Can a defendant be punished for each sex crime committed in the same sexual assault case?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Murphy, B303415 (Cal. App. 2020):

Even when two crimes are based upon different acts, section 654 requires a stay of the punishment of one crime when both crimes are committed as part of a course of conduct with a single intent and objective. (People v. Corpening, supra, 2 Cal.5th at p. 311.) Thus, "if all of the offenses were merely incidental to, or were the means of accomplishing or facilitating one objective, defendant may be found to have harbored a single intent and therefore may be punished only once. [Citation.] [] If, on the other hand, defendant harbored 'multiple criminal objectives,' which were independent of and not merely incidental to each other, he may be punished for each statutory violation committed in pursuit of each objective, 'even though the violations shared common acts or were parts of an otherwise indivisible course of conduct.' " (People v. Harrison (1989) 48 Cal.3d 321, 335.)

A defendant may harbor multiple criminal objectives for purposes of applying section 654 even if the intent and objective of each crime is the same or similar. (People v. Latimer (1993) 5 Cal.4th 1203, 1211-1212.) Thus, one who commits multiple sex crimes may have the same objectivesexual gratificationeach time he commits the crime, but can be punished separately for each

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