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Name: People v. Linville
Case #: A140600
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 09/28/2018
Summary

The prosecution was not barred from charging defendant with murder where she previously pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the killings because the prosecutions did not involve the same course of conduct. During the early stages of a homicide investigation, Linville pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the killings, based on the premise that her boyfriend had committed the two murders and she got rid of a car days later to help him evade detection. Her boyfriend agreed to testify about her involvement in the murders. She also bragged to others about getting away with murder. Linville was later charged with two counts of first degree murder, but only found guilty of one murder and conspiracy to commit murder. She appealed, contending that her subsequent prosecution for murder was prohibited by Penal Code section 654. Held: Affirmed. When the prosecution is or should be aware of more than one offense in which the same act or course of conduct plays a significant part, all such offenses must be prosecuted in a single proceeding, and failure to unite all such offenses will result in a bar to subsequent prosecution. (Kellett v. Superior Court (1966) 63 Cal.2d 822, 827.) The court examined the “totality of the facts” in light of section 654’s legislative goals, focusing on the conduct the defendant herself committed, to find that the offenses were not so “interrelated” to prohibit separate prosecutions. Here, if there had been no murder, Linville could not have been prosecuted as an accessory. However, conviction as an accessory to those two murders did not require proof that she was involved in either killing because it was based on the theory her boyfriend committed the murders. The murders were committed on a different day and place than the disposal of the vehicle, and with different objectives. The risk of wasting resources through relitigation and the risk of harassment to Linville was minimal, whereas the interest in prosecuting her for murder was great.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/A140600.PDF