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Name: People v. Goodliffe
Case #: C058588
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/14/2009
Summary

The trial court erred by imposing a full consecutive term for commission of lewd acts on a child where the crimes did not involve the same victim. Appellant pled guilty to a lewd act upon a child who is 14 or 15 years old by a person who is at least 10 years older (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (c)(1); count 1), two lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a); counts 5 and 10), one forcible lewd act upon a child under the age of 14 (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (b)(1); count 9), and one count of bigamy (Pen. Code, § 281, subd. (a); count 11). He was sentenced to an aggregate term of 19 years, 4 months in state prison, with the court imposing full-term consecutive sentences of 8 years for counts 9 (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (b)(1)) and 10 (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a)), pursuant to Penal Code section 667.6, subdivision (c). On appeal, appellant argued that the trial court did not have the authority to impose a full-term consecutive sentence for count 9, because: (1) appellant has only one qualifying conviction for purposes of section 667.6 (i.e., his conviction for violating Penal Code section 288, subdivision (b)), so the mandatory full-term consecutive sentencing provisions of subdivision (d) are inapplicable (People v. Jones (1988) 46 Cal.3d 585, 594-596); and (2) the discretionary full-term consecutive sentencing provisions of subdivision (c) are inapplicable because appellant did not commit any of his offenses against the same victim on the same occasion. Appellant explained that a recent change in the language of section 667.6, subdivision (c), effected by Jessica’s Law (Prop. 83) in 2006, removed the phrase “whether or not” before the phrase “the crimes involve the same victim on the same occasion” and replaced it with the word “if.” Thus, the plain language of subdivision (c) now allows full-term consecutive sentencing only “if the crimes involve the same victim on the same occasion.” The Attorney General responded that the plain language of the statute as amended should not be given its literal meaning because doing so would be contrary to the stated purpose of Jessica’s Law, which was “to strengthen and improve the laws that punish and control sexual offenders.” While recognizing that there was a possible inconsistency between the amended statute’s plain language and its stated purpose, the Court of Appeal held that any such inconsistency alone was not a sufficient reason to ignore the statute’s plain language, which quite clearly limits trial courts’ discretion to impose full-term consecutive sentences under subdivision (c) of section 667.6 unless the defendant’s offenses were committed against the same victim on the same occasion. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment as it relates to defendant’s sentence under section 667.6, subdivision (c), and remanded for resentencing. The Court of Appeal also agreed with appellant that a non-visitation order with respect to the victims of appellant’s bigamy conviction, imposed pursuant to Penal Code section 1202.05, was unauthorized and should be reversed because bigamy is not an offense that is enumerated in section 1202.05.