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People v. Moore

August 23, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
HAL LEE MOORE, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. GA0677887) (Los Angeles County), Teri F. Schwartz, Judge.

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

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

Defendant driver races through city streets at excessive speeds. He runs a red light and collides with another car which in turn hits another car. The accident causes death to one victim and serious injury to another. These facts support a murder conviction based on implied malice even though the driver was not under the influence, and was not the object of a pursuit.

A jury convicted Hal Lee Moore of second degree murder (Pen. Code, §§ 189/187, subd. (a)); vehicular manslaughter (Pen. Code, § 192, subd. (c)(1)); leaving the scene of an accident (Veh. Code, § 20001, subd. (a)); evading a peace officer (Veh. Code, § 2800.2, subd. (a)); two counts of reckless driving with bodily injury (Veh. Code, § 23104, subd. (a)); and resisting a peace officer (Pen. Code, § 148, subd. (a)(1)). He received a sentence of 15 years to life.

Moore contends the murder conviction is not supported by substantial evidence, and that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of a prior conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. We affirm.

FACTS

On November 29, 2006, at about 6:30 p.m., Moore was speeding through the Pasadena in his Nissan Pathfinder ("Pathfinder"). He was angry because someone had burglarized his apartment while he attended his bachelor party in Mexico. He blamed his fiancée for not being at the apartment to take care of his things.

Moore was driving northbound on Hill Avenue. The speed limit on Hill Avenue is 35 miles per hour. Moore passed Annemarie Phillips at a high rate of speed. Phillips estimated his speed at 80 to 90 miles per hour. In passing Phillips, Moore crossed over into the southbound lane. Moore also passed Yolanda Chan. As he passed, he straddled the double yellow line. Cars heading southbound moved out of his way.

As Moore approached the intersection of Hill Avenue and Washington Boulevard, he checked his speedometer. He was going about 70 miles per hour. A white Toyota Corolla was crossing the intersection on Washington Boulevard. Moore saw the car, and noticed that the traffic signal for Hill Avenue was red. Moore did not try to stop because he was going too fast.

Moore's Pathfinder struck the Toyota, causing the Toyota to strike a black "BMW" waiting in the left turn lane. A passenger in the Toyota, Bertha Vasquez Arias, was killed. The driver of the BMW, Zaruhi Ovesepyan, suffered a broken arm.

Moore did not get out of his Pathfinder to check on the victims. Instead, he continued to drive north on Hill Avenue.

Pasadena Police Department Officer, Victor Cass, saw Moore's Pathfinder on Allen Avenue. It was traveling about 40 to 45 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone. It had smoke or steam pouring from under its front end, and major front end damage. Cass turned on his patrol car's lights and siren, and pursued Moore. Moore continued driving through intersections without stopping at stop signs. Multiple police cars arrived and followed Moore until he turned into the driveway of his residence.

When Moore got out of his car, Cass grabbed his arm. Moore attempted to pull his arm from the officer's grasp. Officers ordered him to stop resisting, but he did not comply. Eventually, three officers subdued him by taking him to the ground.

After waiving his Miranda rights (Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436), Moore agreed to talk with Officer Luis Marquez. Moore said he did not intend to kill anyone, that he did not experience any mechanical failure, and that he was simply going too fast. Marquez asked if he knew anyone was dead after the crash. Moore replied, "Yeah man. I cut them in half, dude. It's a wonder I survived." Marquez asked about leaving the scene of the accident. Moore replied, "Leaving the scene wasn't really the problem.... [T]hey were dead." When asked where he was going after the accident, Moore said he was "going to clean up, ...


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