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Name: People v. Jones
Case #: S179552
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/21/2012

Under Penal Code section 654, a defendant can be punished only once for multiple convictions involving a single act or omission. Appellant was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, carrying a readily accessible concealed and unregistered firearm, and carrying an unregistered loaded firearm in a public place. The three offenses stemmed from the same incident where the police searched a vehicle driven by appellant and found a loaded gun not registered to appellant in the door panel. Appellant was sentenced to three concurrent terms. Overruling In re Hayes (1969) 70 Cal.2d 604, and disapproving People v. Harrison (1969) 1 Cal.App.3d 115, the Supreme Court focused on the actual language of section 654, which proscribes multiple punishment for a single act or omission made punishable by different statutes. Recognizing that situations may arise where it is difficult to ascertain what a single act might be, the Court nevertheless found the single act approach preferable to one where the court would have to divine the objective[s] the defendant might have in committing the crime.