and recidivist determinations, that it's a new... that the State has a new chance to establish that true finding.

It has been traditionally the case that that would bind the State in future cases.

Stephen G. Breyer:

The State loses the first time in the sentencing proceeding, where the issue is what happened on the night of July 5, 1988, at 6:00 in the morning, did he have a gun or not, and then he commits another crime, and in sentencing it becomes relevant again, and the State isn't bound, they can bring it up again, try and get him again?

Matthew D. Roberts:

My understanding, from what the California supreme court stated to be the rule, is that that's... that the case with recidivist findings is that the findings may be alleged again in future proceedings.

Stephen G. Breyer:

Do you think there's a Due Process Clause issue there?

Matthew D. Roberts:

There certainly might be limitations under the Due Process Clause on what would be permissible, but that... you know, obviously that's not the question here.

That hasn't--

Anthony M. Kennedy:

Well, DiFrancesco talked about an expectation of finality, and pointed out that there the defendant knew that there was a proceeding where the sentence could be appealed and that there might be more hearings, but if you have a procedure in which the sentence is final, the appellate court affirms the sentence, and then there's some proceeding, new proceeding to reopen it, it seems to me that that does maybe indicate that an expectation of finality is being disappointed.

That's not this case, I don't think.

Matthew D. Roberts:

--Correct, it's not this case, Justice Kennedy, and we would submit that the expectation of finality that's created only goes so far as the State law that creates it.

I think it's important to recognize that the rule advanced by petitioner that trial-like hallmarks at sentencing automatically triggers a bar on resentencing places too little value on society's interest in accurate and appropriate punishment, and too great a value on defendant's interest in finality.

And it's been pointed out, it might discourage States from providing procedural protections at sentencing, because they wouldn't be free to do so without also triggering double jeopardy protection.

Finally, just to briefly address the issue that came up on the question of Almendarez-Torres.

In addition to the fact that it hasn't been argued here, I think it would be inappropriate... for the same reason that it would be inappropriate to have a rule that triggered double jeopardy by the procedural protections, it would be inappropriate to have a rule that said that the State has to make things an element of the offense when it decides it wants to provide certain procedural protections, because that's forcing it to trade off its interests in accurate and appropriate punishment against its decision to afford defendant certain protections to make the sentencing proceeding more fair.

In essence, the reading of Bullington that's advanced by petitioner here is as unworkable and unwise as it is unwarranted by precedent and principle, and we would ask that the Court should affirm the judgment of the California supreme court.

William H. Rehnquist:

Thank you, Mr. Roberts.

The case is submitted.

The honorable court is now adjourned until tomorrow at ten o'clock.