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The People v. Salvador Islas

December 1, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
SALVADOR ISLAS, JR., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County. Robert W. Armstrong, Judge. (Retired judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to art. VI, § 6, of the Cal. Const.) Affirmed.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Miller J.

P. v. Islas CA4/2

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

OPINION

A jury found defendant Salvador Islas, Jr., guilty of first degree burglary. (Pen. Code, § 459.)*fn1 The trial court sentenced defendant to state prison for a term of four years. Defendant raises two contentions on appeal. First, defendant asserts that he was punished for exercising his federal constitutional right to a jury trial. (U.S. Const., Amend. VI.) Second, defendant contends that the prosecutor committed Griffin*fn2 error by commenting that defendant failed to put forth evidence in his defense. We affirm the judgment.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In February 2009, the victim, his wife, and two children, bought a house in Perris (the house). On February 6 and 7, 2009, the victim's wife cleaned the house. On February 8, 2009, the victim moved some of his belongings into the house. At approximately 6:00 p.m. on February 8, the victim locked the doors and windows of the house and left. On February 9, 2009, the victim returned to the house.

When the victim opened the door of the house, he saw that items had been thrown around the living room, the back door was broken, and the garage door was broken. The victim noticed that clothes were thrown around and boxes were turned upside down. The victim also discovered that some of his tools were missing, and a plasma television, which the victim had placed in a closet, was missing. Additionally, lamps had been thrown against a wall, causing holes. The victim called the police.

Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Dinh responded to the victim's call. When Deputy Dinh arrived at the house, he noticed that the back door was broken. Deputy Dinh asked the victim to look around the house, in order to see if the intruder left any items behind. The victim pointed to a bottle in the living room/kitchen area. Deputy Dinh dusted the bottle for fingerprints. A fingerprint database listed defendant as the top match for the fingerprints. James Edmonston, a fingerprint examiner, examined the fingerprints, and found that the prints from the bottle matched defendant's fingerprints. A second fingerprint examiner also concluded that the prints from the bottle matched defendant's fingerprints.

DISCUSSION

A. SENTENCING

1. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Prior to trial, the trial court addressed defendant. The trial court said the following, "'The prosecution wants prison in this case, but I do not think this case warrants a prison sentence. If you plead guilty to the Court today, the Court will sentence you to [three] years formal probation and a suspended prison sentence. However, if you go to trial and the jury finds you guilty, you will almost certainly be sentenced to prison. This is a very good offer. Therefore you should discuss ...


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