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The People v. Stephanie Ann Stephens

December 29, 2010

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
STEPHANIE ANN STEPHENS, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Contra Costa County Super. Ct. No. 05-090450-8)

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

P. v. Stephens

CA1/4

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL REPORTS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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Defendant Stephanie Ann Stephens appeals following her conviction of various crimes stemming from her use of checks that did not belong to her. She argues that (1) two of her three convictions for possession of forged checks (Pen. Code, § 475, subd. (a))*fn1 must be reversed because the checks at issue were taken from only one account holder, and that the evidence therefore supports only one possession conviction, (2) the trial court erred by failing to give a unanimity instruction as to two of the forgery counts (§ 470, subd. (d)), and (3) the trial court was not authorized to "roll over" fines and fees that had previously been imposed in an unrelated case. Finding no error, we affirm.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

While running an errand on October 21, 2008,*fn2 Kathleen Conover lost her purse, which contained her checkbook, driver's license, and other items. She reported the loss to police after she searched for the purse where she last remembered having it.

On October 23, a checker at a grocery store in Martinez rang up a woman's purchase. The female customer tried to pay with one of Ms. Conover's checks, but the customer left without paying after the checker asked her for identification. The grocery store's digital surveillance cameras captured the transaction, and defendant later acknowledged in an interview with police that she was the person who appeared in the surveillance photographs.

A pizza restaurant in Martinez received three checks from Ms. Conover's account in October, and copies of all three checks were admitted into evidence at trial. The jury heard evidence regarding the circumstances surrounding the presentation of two of Ms. Conover's checks to the restaurant. One was received by the store manager at the front counter of the restaurant by a woman who said she was Kathleen Conover, and who said that she worked at a nearby train station. A second check was received on October 26, when a restaurant deliverer delivered a pizza to a train station parking lot in Martinez. The female customer paid for the pizza with a check, which the deliverer gave to her manager at the end of her shift. Both the deliverer and the restaurant manager later selected defendant out of photographic lineups as the person who had given them checks; however, neither witness was entirely certain of the identification, and neither witness was asked to identify defendant at trial.

Defendant was charged by information with two counts of second degree commercial burglary (§§ 459, 460, subd. (b)--counts 1, 5), one count of receiving stolen property (§ 496, subd. (a)--count 2), three counts of forgery (§ 470, subd. (d)--counts 3, 6, 8), and three counts of possession of a forged instrument (§ 475, subd. (a)--counts 4, 7, 9). The information further alleged that defendant was ineligible for probation because she had four prior felony convictions (§ 1203, subd. (e)(4)).

A jury convicted defendant on all counts. The trial court sentenced defendant to two years on count 1 and a consecutive eight-month term on count 5, for a total of two years, eight months in prison.*fn3 As discussed more fully below, the trial court also imposed various fines and fees. Defendant timely appealed.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Evidence Supported Multiple Possession ...


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