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Name: People v. Walker
Case #: C030891
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/03/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 7/18/01 as S097725

A defendant who is charged with a felony, is released on bail, and fails to appear as required can be punished for violations of both Penal Code sections 1320.5 (failure to appear) and 12022.1 (the enhancement for committing an offense while on bail or on own recognizance). Section 12022.1 does not punish an act or omission within the meaning of Penal Code section 654. Rather, it is an enhancement attributable to the status of the offender. Thus, section 654 does not apply to punishment imposed under section 12022.1. The court also rejected the theory, offered by the dissent, that section 1320.5 is a special statute which prevailed over the general statute of section 12022.1. That doctrine applies only in two circumstances: 1) where each element of the “general” statute corresponds to an element on the face of the “special” statute, or 2) where it appears from the entire context that a violation of the “special” statute will necessarily or commonly result in a violation of the “general” statute. Here, the elements are different (section 12022.1 requires a conviction on the primary offense). Also, if the accused is acquitted on the primary charge, a conviction of section 1320.5 will not commonly result in a violation of section 12022.1. Finally, the general-special rule is a rule of statutory construction which applies when the two statutes cannot rationally be applied standing alone. Here the statutes can be reasonably interpreted to reflect a legislative intent that a person who fails to appear for court proceedings regarding a felony for which the person ultimately is convicted is more culpable than a person who fails to appear on an alleged felony for which the person ultimately is acquitted.