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Name: People v. Ahmed
Case #: E049932
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/21/2011
Subsequent History: Rev. gr. 4/20/11

Penal Code section 654 prohibits imposition of separate, unstayed sentences for firearm use and infliction of great bodily injury when defendant violated the enhancements with the same intent and objective. Appellant shot his girlfriend in the abdomen, causing life-threatening injuries. He was convicted of assault, and the jury found true the personal use of a firearm and personal infliction of great bodily injury enhancements. The court imposed separate, unstayed penalties for each enhancement. The appellate court found the enhancement punishments violated Penal Code section 654 and stayed the firearm use. Under Penal Code section 654, subdivision (a), where a course of criminal conduct is divisible, giving rise to more than one act, if the offenses are incident to one objective, the defendant may be punished for only one of the offenses. Although other courts have found that section 654 does not apply to enhancements, this court has found that it does and, under stare decisis, elected to follow precedent. The court rejected the People’s position that Penal Code section 1170.1 created a statutory exception to section 654. Under the court’s analysis, because Penal Code section 667.6 permits multiple punishments for enhancements, despite section 654, by negative implication, section 654 will limit enhancements for other offenses. It also rejected the People’s position that here the two enhancements do not punish the same act. Contrary to the People’s reasoning, under section 654, the test is whether defendant violated the enhancements with the same intent, not whether the elements of the statutes are the same.