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The People v. Charles Robert Peck

July 21, 2011


(Super. Ct. No. LF011459A)

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

P. v. Peck



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.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 Charles Robert Peck, Jr., was found guilty by a jury of torture (Pen. Code, § 206; unspecified statutory references that follow are to this code), two counts of corporal injury to a cohabitant (§ 273.5, subd. (a)), two counts of assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury (§ 245, subd. (a)(1)), two counts of false imprisonment (§ 236), and dissuading a witness (§ 136.1, subd. (b)(3)). The jury also found true that defendant inflicted great bodily injury involving domestic violence (§ 12022.7, subds. (a) & (e)) and that he personally used a dangerous or deadly weapon (§ 12022, subd. (b)(1)) during several of the offenses. In a bifurcated proceeding, the jury found defendant had four prior serious felony convictions. (§§ 667, subd. (a), 1170.12, subd. (b).) He received a sentence of 80 years to life in state prison.

Defendant appeals, claiming the trial court erred by excusing one of the jurors during deliberations on his prior convictions and by failing to conduct an adequate hearing on his motion for a mistrial based on juror misconduct. Finding no merit to either of these claims, we shall affirm.


At the time of the incident, defendant and the victim lived together in a dating relationship. Defendant, who was a truck driver, got into an argument with the victim while returning from a trip to Southern California. When they got home, the victim told defendant she was leaving, and she began packing her things. Defendant left on another job, and the victim went to sleep. When defendant returned sometime later, he jumped on top of the victim and began wrapping duct tape around her head, covering her eyes, nose and mouth, then punched her near her eye and choked her until she passed out. The victim regained consciousness, but defendant punched her in the face several times and hit her with a bat until she lost consciousness again.

When the victim woke up, she had no clothes on and defendant was chaining her to a piece of furniture in the garage. Defendant told the victim he was going somewhere. After some time passed, the victim attempted to escape, but defendant was waiting for her when she emerged from the garage and dragged her back in, where he kicked her several times in the rib area and taped her mouth again.

Five or 10 minutes later, defendant returned with a glass of water for the victim, then carried her inside the residence and "put [her] in the shower." He then placed her in bed, stating, "Look what you made me do to you." Defendant gave the victim a cigarette and some pain medication.

The victim was in so much pain that she "couldn't breathe," and defendant stated that they might need to call an ambulance. They agreed that if this was necessary, the victim would report that she had fallen out of a tree. Defendant and the victim went to sleep.

A couple days later, defendant left, stating he was going to Los Angeles on a job. The victim left the home the following morning and flagged down a motorist, who called for help.

The victim's injuries included broken ribs, a punctured lung and bruising on her face, extremities and torso. In addition, she had suffered a moderate stroke.

Several days later, sheriff deputies located defendant under a freeway with a sleeping bag and various other belongings. Several notes were located in his vehicle, containing instructions for his employer to send his final checks to his father and telling his father that he was leaving the area and that "he wanted to document and explain how [the victim] destroyed his life." In one of the notes, he inquired: "Have I been in the news? Have no more contact with me. I don't want to get you in trouble." Defendant was interviewed by a sheriff's deputy after his arrest and explained that when he wrote he was "leaving the area," he meant he was "not going to stick around" and that he was "getting out of town." Defendant told the sheriff's deputy that he had not left town because he would have had to rely on his family and friends to support him and he did not want them to get into trouble or be held accountable.

At trial, evidence was presented regarding the victim's character for untruthfulness, and one witness testified she previously had seen ...

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