California Penal Code Section 311.11 - Interpretation

In People v. Manfredi (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 622 , the court found the defendant's "simultaneous possession of multiple child pornography materials at the same location is chargeable as but one criminal offense under section 311.11." (Manfredi, supra, 169 Cal.App.4th at p. 624.) The court believed section 311.11's criminalization of the possession of "any matter" was clearly suggestive of an intent to establish a single prosecution based upon a broad course of conduct involving multiple pornographic images. (Id. at pp. 633-634.) The court found that if the legislative aim had been to make the possession of each individual item of child pornography a separate offense, it could have clearly expressed that intent, and "yet, the Legislature has not taken any steps to provide that each single piece of evidence in a child pornography case can be the basis of a separate count." (Id. at p. 634.) Absent a legislative amendment to change the express wording of section 311.11, the Manfredi court held that possession of multiple images of child pornography cannot be "fragmented" into separate counts so long as the images are possessed "simultaneously" and are "found at the same time and in the same place." (Ibid.)