The California Supreme Court says two felony convictions stemming from a single act cannot be counted as separate strikes under the state's three strikes law.
The unanimous ruling on Thursday came in the case of a woman, Darlene Vargas, who was sentenced to 25-years to life for burglary on the basis of two prior convictions.
But the state Supreme Court said those convictions for robbery and carjacking stemmed from the same act, taking the victim's car by force.
The convictions should therefore not qualify for a harsher sentence as two separate strikes.
Writing for the court, Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar said treating the convictions as two separate strikes was inconsistent with the spirit of the three strikes law.
The justices sent the case back to the trial court for resentencing.