Sacto 9-1-1
August 8, 2012
State Supreme Court upholds Woodland man's felony fake bomb conviction

The California Supreme Court has reinstated the felony conviction of a Woodland man who left a fake bomb at the Yolo County Communications Center in 2006.

A Yolo County jury in July 2008 convicted Barry Allen Turnage, 66, for leaving a fake bomb at the center in September 2006. Turnage was charged with a felony under a section of the California Penal Code that allows felony or misdemeanor punishment for anyone who maliciously places a false of facsimile bomb with the intent to cause another person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others.

Based on the felony conviction for placing the false bomb and his violent history, Turnage was sentenced to life in prison under California's Three Strikes Law. In separate cases, Turnage had been convicted of armed robbery and assault with a firearm for shooting a rifle into a Berkeley city fire truck, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

The felony fake bomb conviction was overturned by the 3rd District Court of Appeal for what the court wrote was a constitutional equal protection violation. Turnage had claimed in his appeal that the felony provision under which he was convicted and sentenced denied him equal protection of the law when compared to a different statute that provides that anyone who places "any false of facsimile of a weapon of mass destruction" with the intent to cause fear in others is guilty of a misdemeanor.

The state Supreme Court found that the felony provision under which Turnage was convicted did not deprive him of equal protection, reversing the Court of Appeal's judgment.

The California Attorney General's Office handled the appeal to the state Supreme Court seeking reversal of the Court of Appeal's decision.

Turnage is incarcerated at California State Prison, Sacramento in Folsom.

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