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The People v. Michele Laney Walker

February 4, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
MICHELE LANEY WALKER, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



Super. Ct. No. CR076540

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nicholson , Acting P.J.

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Following a jury trial, defendant Michele Laney Walker was convicted of grand theft (Pen. Code, § 487, subd. (a))*fn1 and misdemeanor resisting an officer (§ 148, subd. (a)(1)). She was placed on three years' formal probation.

On appeal, defendant contends the trial court did not create a record allowing for appellate review of her Pitchess*fn2 motion. We conditionally reverse and remand for a new Pitchess hearing.

FACTS

Thomas Griffin was gambling at Cache Creek Casino when he lost his wallet, which contained over $1,300. Griffin determined the wallet fell out of his back pocket and onto the floor. He could not find it, so he went to security.

A casino security supervisor reviewed surveillance footage of the area where Griffin lost the wallet. The surveillance system showed defendant walk up and bend down behind Griffin, as if she was picking up something. Defendant then walked through a bank of slot machines and into a women's restroom.

Yolo County Sheriff's Deputy Rial Price was on patrol in the casino that evening. He and two members of casino security confronted defendant on the casino floor. Defendant at first denied seeing a wallet or taking anything from the area where Griffin sat. When she was informed of the video evidence against her, defendant replied: "Well, maybe I did bend over and pick something up, or maybe I did bend over but I didn't pick anything up."

Seeing a bulge in defendant's pocket that looked like a wallet, Deputy Price asked if she had any weapons or controlled substances. Defendant replied: "Yes. And you're not going to search me," and walked away. Deputy Price told her to stop, but defendant swore at him and continued to walk away.

Deputy Price caught up with defendant and tried to restrain her. Defendant resisted, and Deputy Price took her to the ground in the ensuing struggle. She was then handcuffed and taken to the casino holding cell. Once in the cell, she produced $1,400 in cash and threw it on the ground saying, "I found some money on the floor and I was going to return it," and "here is the money, now can I go home?" and "finders keepers." Griffin's wallet was found in the restroom defendant had entered.

Testifying, defendant claimed the money was hers. She walked away during the confrontation because she was upset at being harassed and was afraid they would discover medical marijuana in her possession. She did not hear Deputy Price tell her to stop and did not see him until he grabbed her from behind. She did not know who grabbed her, so she pulled away. The money fell out of defendant's pocket after she had been placed in the holding cell. The handcuffs were too tight so she was kicking the cell to get someone's attention. The ...


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