What are the consequences of defendant failing to object at the time of sentencing?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Warner, 256 Cal.Rptr.3d 657, 43 Cal.App.5th 457 (Cal. App. 2019):

Defendant forfeited these sentencing claims because he did not object at the time of sentencing. Failure to object forfeits "claims involving the trial courts failure to properly make or articulate its discretionary sentencing choices. Included in this category are cases in which the stated reasons allegedly do not apply to the particular case, and cases in which the court purportedly ... misweighed the various factors, or failed to ... give a sufficient number of valid reasons." ( People v. Scott (1994) 9 Cal.4th 331, 353, 36 Cal.Rptr.2d 627, 885 P.2d 1040.) The reasoning behind the rule is that trial counsel is charged with clarifying permissible sentencing choices at the hearing, and "[r]outine defects in the courts statement of reasons are easily prevented and corrected if called to the courts attention." ( Ibid . )

"[T]he Scott rule applies when the trial court clearly apprise[s] the parties of the sentence the court intends to impose and the reasons that support any discretionary choices [citation], and gives the parties a chance to seek clarification or change [citation] by objecting to errors in the sentence. The parties are given an adequate opportunity to seek such clarifications or changes if, at any time during the sentencing hearing, the trial court describes the sentence it intends to impose and the reasons for the sentence, and the court thereafter considers the objections of the parties before the actual sentencing. The court need not expressly describe its proposed sentence as tentative so long as it demonstrates a willingness to consider such objections." ( People v. Gonzalez (2003) 31 Cal.4th 745, 752, 3 Cal.Rptr.3d 676, 74 P.3d 771.)

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