Restitution Fine Case Law - California Penal Code Section 1202.4

Restitution Fine Case Law: Under Penal Code section 1202.4, where a person is convicted of a crime, the court shall impose a separate and additional restitution fine, and under the version of section 1202.4 that was in effect when appellant was sentenced, "in setting a felony restitution fine, the court may determine the amount of the fine as the product of two hundred dollars ($200) multiplied by the number of years of imprisonment the defendant is ordered to serve, multiplied by the number of felony counts of which the defendant is convicted." (Former 1202.4, subd. (b)(2).) Case law has recognized restitution fines, including a fine imposed under section 1202.4, subdivision (b) constitute a form of punishment. (People v. Hanson (2000) 23 Cal.4th 355, 361; People v. Le (2006) 136 Cal.App.4th 925, 933.) Penal Code Section 654 provides in relevant part, "(a) An act or omission that is punishable in different ways by different provisions of law shall be punished under the provision that provides for the longest potential term of imprisonment, but in no case shall the act or omission be punished under more than one provision." Section 654 applies not only where one act in the ordinary sense is involved but also where there is a course of conduct that violates more than one statute and comprises an indivisible transaction. (People v. Davis (1966) 241 Cal.App.2d 51, 55.) Thus, if a defendant is convicted of several offenses that were incident to one objective, the defendant may be punished for any one of such offenses, but not more than one. (People v. Perez (1979) 23 Cal.3d 545, 551.) Whether a course of conduct is divisible and thus gives rise to more than one act under section 654 depends on the defendant's intent and objective. (Neal v. State of California (1960) 55 Cal.2d 11, 19.) If all of a defendant's offenses were incident to one objective, he or she may be punished for any one of the offenses, but not more than one. (Ibid.) However, if a defendant entertains multiple criminal objectives independent of and not merely incidental to each other, he or she may be punished for the independent violations committed in pursuit of each objective even though the violations were part of an otherwise indivisible course of conduct. (People v. Perez, supra, 23 Cal.3d at p. 551.) The earliest case dealing with the application of section 654 in the context of a gang participation charge is People v. Herrera (1999) 70 Cal.App.4th 1456 (Herrera), a case from Division Three of the Fourth District Court of Appeal. Herrera was followed by the Fourth District, Division Three in People v. Ferraez (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 925, and by this court in In re Jose P. (2003) 106 Cal.App.4th 458 (Jose P.). Both cases indicate that multiple punishment for gang participation and for the underlying offense is permissible as long as the underlying offense requires a different specific intent. (Ferraez, supra, 112 Cal.App.4th at p. 935, possession of drugs with the intent to sell; Jose P., supra, 106 Cal.App.4th at pp. 470-471, robbery.) In Jose P., supra, 106 Cal.App.4th 458, the juvenile court found that the minor had committed a home invasion robbery, false imprisonment, first degree burglary, and street terrorism. The juvenile court found true the allegation he had committed these crimes for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal street gang. ( 186.22, subd. (b)(1).) The juvenile court committed the minor to the youth authority and calculated the maximum period of confinement as nine years for the robbery, 10 years for the gang enhancement, and eight months for the street terrorism offense. (Jose P., supra, 106 Cal.App.4th at p. 458.) The minor argued section 654 prohibited the imposition of a separate term of confinement on the street terrorism offense. This court noted the robbery was not the only felonious act upon which the court could have based its finding that minor had committed street terrorism because minor had also been found guilty of attempted robbery in a prior proceeding. (Id. at p. 470.) Relying on Herrera, we indicated that even if the minor's criminal liability for the street terrorism offense depended upon his participation in the robbery, the record supported a finding he harbored the separate intent and objective to participate in the gang. Accordingly, section 654 did not preclude separate punishment. (Jose P. supra, 106 Cal.App.4th at p. 470.)