Criminal Prosecution In Different Courts for a Single Incident

In People v. Hartfield (1970) 11 Cal. App. 3d 1073 [90 Cal. Rptr. 274], the defendant, facing a felony prosecution and a misdemeanor prosecution in different courts arising out of a single incident, entered a plea of guilty to the misdemeanor charge. He then advanced the sentencing date on the misdemeanor and obtained a judgment. on the day set for trial on the felonies, he moved to dismiss those charges on the ground section 654 precluded prosecution and hence punishment for those offenses. The court, believing it was compelled to do so, granted the motion. On appeal by the People, the court held that prosecution on the felony charges was not precluded, emphasizing that a defendant may not by connivance and concealment procure judgment on the misdemeanor case in order to claim the benefit of section 654. (11 Cal. App. 3d at p. 1081.) Further, the court addressed the prohibition against multiple punishment should the defendant be convicted of a felony. The court stated that if the defendant were subsequently convicted of one or more of the felony charges, and if the trial court determined that the felony and previously sentenced misdemeanor fall within the purview of section 654, that the trial court may satisfy the statute by sentencing on the greater offense and granting credit for time served on the lesser misdemeanor charge. (People v. Hartfield, supra, 11 Cal. App. 3d at p. 1082.)