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The People v. Matthew Eric Erickson

August 5, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
MATTHEW ERIC ERICKSON, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 62097401)

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

P. v. Erickson

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Defendant Matthew Eric Erickson walked out of a Rite Aid pharmacy without paying for his prescription pain medication that cost $1,372.42, despite multiple warnings from store employees he was "not allowed to take those." He was caught outside the store by an off-duty deputy sheriff. A jury found him guilty of grand theft.

Defendant appeals, contending: (1) there was insufficient evidence he intended to steal the medication; and (2) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge evidence of defendant's dismissed burglary count. Finding no merit in these contentions, we affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

One evening in March 2010, defendant went inside the Rite-Aid pharmacy on Bell Road in Auburn to pick up his prescription pain medication. The pharmacy technician set the prescription pill bottles on the counter and showed him the price on the receipt, which was $1,372.42. The pharmacy technician explained the price was so high because Placer County had not authorized payment via a stamp by the community clinic. Surprised, defendant responded, "'I have always gotten these free. I should not have to pay for them.'"

The pharmacy technician called over the pharmacy manager. The pharmacy manager explained to defendant that defendant could wait a day to see whether Rite-Aid could resolve the problem or he could go to the county office himself and get the stamp.

Upset, defendant "reached over the counter . . . and just grabbed the [medication] and held onto it." The pharmacy technician told defendant he could not "'assume [the medication] [wa]s [his] until [they] receive[d] payment'" and asked for the medication back. The pharmacy manager told him, "'Sir, you are not allowed to take those.'"

Defendant started to leave. The pharmacy manager told him to "please stop or [they] would have to call the police." Defendant did not stop, so the "night supervisor" called 911.

An off-duty deputy sheriff heard the argument at the pharmacy counter and saw defendant walk out the door. Defendant then began running along the street, and the deputy chased him, yelling three times, "'Sheriff's Department, stop. Matt, stop.'" As the deputy sheriff began to catch up with him, defendant looked back over his shoulder, said, "'Oh, fuck it,'" and threw the medication in the air. The deputy took defendant back to Rite-Aid where he was turned over to on-duty deputies.

Based on defendant's conduct at Rite-Aid and his criminal history, he was charged with burglary in count one, petty theft with priors in count two, grand theft in count three, and a prior prison term. Before the evidentiary portion of trial, the court granted the People's motion to dismiss the burglary charged in count ...


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