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Sentence Violates Proscription Against Multiple Punshiments for Single Act

People v. Washington Court: California Courts of Appeal, Docket: B296437 (Second Appellate District), Opinion Date: March 9, 2021. Appellant appealed his conviction and sentence for possession of three controlled substances while armed with a firearm, possession of the three controlled substances for sale, possession of a firearm as a felon, and possession of ammunition as a felon. The Court of Appeal held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of appellant's prior conviction for possession for sale of cocaine base; nor did Evidence Code section 352 compel exclusion of the evidence; the evidence was sufficient to prove that appellant had knowledge of the narcotics found in the garage; and, having reviewed the sealed portion of the search warrant affidavit, the court found no error in the trial court's denial of appellant's motions to unseal, quash, and traverse the search warrant and to suppress all evidence found during the search of the garage. However, defendant's sentence violates Penal Code section 654's proscription against multiple punishments for a single act. The court explained that, under People v. Jones (2012) 54 Cal.4th 350, and its progeny, appellant's single possession of each item of contraband (methamphetamine, cocaine, cocaine base, and the firearm) constituted a single act, subject to only one punishment. Therefore, appellant's unstayed sentences for possessing controlled substances while armed imposed additional punishment for the same acts punished by his sentences for possession of the substances for sale and the possession of a firearm by a felon. Accordingly, appellant's sentence was unauthorized and the court vacated it, remanding for resentencing. The court otherwise affirmed.

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