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People v. International Fidelity Insurance Co.

June 24, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
INTERNATIONAL FIDELITY INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



Appeal from an order of the Superior Court of Orange County, Patrick Donahue, Judge. Affirmed. (Super. Ct. No. 06CF3544).

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

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

INTRODUCTION

International Fidelity Insurance Company (International Fidelity) issued a bail bond for the appearance in court of Daniel Rojas on criminal charges. When Rojas failed to appear, the bail was forfeited. International Fidelity's motion to vacate the forfeiture and exonerate bail was denied, and this appeal followed. We affirm.

We hold that by the express language of its bond, International Fidelity undertook to ensure Rojas's appearance to answer not only the charges alleged in the original complaint, but also those charges in the first amended information. Although Rojas was subject to a greater potential maximum penalty under the first amended information than he had been under the original complaint, the charges in the first amended information were based on the same acts alleged in the complaint. As a result, in a case of first impression in this state, we conclude the trial court did not err in denying the motion to vacate the forfeiture and exonerate the bond.

We also conclude the certificate of mailing of the notice of forfeiture, which was signed by a deputy clerk on behalf of the clerk of the court, was properly executed.

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In November 2006, Rojas was charged in a felony complaint with attempted murder (Pen. Code, §§ 187, subd. (a), 664, subd. (a)); second degree robbery (id., §§ 211, 212.5, subd. (c)); and aggravated assault (id., § 245, subd. (a)(1)). (All further statutory references are to the Penal Code, unless otherwise noted.) Sentencing enhancements for personal use of a deadly weapon, a knife (§§ 12022, subd. (b)(1), 1192.7), and infliction of great bodily injury (§§ 12022.7, subd. (a), 1192.7, 667.5) were alleged. All crimes were alleged to have been committed against Can Quach on December 17, 2005.

International Fidelity issued bail bond No. II 429176 for Rojas's release from custody on November 13, 2006. Rojas was arraigned on the charges in the felony complaint on December 29, 2006.

In January 2007, the district attorney filed an amended felony complaint.*fn1 In addition to the crimes and enhancements alleged in the original complaint, the first amended complaint charged Rojas with committing second degree robbery against Thao Nguyen on December 17, 2005, and further alleged Rojas personally used a deadly weapon in doing so. In March 2007, a second amended complaint was filed; the same charges and enhancements were alleged against Rojas, but a second defendant, Juan Jeser Leon, was alleged to have committed the attempted murder and second degree robbery of Quach with Rojas.

In April 2007, Rojas was held to answer on all charges. The district attorney then filed an information, which added another count of second degree robbery committed by Rojas on December 17, 2005, against a third victim, Kim Tran; it was alleged that Rojas personally used a deadly weapon, a knife, in committing this crime, too. The information charged Leon with committing all of the aforementioned crimes, and alleged he, too, had personally used a deadly weapon in committing those crimes. Finally, on June 15, 2007, a first amended information was filed charging Rojas with two separate counts of the attempted premeditated and deliberate murder of Quach (§§ 187, subd. (a), 664, subd. (a)); three counts of second degree robbery, one each against Quach, Nguyen, and Tran (§§ 211, 212.5, subd. (c)); and two counts of aggravated assault against Quach (§ 245, subd. (a)(1)). The first amended information alleged that in committing the attempted murders and the robberies, Rojas personally used a deadly weapon, a knife (§§ 12022, subd. (b)(1), 1192.7), and further alleged that in committing all of the crimes charged, Rojas caused Quach to suffer great bodily injury (§§ 12022.7, subd. (a), 1192.7, 667.5). International Fidelity was never given notice of the amendments to the complaint and the information.

At the same time the first amended information was filed, the district attorney moved to increase bail, but the motion was denied. On May 13, 2008, Rojas failed to appear at trial, and a notice of bail forfeiture was mailed to International Fidelity on May 14, 2008. International Fidelity's motion to vacate the forfeiture and exonerate bail was denied; International Fidelity timely appealed.

DISCUSSION

I. DID THE ADDITION OF NEW CHARGES AND ENHANCEMENTS ...


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