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The People v. Jeffrey Haworth

March 11, 2011


(Super. Ct. No. SF112172A)

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

P. v. Haworth CA3


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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

A jury found defendant Jeffrey Haworth not guilty of attempted murder, but guilty of false imprisonment by violence; inflicting corporal injury on a cohabitant with great bodily injury; evading a police officer; obstructing, delaying, or resisting a police officer; and the infraction of failing to stop at a stop sign. Defendant appeals, contending (1) the domestic violence count lacks substantial evidence of cohabitation; (2) Penal Code section 654, which prohibits multiple punishment for the same conduct violating multiple statutes, requires a stay of sentence on the conviction for false imprisonment because it had the same objective as the domestic violence; and (3) Penal Code section 654 requires a stay of sentence on the conviction for resisting an officer, because that count had the same objective as the separate conviction for evading an officer. We modify the abstract of judgment to correct a clerical error and otherwise affirm the judgment.


The crimes occurred on June 6, 2009. Because the victim refused to testify at the December 2009 trial, the jury heard her testimony from the July 2009 preliminary hearing, at which she said defendant was her boyfriend for about a year and a half before the charged offenses, and they lived together, first in "our" apartment and then, after they lost the apartment, they lived in "our" truck and in a shelter. On the day in question, defendant and the victim drove home the victim's friend Danielle (who did not testify at trial). The victim wanted to go with Danielle, but defendant, who was angry with Danielle, forced the victim to stay in the truck by holding her neck in a chokehold. He also pulled her hair and punched her in the face, resulting in a bloody nose and two missing teeth. The victim was afraid. As they struggled, the truck hit a tree.

The victim fled from the truck, but defendant caught her and tackled her to the ground. He choked her with his hands. She vomited and blacked out. When she came to, he was choking her. Danielle helped the victim get away.

The jury also heard evidence of the victim's partial recantation. During trial, she left a voice mail message for defense counsel, indicating her mouth was injured, not by defendant, but by the truck hitting the tree. Defense counsel and a co-worker met with the victim. The co-worker testified the victim said defendant was not trying to hurt her but was merely trying to stop her from consuming methamphetamine with Danielle. The victim said she was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the charged offenses and at the time of her preliminary hearing testimony. She did not remember what happened, and her prior statements were mere repetitions of what she heard from Danielle. The victim was reluctant to testify because she was going to prison on unrelated drug charges and did not want to be labeled a "snitch."

A police officer testified he responded to the June 6, 2009, altercation, in his marked patrol car. Defendant, who had gotten back into his truck, led the officer on a nine-mile, high-speed car chase, ignoring the patrol car's lights and siren, and ignoring red lights and a stop sign. The chase ended when defendant crashed his truck into a fence.

Defendant fled on foot and broke into a private home. The officer followed and tackled defendant to the floor. Defendant refused the officer's commands to bring his hands out from under his body and had to be forced to do so.

A sheriff's deputy testified he spoke with the victim and defendant on March 19, 2009 (two and a half months before the current offenses), in responding to a reported disturbance at a residence. The victim had red marks on her neck and the upper part of her chest. Defendant said the victim was his girlfriend; her skin was red because she had a problem with "being blotchy"; and he had simply hugged her neck, "[l]ike he always does." The deputy, who had checked the victim's identification, noted the victim's emotional state in the "domestic violence section" of his report.

A forensic pathologist testified mechanical asphyxiation (choking another person) may cause vomiting and may also cause a person to lose consciousness if the pressure is sustained for at least three minutes.

On January 8, 2010, the jury returned verdicts finding defendant not guilty of attempted murder but guilty on the remaining charges. The jury found true the great bodily injury allegation on the domestic violence charge.

On February 19, 2010, the trial court sentenced defendant to prison for nine years four months, as follows: The upper term of four years for domestic violence; four years for the great bodily injury enhancement; eight months for false imprisonment; and eight months for evading an officer. The court ...

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