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The People v. Rasheed Hilson

December 13, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
RASHEED HILSON, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County. Janet I. Kintner, Judge. (Retired judge of the San Diego Super. Ct. assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to art. VI, § 6 of the Cal. Const.) Affirmed. (Super.Ct.No. RIF134571)

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

P. v. Hilson

CA4/3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.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 and appellant Rasheed Hilson guilty of first degree burglary. (Pen. Code, § 459.)*fn1 Following a bifurcated proceeding, the jury also found true that defendant had suffered a prior serious and violent felony conviction (§§ 667, subds. (c)-(e)(1), 1170.12, subd. (c)(1)), a prior serious felony conviction (§ 667, subd. (a)), and two prior prison terms (§ 667.5, subd. (b)). As a result, defendant was sentenced to a total term of 15 years in state prison. On appeal, defendant contends (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to represent himself pursuant to Faretta v. California (1975) 422 U.S. 806 [95 S.Ct. 2525, 45 L.Ed.2d 562] (Faretta); and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of his prior uncharged offenses to prove identity and intent. We reject these contentions and affirm the judgment.

I

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

A. Current Incident

On the night of October 30, 2006, P.P. was in bed with her infant son at the foster home where she resided when she heard noises and the sound of "objects hitting each other." She went to investigate. Once she turned on a light, she saw a man with a white T-shirt wrapped around his hand standing about 10 feet from her. The man was African American, around 160 pounds, in his 30's, and had a gap in his teeth and "loose, messed-up" curly hair. Scared, P.P. stepped back to go upstairs. As she did so, the man said, "I'm sorry. I thought this was my girlfriend's house." The intruder then left through the front door. P.P. alerted her foster mother of the incident, and the police were notified.

Sheriff's deputies responded and interviewed P.P. and her foster mother.*fn2 After recapping the incident, P.P. informed the deputies that the suspect was "a black man, about 30 years old, thin, . . . wearing a short-sleeved shirt [with] white cloths wrapped around the palms of both of his hands." P.P. also stated that the intruder "had a gap between his front teeth" and a "misshapen" head. A search of the home revealed that the kitchen window, which had been cracked open to provide ventilation, was opened wide, and its screen had been removed. In addition, items that had been sitting on top of the kitchen counter in front of the window had been moved aside. It appeared that no items were missing from the home.

On November 16, 2006, P.P. saw a man resembling the intruder pumping gas into a blue-gray Buick. When the opportunity arose, P.P. photographed the vehicle's license plate using the camera on her cellular telephone. She thereafter informed Detective David Green of the occurrence and showed him the photograph.

A records search revealed that the house to which the vehicle registered had the same number as the victim's house but was on a different street, two blocks away. Detective Green went to that address and spoke to the woman who answered the door. The woman indicated that she lived at that address with her son-in-law and daughter Dalette Hilson and that she had never seen a car matching the description Detective Green gave her. As Detective Green was walking back toward his vehicle, he noticed a blue-gray Buick drive up. The vehicle had the same license plate number as in the photograph taken by P.P. Defendant was driving the vehicle, and a female was with him.

When Detective Green informed defendant that he was investigating a burglary, defendant responded, "I don't shit in my front yard," which in Detective Green's experience meant, "I don't commit crimes in my neighborhood." At that point, Detective Green had not yet informed defendant that the burglary had occurred two blocks from his home. Detective Green noticed that defendant had a gap in his teeth and features matching those as described by P.P.

Detective Green subsequently showed P.P. a photographic lineup containing a likeness of defendant. From the photographic lineup, P.P. unequivocally identified defendant as the intruder. She also positively identified defendant as the suspect at the time of trial.

B. Prior Uncharged Incidents

On July 24, 2007, about 2:40 a.m., two Culver City police officers were flagged down by a man who stated that a cafe had just been burglarized; he gave the officers a description of the suspect. Subsequently, the officers saw the suspect, identified as defendant, walking down a street carrying a cash register with both hands. A white towel was between his hands and the cash register. When the officers shined their spotlight on him, defendant fled into an alley, threw down the cash register, and attempted to escape. He was eventually arrested, and the white towel was found near where defendant had attempted to flee.

On June 18, 1998, about 4:00 p.m., an employee of a restaurant on Melrose Avenue was heading down the stairs from her office with a bank bag containing about $1,300 in cash when she encountered defendant inquiring about a job. As she turned around to go back up the stairs to retrieve a job application, defendant pushed her in the back onto one of the steps, snatched the bank bag, and fled. The employee cried for help. The kitchen staff responded and pursued defendant. The employee recalled that her assailant had a deformed ear. Referring to defendant at trial, she noted that he "look[ed] a little different from what [she] remember[ed]."

C. Defense Evidence

Defendant presented evidence to attack the identification evidence of the prosecution witnesses as well as an alibi. In relevant part, a psychologist testified that there are limits to one's capacity for attention and accuracy of a suspect's identifying features. The psychologist also explained that the relationship between witness confidence in identification and the accuracy of the identification is tenuous.

Defendant's wife, Dalette Hilson, testified that defendant was at home with her on the evening of October 30, 2006, watching movies. She explained that she had recently given birth via cesarean section and was recovering. During that period, defendant did all the cooking and watched the children. She further stated that defendant did not have curly hair, had always had a mustache, had a tattoo on one of his upper arms, and wore dentures because he was missing four of his front teeth. She was unable to answer whether in her opinion defendant had a "misshapen" head or a deformed ear.

II

DISCUSSION

A. Denial of Faretta Motion

Defendant contends the trial court erroneously denied his motions to represent himself under Faretta.

1. Additional factual and procedural background

On May 28, 2009, the trial court granted the People's request to admit evidence of defendant's prior misconduct involving the June 1998 and July 2007 incidents. As the trial court addressed the People's motion to admit evidence, the following colloquy occurred:

"THE DEFENDANT: Do I have to be here? Do I have to be ...


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