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Name: People v. Edwards
Case #: E049845
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/24/2011

In a case with various enhancements for prior drug convictions attached to different counts pursuant to Health and Safety Code sections 11370.2, subdivisions (a) and (c), the status enhancement may only be applied once to the aggregated sentence rather than applied to separate counts. After a plea of no contest, the court selected a principal count of transportation of heroin and added nine years for three prior drug conviction enhancements attached to that count. On three other counts, the court imposed concurrent terms plus nine years for the prior drug conviction enhancements but stayed the entire term on those counts pursuant to Penal Code section 654. Enhancements based on prior convictions are status enhancements. Health and Safety Code section 11370.2 is arguably ambiguous because there are three sets of qualifying offenses in three separate subdivisions. In the absence of an express intention to create an exception to the rule that status enhancements only apply once, it is presumed that the Legislature did not intend the enhancements to attach to each separate qualifying count.
Prior prison term enhancements could not be imposed in two cases that were sentenced consecutively. The court imposed three years for three prior prison term enhancements in an initial case. In a separate case that resulted in a consecutive sentence, the same three prison prior enhancements resulted in three consecutive one year terms. Prior prison term enhancements are status enhancements that may be imposed only once on the aggregate sentence.