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Name: People v. Langston
Case #: S115998
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/16/2004

In this case the California Supreme Court resolved a conflict concerning the proper interpretation of Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (b), (imposing a consecutive one-year enhancement of the term imposed for conviction of a felony offense “for each prior separate prison term served for any felony”), where a prior prison term is served for an escape. The question was whether if a defendant is reimprisoned on the term he was serving at the time of the escape, and given an additional, consecutive term for the escape itself, is the entire term of imprisonment, interrupted by the escape, considered one separate prison term or two? In this opinion, the Court held that a prior separate prison term for escape should be treated no differently than any other prior prison term served for a felony offense, and thus should qualify for the one-year enhancement under section 667.5(b). Therefore, the Court reversed the appellate’s court opinion striking the enhancement for appellant’s 1984 escape conviction, and overruled In re Kelly (1983) 33 Cal.3d 267. J. Kennard dissented, holding that appellant served his prison sentence for the new offense and his sentence for escape at the same time, and therefore was subject only to a single one-year enhancement.