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People v. Archer

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Seventh Division

September 15, 2014

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
VAUGHN ARCHER, Defendant and Appellant.

[As modified Oct. 14, 2014.]

APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. BA390420 Carol H. Rehm, Jr., Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Leonard J. Klaif, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Chung Mar and Jessica C. Owen, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

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SEGAL, J. [*]


Before the trial court accepts a defendant’s guilty or no contest plea, the court must advise the defendant of his or her maximum possible sentence if convicted of all charges. Failure to do so may be good cause to allow the defendant to withdraw the plea. In advising the defendant of the maximum possible sentence, does the court have to take into account the potential consequences of Penal Code section 654?[1] Our answer is no.

Defendant Vaughn Archer appeals from the trial court’s order denying his motion to withdraw his no contest plea. Archer contends that the trial court overstated the maximum sentence he faced if convicted on all nine of the charges against him when the court advised him that he faced a maximum sentence of 34 years, 4 months to life. Archer asserts that the trial court should have taken into account that Section 654 would have applied to stay the sentences on some of the charges, and that, considering section 654, the maximum sentence Archer actually faced was 23 years to life. Archer contends that had he known his maximum sentence was 23 years to life rather than 34 years, 4 months to life, he would not have accepted the negotiated disposition of 27 years, 4 months. We conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Archer’s motion to withdraw his plea, and we affirm.


A. The Crimes

At 6:00 a.m. on October 27, 2011 Hagi Ahmad was sitting in his car with the windows up in front of a convenience store before his class at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. While he was waiting for the store to open so he could buy some food for breakfast before school, he saw Archer “punching” the car windows and saying something Ahmad could not hear. When Ahmad opened the car door and asked him what he wanted, Archer pulled on the door and said, “Okay, I own you now. Give me my car keys.” Ahmad tried to close the door and said, “This is not your car. This is my car.” Archer overpowered Ahmad, took the key out of his hand, punched him, and

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threw him on the street. Archer then took Ahmad over to the sidewalk and punched and kicked him in his head, chest, and leg.

Archer left, only to return and start hitting and kicking Ahmad again. Archer took Ahmad’s watch and cell phone and tried unsuccessfully to take the rings off his fingers. Archer then dragged Ahmad by the hood of his sweatshirt about a block and left him in the middle of the intersection, where a car almost hit him. Archer went back to Ahmad’s car and drove it away.

Approximately half an hour later, Jon Murga was withdrawing cash from an automated teller machine. As he drove to the loading dock of a produce distributor to pick up some produce for a grocery store he owned, he noticed a car following him. Murga parked near the loading dock and was putting down the seats in his car when Archer approached. Archer was very animated and was trying to engage Murga in conversation, but Murga ignored him. Archer then demanded Murga’s car keys. He grabbed a crowbar that was on the backseat of Murga’s car and started chasing Murga with the crowbar. Archer approached Murga swinging his fists, and Murga ran into the middle of the street and tripped on a pothole. Archer assaulted him and took the car keys.

Murga called for help and a dispatcher from the produce distributor, Kipp Skaden, came to his aid. Archer attacked Skaden and Murga with the crowbar and hit Skaden on the head and elbow. Archer then went back to Murga’s car and drove away. Murga’s wallet and passport were in the car, along with clothing and other personal items. Skaden’s injuries required stitches. The police recovered Murga’s car, passport, and credits cards, as ...

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