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Name: People v. Fuentes
Case #: G048563
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/20/2014
Subsequent History: Review granted 8/13/2014: S219109
Summary

Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (g) does not eliminate the trial court’s power to dismiss a section 186.22, subdivision (b) enhancement under Penal Code section 1385, subdivision (a). Fuentes pled guilty to two criminal offenses. Over the prosecution’s objection, the trial court dismissed a section 186.22(b) enhancement pursuant to section 1385(a). The prosecutor appealed, contending that under section 186.22(g), the trial court did not have the power to strike the enhancement, but only the additional punishment for the enhancement. Held: Affirmed. Section 186.22(g) provides that a trial court may strike the additional punishment for a section 186.22(b) enhancement “notwithstanding any other law.” This statutory phrase is a term of art and means that the trial court’s power to dismiss or strike additional punishment for the enhancement governs over, overrides, or displaces only contrary, conflicting, or inconsistent law. Section 1385(a), which gives a trial court authority to dismiss or strike enhancement allegations, does not conflict with section 186.22(g) because dismissing or striking an enhancement allegation and striking the additional punishment are two different things, as recognized in section 1385 itself. As a result, the phrase “notwithstanding any other law” in section 186.22(g) is not a clear direction that the Legislature intended to eliminate the trial court’s power under section 1385 to dismiss a section 186.22(b) enhancement. At the time section 186.22(g) was enacted in 1989, it complemented section 1385 because section 1385 did not give trial courts authority to strike additional punishment for enhancements until 2000. The court disagreed with People v. Campos (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 438 on this issue. The case was remanded because the trial court did not state the reason for dismissing the enhancement in a minute order, as required by section 1385(a).