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The People v. Efren Mora Sanchez

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION TWO


December 2, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
EFREN MORA SANCHEZ, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.

APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County. Mark E. Johnson, Judge. (Super.Ct.No. RIF138622) Affirmed as modified.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: McKinster J.

P. v. Sanchez CA4/2

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

OPINION

I

INTRODUCTION

In an amended information filed on September 8, 2009, defendant and appellant Erfen M. Sanchez was charged with (1) the murder of Raquel Mendoza (Raquel) under Penal Code section 187, subdivision (a) (count 1); (2) gross vehicular manslaughter resulting in the death of Raquel under Penal Code section 191.5, subdivision (d) (count 2); driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury to Andres Mendoza (Andres) under Vehicle Code section 23153, subdivision (a) (count 3); driving with a specified blood-alcohol percentage causing injury to Andres under Vehicle Code section 23153, subdivision (b) (count 4); and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injuries under Vehicle Code sections 20001, subdivision (a) and 20003 (counts 5-6).*fn1

On September 15, 2009, a jury convicted defendant of all charges. The trial court sentenced defendant to two indeterminate 15-year-to-life terms, to run consecutive with a determinate sentence of three years eight months. The indeterminate terms consisted of two concurrent 15-year-to-life sentences imposed on the murder and gross vehicular manslaughter counts. The determinate term was composed of the midterm of three years on one of the hit and run charges (count 5), and a consecutive one-third of the midterm sentence of eight months on one of the driving under the influence causing injury charges (count 3). Moreover, midterm sentences were imposed on counts 4 and 6, but ordered to run concurrent with the other counts.

On appeal, defendant contends, and the People concede, that the trial court erred in imposing concurrent prison terms under section 654. For the reasons set forth below, we agree with the parties and modify the judgment.

II

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Defendant only challenges his sentence, not the sufficiency of evidence. Therefore, only a brief version of the facts will be provided.

On the evening of August 19, 2007, defendant was driving his truck down a residential street at a speed of approximately 70 miles per hour. Defendant drove through a stop sign and into an intersection, without touching the brakes. As he entered the intersection, defendant's truck crashed into the passenger side of a vehicle driven by Andres. Andres's mother, Raquel, was riding in the passenger seat. She was killed instantly upon impact. Andres suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

Following the crash, defendant got out of his truck and ran away from the scene. He was located shortly thereafter, with the aid of a helicopter search team; he was hiding in the bushes 100 feet away from the crash site. Defendant's blood-alcohol level was .205 percent several hours after the crash.

III

ANALYSIS

Defendant's sole contention on appeal is that under section 654, the trial court erred in imposing concurrent sentences on (1) count 2, gross vehicular manslaughter, and count 1, murder; and (2) count 4, driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or above causing injury to Andres, and count 3, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury to Andres. Instead of concurrent sentences, defendant contends the court should have stayed the sentences on counts 2 and 4. The People concede.

In this case, defendant was charged in count 1 with the murder of Raquel, under section 187, subdivision (a). In count 2, defendant was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter for the death of Raquel, under section 191.5, subdivision (d). The jury convicted defendant on both counts. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court acknowledged that count 2 is "basically the same offense [as count 1], same time, same act, same everything," before sentencing defendant to 15 years to life on both counts, to run concurrently.

Moreover, defendant was charged in count 3 with driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury to Andres under Vehicle Code section 23153, subdivision (a), and in count 4 with driving while having a blood-alcohol percentage of .08 or more, causing injury to Andres, in violation of Vehicle Code section 23153, subdivision (b). The jury convicted defendant of both counts. The trial court sentenced defendant to two years on count 4, and to eight months on count 3, and ordered the sentences to run concurrently.

Section 654, subdivision (a) provides, in pertinent part: "An act or omission that is punishable in different ways by different provisions of law shall be punished under the provision that provides for the longest potential term of imprisonment, but in no case shall the act or omission be punished under more than one provision." Section 654 precludes multiple punishments not only for a single act, but for an indivisible course of conduct. (People v. Hester (2000) 22 Cal.4th 290, 294; see also People v. Centers (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 84, 98 [Fourth Dist., Div. Two]; People v. Akins (1997) 56 Cal.App.4th 331, 338-339 [Fourth Dist., Div. Two]; People v. Liu (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 1119, 1135.) "The purpose of this statute is to prevent multiple punishment for a single act or omission, even though that act or omission violates more than one statute and thus constitutes more than one crime." (People v. Hutchins (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 1308, 1312.)

In this case, we agree with the parties that under section 654, the trial court erred in imposing concurrent sentences for counts 1 and 2, and counts 3 and 4. Therefore, the judgment should be modified to reflect that the sentence on counts 2 and 3 be stayed.*fn2

IV

DISPOSITION

Defendant's sentence is modified to stay execution of the sentences on counts 2 and 3. In all other respects, the judgment is affirmed.

The clerk of the superior court is directed to issue an amended abstract of judgment within 30 days of the date of this opinion and to send a certified copy of the amended abstract to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS

/s/

We concur:

/s/ Ramirez

P.J.

/s/ Hollenhorst

J.


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