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Name: People v. Weeks
Case #: E057282
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/18/2014
Summary

Trial court erred by finding a prison prior (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (b)) allegation true where the prison term had not yet been completed prior to the date of the new offense. Weeks was convicted of possessing marijuana in a prison and possessing a weapon in a prison in January of 2011. At the time he committed these offenses, he was serving a prison sentence for crimes committed in 2006. At his sentencing hearing on the current case, the trial court found that Weeks’ 2006 offense constituted a prison prior under Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (b), and imposed a consecutive one-year prison term for the prison prior. On appeal, Weeks contended that the trial court erred by using his 2006 offense as the basis for a prison prior because he had not completed his term of imprisonment at the time he committed the current offenses. The appellate court agreed and reversed the finding on the prior offense. A prior prison term is defined, in pertinent part, as “a continuous completed period of prison incarceration imposed for the particular offense . . . .” (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (g).) Applying rules of statutory construction, the court concluded that the prison term must be “completed” by the date the new offense is committed for section 667.5, subdivision (b) to apply. Thus, the time the new offense is committed (not the time of conviction and not the time the prior is found true) is the trigger date for a section 667.5, subdivision (b) prison prior. Because Weeks had not completed his prison term for the 2006 offense at the time the new offenses took place, the trial court erred by finding that the 2006 offense constituted a prison prior.