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The People v. Eric Victor Gayle

December 29, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
ERIC VICTOR GAYLE, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



Super. Ct. No. 08F08831

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Butz,j.

P. v. Gayle CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Sacramento

A jury found defendant Eric Victor Gayle guilty of assault with a deadly weapon and battery resulting in serious bodily injury. The jury also found true the special allegation that defendant personally inflicted great bodily injury on his victim.

Sentenced to six years in state prison, defendant appeals, contending the trial court erred in excluding evidence to impeach a witness for the prosecution. We shall conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the challenged evidence. Accordingly, we shall affirm the judgment.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In October 2008, Mark Espinoza's Trek 24-speed mountain bike was taken from the front porch of his house. A short time later, on October 24, 2008, Espinoza and his friend, Gordon Williams, saw Espinoza's bike laying on the ground near defendant, who was homeless and lived on the street in their neighborhood. Espinoza reached for his bike and a scuffle with defendant ensued, during which Espinoza was stabbed in the abdomen.

The following day, defendant approached Melissa Hampton, a young woman who lived in the neighborhood, and told her that he stabbed someone. Hampton saw a bump on defendant's head and asked him how he got it. He said he had been jumped and that was why he stabbed "a guy." Defendant also told her he had fallen down and hit his head on some rocks. Defendant told Hampton he "ditched" the knife he used in the stabbing.

Defendant was later arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon (Pen. Code, § 245, subd. (a)(1))*fn1 and battery resulting in serious bodily injury (§ 243, subd. (d)). Espinoza was identified as the victim. It was further alleged that during the commission of the assault, defendant personally inflicted great bodily injury on Espinoza within the meaning of section 12022.7, subdivision (a). Defendant waived formal arraignment, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and denied the enhancement allegation.

The Prosecution

Williams testified that when they approached defendant to get Espinoza's bike, defendant got "vocal" with Williams. Fearing defendant would become physically aggressive, Williams struck defendant in the head, knocking him to the ground. Defendant got back up and said, "What you want to do?" Williams then told Espinoza: "Get your bike. Let's go." As Espinoza grabbed the bike, defendant began wrestling with him. Williams said he stayed out of the melee.

Ultimately, Espinoza was able to secure his bike and he and Williams walked to Williams' house. During the walk, Espinoza told Williams he thought he had been stabbed. At Williams' house, Williams' wife called 911. Williams never saw defendant holding a knife.

The Defense

Defendant claimed he stabbed Espinoza in self-defense. In support of his claim, defendant attempted to impeach Williams' credibility. Defendant argued Williams' version of events at trial was different than the version he previously gave to police, and evidence of Williams' prior convictions for crimes of moral turpitude also was admitted. Defendant also asked to introduce the transcript of Williams' interview with the police, arguing it was inconsistent with ...


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