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Name: People v. Wong
Case #: B283174
Court: CA Supreme Court
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 09/28/2018
Summary

Where defendant convicted of attempted murder used three different weapons during attack on his wife, only one of three deadly weapon enhancements may be separately punished (Pen. Code, § 654). Wong suspected his wife was having an affair and attacked her with scissors, a butcher knife, and a knife. He was convicted of willful and deliberate premediated attempted murder. Three deadly weapon enhancements for use of scissors, a butcher knife, and a knife, and a great bodily injury enhancement were all found true. Wong was sentenced to life in prison, plus a consecutive five-year term for the great bodily injury (GBI) enhancement, plus three consecutive one-year terms for each of the deadly weapon enhancements (Pen. Code, § 12022, subd. (b)(1)). On appeal, Wong challenged the imposition of the three one-year consecutive deadly weapon enhancements. Held: Sentence modified. In determining if multiple enhancements may be imposed for a single crime, a court first considers the statutory language of the enhancements at issue. Section 12022, subdivision (b)(1) does not prescribe the number of deadly weapon enhancements which may be imposed on any one count. Penal Code section 1170.1, subdivision (f), which limits the number of deadly weapon enhancements, did not apply in this case because Wong received an indeterminate sentence and the statute only applies to determinate sentences. Because no specific statute provided the answer, and the court turned to section 654. “[W]hen applied to multiple enhancements for a single crime, section 654 bars multiple punishment for the same aspect of a criminal act.” (People v. Ahmed (2011) 53 Cal.4th 156, 164.) Although the enhancements for the use of deadly weapons involved different types of weapons, they all involved the same aspect of one crime. The Court of Appeal modified the sentence to stay two of the deadly weapon enhancements under section 654. The deadly weapon and GBI enhancements were properly separately punished because they punished different aspects of the crime.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/B283174.PDF