California, United States of America
The following excerpt is from People v. Skeirik, 229 Cal.App.3d 444, 280 Cal.Rptr. 175 (Cal. App. 1991):
In People v. Decker (1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 694, 245 Cal.Rptr. 40, the court affirmed a judgment imposing four consecutive fifteen-year-to-life terms under section 667.51, subdivision (c) (currently subd. (d)) following his convictions of four counts of lewd or lascivious acts and findings of two prior convictions within the meaning of section 667.51, subdivision (c). The court held that the statute provides for a term of imprisonment and not an enhancement and that there was no violation of section 654, prohibiting double punishment for the same act or omission. The court reasoned that section 654 "prohibits multiple punishment under different code provisions [229 Cal.App.3d 466] for a single 'act or omission'. (Citation.) Nothing in that section prohibits the use of the same priors to determine the appropriate sentence on more than one present offense. Section 667.51, subdivision (c), like other recidivist punishment statutes which impose increased sentences for repeat offenders, merely specifies the applicable sentence upon the present conviction for one with a certain criminal history. It is the current offense which calls for the penalty, the magnitude of which is attributable to appellant's status as a repeat offender. (People v. Jackson (1985) 37 Cal.3d 826, 833 [210 Cal.Rptr. 623, 694 P.2d 736]....) That status, which is based on prior convictions, existed at the time he committed each offense. While the status calls for the increased sentence, it is the new criminal conduct rather than the status which is being punished. Therefore, section 654 does not apply." (Id. 199 Cal.App.3d at p. 698, 245 Cal.Rptr. 40.)
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