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The People v. Jose Jesus Garcia

December 17, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
JOSE JESUS GARCIA, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 081904)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cantil-sakauye,j.

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Following his convictions for two counts of felony evading a peace officer (Veh. Code, §§ 2800.2, 2800.4) and a misdemeanor conviction for unlawful display of evidence of registration (Veh. Code, § 4462.5), defendant Jose Jesus Garcia appeals the misdemeanor conviction. He contended the conviction was not supported by independent proof of the corpus delicti, the trial court erroneously denied his motion to dismiss this count based on insufficient evidence, and the special instruction as to that count was deficient as it omitted an element of the offense. We agree with defendant that there was insufficient evidence establishing the corpus delicti. Accordingly, we shall reverse the misdemeanor conviction. In their reply, the People seek review of the trial court's decision to order additional custody credits under Penal Code section 4019, arguing that section should be applied prospectively. We disagree.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On a Sunday night in April 2008, Yolo County Sheriff's Deputy Hector Bautista was on patrol in a marked police vehicle. Defendant was riding a motorcycle and drove past Bautista. Bautista followed him. Bautista ran a registration check of the motorcycle's license plate and was advised that the registration had expired in November 2007.*fn1 The registration sticker displayed on the motorcycle was a 2009 registration tag.

Deputy Bautista initiated a traffic stop based on his belief the vehicle registration had expired. Bautista activated the lights of his vehicle and the siren. Defendant sped up. As defendant fled from law enforcement, he drove in the lanes of oncoming traffic, reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour, and drove through multiple stop signs. Other police vehicles joined in the pursuit. Eventually, defendant stopped the motorcycle on the front lawn of a house and he was arrested.

At the jail, defendant waived his constitutional rights and in response to questioning about the police chase, defendant stated "he knew he was going to jail because of the expired registration and fake sticker and he was trying to make it home to his mom to give her a hug and a kiss."

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Defendant was charged with evading a peace officer with reckless driving (count 1), evading a peace officer while driving in the opposite direction (count 2), driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (count 3), unlawfully displaying evidence of registration (count 4), driving an unregistered vehicle (count 5) and driving a motorcycle out of classification (count 6). It was also alleged defendant had served a prior prison term.

Prior to trial, the court granted the People's motion to dismiss count 3, the charge of driving under the influence. At the end of the presentation of evidence, the court granted defendant's Penal Code section 1118.1*fn2 motion on counts 5 and 6, the infractions of driving an unregistered vehicle and driving a motorcycle out of classification. The court denied defendant's section 1118.1 motion as to count 4, the misdemeanor charge of unlawfully displaying evidence of vehicle registration.

The jury found defendant guilty of the two felony evasion counts and the misdemeanor unlawful display of vehicle registration. In bifurcated proceedings, the court found true the prior prison term allegation.

Defendant was sentenced to a total term of four years, including three years for count 1 and one year for the prison term enhancement. The sentence on count 2 was stayed pursuant to Penal Code section 654. A concurrent term of 60 days in county jail was imposed on count 4. Various fines and fees were imposed. Defendant was awarded 142 days' actual credit and 70 days' good time credit pursuant to section 4019, for an aggregate of 212 days' credit. On February 1, 2010, defense counsel requested the court ...


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