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Name: People v. Beman
Case #: A153841
Court: CA Supreme Court
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 02/21/2019

Trial court did not err by imposing consecutive sentences for conspiracy and the substantive offenses. Beman pleaded no contest to one count of conspiracy to commit human trafficking based on allegations that for more than seven years he and his coconspirators used threats, force, and violence in pimping at least three victims. Beman also pleaded no contest to two counts of human trafficking for his conduct against one of the three victims. Beman was sentenced to prison. He appealed, arguing that the two consecutive terms for the substantive human trafficking counts must be stayed under Penal Code section 654 because the substantive offenses were the only means by which the conspiracy was carried out. Held: Affirmed. Punishment for both conspiracy and the underlying substantive offenses is permissible when the conspiracy encompasses a number of acts, only some of which are punished independently as substantive offenses. Section 654 only bars multiple punishment when the conspiracy has multiple objects and all are punished as substantive offenses or when the conspiracy has but one object which is punished as a substantive offense. Here, Beman’s convictions for two counts of human trafficking relate to one victim and to acts that occurred in 2011. But the objectives of defendant’s conspiracy with his codefendants to commit human trafficking went far beyond the specific conduct in those two counts. Instead, the conspiracy involved conduct spanning from 2006 to 2013 and involved two other victims. As a result, section 654 does not bar punishment for both conspiracy and the substantive human trafficking convictions. The trial court properly imposed consecutive terms for all counts.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: