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Name: People v. Ramirez
Case #: B213097
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 05/25/2010

A Penal Code section 12022.55 enhancement cannot apply when the victim is the occupant of a motor vehicle. Appellant’s act of shooting at an occupied vehicle caused the death of one of the occupants. Based on this act, the jury convicted him of, inter alia, a violation of section 246, and found true enhancements under section 12022.53, subdivision (b) and (c), and section 12022.55. Section 12022.55 reads "Notwithstanding Section 12022.5, any person, who with the intent to inflict great bodily injury or death, inflicts great bodily injury … or causes the death of a person, other than an occupant of a motor vehicle, as a result of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony, … shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment …." Appellant argued that the enhancement had to be reversed because the decedent was in a car. Applying the rules of statutory construction, the court held that because the statute was not subject to more than one reasonable interpretation, the plain meaning rule applies. The court rejected respondent’s theory that the enhancement would only be inapplicable to occupant’s of the defendant’s car based on the statute’s plain language. The court reversed the section 12022.55 enhancement.