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Name: People v. Ramirez
Case #: F053454
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/06/2008

A defendant may be prosecuted for both receiving aid by misrepresentation (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 10980), and perjury by false application (Pen. Code, § 118). A jury convicted appellant of both receiving aid by misrepresentation and perjury arising out of the same acts. On appeal she argued she could not be convicted of both crimes because the former statute is a specific statute precluding prosecution under the latter statute, which is a general one. The general rule is that when a specific or special statute covers much of the same subject as a more general statute so that the violation of the specific statute will necessarily result in the violation of the more general statute, prosecution under the general statute is precluded, unless the Legislature shows it intended for alternative prosecutions to be permitted. (Mitchell v. Superior Court (1989) 49 Cal.3d 1230, 1250.) Relying on People v. Jenkins (1980) 28 Cal.3d 494, where the court declined to hold that prosecution for welfare fraud precluded prosecution under the perjury statutes, the Court of Appeal affirmed both convictions here. The court rejected appellant’s contention that Jenkins was limited to AFDC claims and could not be applied to the government program at issue here (CalWORKs). The court discussed the legislative history of CalWORKs, and noted it replaced AFDC. “[W]hen the Legislature overhauled aid programs from AFDC to CalWORKs, it was well aware of the Jenkins opinion.” And by requiring that statements by aid recipients be signed under penalty of perjury, the Legislature intended there could be simultaneous prosecutions for misrepresentation and perjury.