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People v. Adams

August 18, 2009


Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court of Orange County, James A. Stotler, Judge. Affirmed. (Super. Ct. No. 07CF1141).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Moore, J.



Guy Sinclair Adams (defendant) was charged by amended information with battery causing serious bodily injury, in violation of Penal Code section 243, subdivision (d) (count one), and with hit and run causing property damage, in violation of Vehicle Code section 20002, subdivision (a) (count two). In addition, the amended information alleged that: (1) pursuant to Penal Code section 667, subdivisions (d) and (e)(2)(A) and Penal Code section 1170.12, subdivisions (b) and (c)(2)(A), defendant had suffered two prior strikes; (2) pursuant to Penal Code section 667, subdivision (a)(1), defendant had suffered two prior serious felony convictions; and (3) pursuant to Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (b), defendant had suffered four prior prison convictions.

The jury found defendant guilty on counts one and two. The court struck the second strike alleged. It also struck the second prior serious felony conviction. The court sentenced defendant to eight years in state prison on count one, five years for the remaining prior serious felony conviction, and one year for each of three of the prior prison convictions, for a total of 16 years. It also sentenced him to six months in jail on count two, to run concurrently with the sentence on count one.

Defendant appeals. He contends the court gave conflicting jury instructions on the right of self-defense and on citizen's arrest, and thus deprived him of both his right to put on a defense and due process. We affirm. The court properly instructed the jury.


This matter arises out of a hit-and-run accident on the freeway, an ensuing chase, and ultimately, a fist fight. Certain persons on the scene provided somewhat differing testimony, as follows.

On the morning of March 29, 2007, defendant was driving a van eastbound on the 22 Freeway. He had been up at night, was tired, and fell asleep while driving on the freeway. Passengers in each vehicle testified that the van rear-ended a car ahead of it.

One passenger awakened defendant, who testified that he ―really didn't know if [he had] actually hit‖ the car.

Defendant drove around the car ahead of him and got off the freeway. His passengers told him that he had hit a car. Defendant testified that the car followed him and the people in the car were all hollering. Defendant drove to a park, stopped the van, and got out. The driver of the car, John Bui*fn1 (Bui), and his passengers Trang Bui (Bui's wife) and Abraham Gallegos Cazares (Gallegos), got out of the car. According to defendant, Bui accused him of hitting his car, Bui and Gallegos were uttering racial epithets, and Gallegos had something in his hand, whether a knife or a cell phone, he could not tell. Defendant said there were other Hispanics in the area and he was worried about being jumped.

Defendant raced across the park and crossed the street, but Bui and Gallegos caught up with him. Defendant testified that he offered to pay for the damage to the car, but that Bui swore at him, said, ―Stand up and fight like a man,‖ and pushed him. He claimed that Gallegos also shoved him, Bui pushed him a second time, and then Gallegos struck him. Defendant also said that Bui was ready to punch him in the face, but he himself swung at the same time, and hit Bui in the face and Bui went down. He said Gallegos then grabbed him, but he managed to extricate himself and run away.

Gallegos testified to a somewhat different version of events. He said that defendant began running as soon as he got out of the van, before anyone had a chance to talk to him. He and Bui ran after defendant, who was way ahead of them. Gallegos said he did not have anything in his hands. Defendant exited the park and crossed the street. After he got across the street, defendant stopped, looking as though he were too tired to run anymore. Bui caught up with defendant first. Defendant and Bui started yelling at each other. Defendant tried to get away, but Bui stood in front of him and placed his hand on defendant's shoulder. Bui told defendant to stop, but defendant pushed Bui back. Defendant hit Bui in the abdomen. Bui tried to hit back, but was unsuccessful. Defendant hit Bui a second time, punching him in the nose, and Bui fell, hitting his head on the ground. After he hit his head, Bui began shaking.

Defendant then started to get away, according to Gallegos, who said he put his hands on defendant and tried to block his path. Gallegos was afraid defendant was going to attack him, so he let defendant go. The police arrived and Gallegos provided a description of the incident and of ...

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