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Name: People v. Correa
Case #: C054365
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/04/2008
Subsequent History: review granted 7/9/08, S163273

Under Penal Code section 12021, subdivision (a)(1), possession of multiple firearms by a person convicted of a felony can be punished separately. Responding to a call regarding firearms being moved into a house, a SWAT team surrounded the house and fired tear gas grenades into the dwelling. They then entered it and discovered appellant stuck in the back of a closet. On the floor of the closet were numerous rifles and shotguns. Appellant was subsequently convicted of seven counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of receiving stolen property, and sentenced to prison for 200 years to life. The appellate court rejected his claim that because the offenses arose from one incident, all but one of the sentences for violation of section 12021, subdivision (a)(1) must be stayed pursuant to Penal Code 654. Pointing to subdivision (k) of section 12021, the court ruled that the sentences were consistent with the Legislature’s intent that possession of each firearm is a separate crime. Further, there was factual support that they were separate crimes – the weapons were of different makes, requiring different ammunition, and on the basis of appellant’s conduct on the night in question it could be inferred that he was stockpiling the different firearms for a variety of future uses. In a footnote, the court also rejected appellant’s claim that under Apprendi, he had a right to a jury trial determination as to whether his firearm possession constituted separate crimes. According to the court, because section 654 is not a sentencing enhancing statute, but is a sentencing reduction statute, the rule of Apprendi is inapplicable to multiple punishment determinations.