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Name: People v. Chavez
Case #: B185907
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/04/2008

A defendant acquitted by reason of insanity on certain crimes must first be committed to a state hospital before he can be transferred to state prison. Chavez committed two separate sets of offenses, and was convicted of all the counts arising from them. The jury found that Chavez was insane at the time he committed the offenses in April, but sane at the time he committed the offenses in November. He was sentenced to a total term of 20 years in state prison and 16 years commitment to a state mental hospital to be served after the completion of the state prison term. On appeal, Chavez argued that he should have been committed to the state mental hospital first, and that the state prison term should have been concurrent. The appellate court held that the trial court should have ordered him to serve his state hospital commitment first. Where a defendant is convicted of some crimes and acquitted by reason of insanity as to others, whose sanity has not been restored at the time of sentencing, must first be committed to a state hospital for care and treatment until his sanity is restored. The question of whether to impose concurrent or consecutive sentences does not arise because there were not multiple convictions or multiple terms of imprisonment. A single term of imprisonment was imposed, and appellant was acquitted on the other offenses. There is no legal basis to order a state hospital commitment and a state prison sentence to run concurrently with or consecutively to one another. Chavez’s state prison sentence must be stayed until his sanity is restored, at which time he may be transferred to the trial court for imposition of the stayed prison term.