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Name: People v. Deegan
Case #: A143344
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/17/2016

Trial court did not violate Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466, 490 by making factual determinations regarding the applicability of Penal Code section 654. When a park ranger and police officer told Deegan, a homeless man, that he could not sleep in Golden Gate Park, Deegan assaulted them with a log, fled, and then evaded and assaulted additional officers who arrived as backup. Deegan was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon on the park ranger, assault on a peace officer (Carrasco), and resisting three police officers (including Carrasco). He was sentenced to consecutive terms. On appeal, Deegan argued that section 654 prohibited punishing him for both the assault on a peace officer and the forcible resistance convictions. Held: Affirmed. “Section 654 bars separate punishment for multiple offenses arising out of a single, indivisible course of action.” (People v. Neely (2009) 176 Cal.App.4th 787, 800.) However, there is a multiple victim exception: “even though a defendant entertains but a single principal objective during an indivisible course of conduct, he may be convicted and punished for each crime of violence committed against a different victim.” (People v. Ramos (1982) 30 Cal.3d 553, 587.) Although the jury was not asked to find that the victim of the assault (Carrasco) was different than the victim of the resisting charge, the trial court was empowered to (and did) make this factual determination itself. Apprendi requires that facts that increase the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum (other than the fact of a prior conviction) be submitted to a jury. But there is post-Apprendi jurisprudence holding that judges can make factual determinations in analogous contexts such as whether to impose concurrent or consecutive sentences. (See Oregon v. Ice (2009) 555 U.S. 160; People v. Black (2007) 41 Cal.4th 799, 821.) The Court of Appeal here concluded that Apprendi does not apply to a trial court’s findings of fact under section 654 and that substantial evidence supported the trial court’s findings.

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