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People v. Bloom

May 25, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
CRAIG STEVEN BLOOM, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County. Jorge C. Hernandez, Temporary Judge. (Pursuant to Cal. Const., art. VI, § 21.) Affirmed. (Super.Ct.No. INF063750).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ramirez P.J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Defendant Craig Steven Bloom made more than 40 harassing calls to 911 in a single evening, causing a dispatcher to request that he be taken into custody pursuant to a citizen's arrest, after completing the requisite forms. Defendant resisted arrest, inflicting minor injuries on the arresting officers. He was charged with battery on a peace officer (Pen. Code,*fn1 § 243, subd. (c)), resisting an executive officer in the performance of his duty (§ 69), and making annoying or harassing calls to 911. (§ 653x.) He pled guilty to all three counts after the trial court reduced the felony charges to misdemeanors pursuant to section 17, subdivision (b), and was placed on probation.

Defendant appeals from the denial of his motion to suppress evidence (§ 1538.5), claiming he was not lawfully placed under a citizen's arrest, and his arrest for a misdemeanor not committed in the presence of the officer was unlawful. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

On October 6, 2008, Peggy T., a dispatcher for the Palm Springs Police Department received several 911 calls from a person who identified himself as Craig Bloom or Attorney Craig Bloom. Defendant had called the 911 line on other occasions, such that Ms. T. and her fellow dispatchers recognized his voice. In the calls, defendant used profanity, called the dispatchers obscene names, screamed into the phone, and babbled. It reached the point where the Ms. T. recognized his telephone number when it came up and began to reject his calls.

On the evening of October 6, 2008, Ms. T. received approximately 20 to 25 calls from defendant. Other dispatchers also received about 20 calls from defendant. When the dispatchers began hanging up on him, defendant called from different telephone numbers, three in all: his residence, a car wash, and pay phone across the street, but the dispatchers recognized his voice. The calls were annoying and harassing and prevented the dispatchers from taking other, more legitimate emergency calls. Eventually, Ms. T. dispatched police officers, requesting a citizen's arrest of the defendant. Ms. T. executed a citizen's arrest complaint form for this purpose.

Because addresses come up on the 911 screen when a telephone call comes in, Ms. T. dispatched the officers to a location in Riverside County. A Palm Springs police officer received the dispatch and went to the location of defendant's last call after he confirmed that Ms. T. wished to make a citizen's arrest of defendant. At that location, he found defendant talking to other officers. Defendant admitted to the officers that he had made the calls prior to being arrested.

The officer told defendant he was under a citizen's arrest and attempted to take him into custody. However, defendant struggled against all three officers and fought to prevent handcuffing. Even after defendant was handcuffed, he continued to struggle and resist, so officers had to put pressure on the handcuffs to force him down to the ground. In the process of attempting to take defendant into custody, one officer sustained a bruise on his bicep, another officer was bitten, and a third officer sustained a cut finger.

Defendant was charged with felony counts of battery on a peace officer (Pen. Code, § 243, subd. (c), count 1), resisting an executive officer (§ 69, count 2), and a misdemeanor violation of making annoying or harassing calls to 911. (§ 653x, subd. (a).) After he was held to answer on the felonies, defendant made motions to set aside the information (§ 995) and to suppress evidence as the product of an unlawful arrest. Both motions were denied. On April 20, 2009, the trial court granted a defense motion to reduce the felony violations to misdemeanors pursuant to section 17, subdivision (b).*fn2 Immediately thereafter, defendant pled guilty to all three counts, and waived his right to a probation report. Defendant was placed on summary probation, and appealed.

DISCUSSION

Although he directs most of his arguments against the pleadings filed in the trial court by the People, the crux of defendant's appeal is a challenge to the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence. The ground for this claim is that defendant was unlawfully taken into ...


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