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The People v. Alfonso Torres et al

August 11, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
ALFONSO TORRES ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND APPELLANTS.



(Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. KA089427) APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Robert M. Martinez, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kumar, J.*fn2

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

Affirmed.

I. INTRODUCTION

Following a jury trial, appellants Alfonso Torres and Adan Barajas were convicted of bringing alcohol into a jail facility (Pen.*fn1 Code, § 4573.5; count 1) and possession of alcohol in a jail facility (§ 4573.8; count 2). Each appellant admitted he had several prior felony convictions. Barajas was sentenced to seven years in state prison consisting of the upper term of six years on count 1 plus one year for a prior conviction pursuant to section 667.5, subdivision (b). Torres was sentenced to ten years in state prison consisting of the upper term of six years on count 1 plus one year for each of four prior convictions pursuant to section 667.5, subdivision (b). Both appellants were sentenced to a concurrent upper term of six years on count 2.

Barajas contends there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction on count 1 and Torres joins this claim. Both appellants also contend the trial court erred by neglecting to stay imposition of punishment on count 2 pursuant to section 654, subdivision (a). We reject the claims and affirm the judgment.

II. FACTS

On October 28, 2009, Sergeant F. Martinez, a correctional officer at a minimum security prison fire camp, was monitoring the front entrance of the prison. With the use of binoculars, he observed a gray sedan drive through the front entrance of the camp. The vehicle stopped near a food warehouse and trash can. The driver exited the vehicle. Although the officer's view was obstructed by trees, he could hear the trunk open and close. The driver returned to the vehicle and drove quickly away, repeatedly honking the horn. The officer observed nothing in the area of the departing vehicle that justified honking the horn. Because there was normally no trash can in the area where the car stopped, the officer suspected a "drop" had occurred.

Sergeant Martinez repositioned himself so that he had a direct view of the trash can. Approximately 20 minutes after the vehicle left, two inmates, i.e., appellants, ran from one of the prison buildings directly to the trash can. Barajas arrived first and placed his hands in the trash can for two to three seconds. Torres stood behind Barajas. Barajas pulled out white trash bags. As he turned around, Torres grabbed one of the bags and the two men ran back to the building.

Shortly thereafter, Lieutenant D. Ellis, a correctional officer, heard a noise coming from behind a three and one-half foot wall near the "router room." He leaned over the wall and observed appellants crouched down and "going through the three different trash bags." All three bags were open. Each appellant had his hands in a bag but the officer was unable to determine whether it was the same bag. Barajas turned his head toward Torres and said something to the effect of, "Which one is mine?" The officer grabbed the bags and escorted appellants to an administrative building. Three bottles of vodka were discovered in one of the bags. Other items disbursed amongst the bags included various hygienic items, vitamins, underwear, socks, tobacco, and a cellular telephone with a charger.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Sufficient Evidence Supported The Verdict On Count 1

In order to prove the crime of bringing alcohol into a prison camp, there must be sufficient evidence that the accused "knowingly" brought an alcoholic beverage into the prison. (§ 4573.5.)

"'"To determine the sufficiency of the evidence to support a conviction, an appellate court reviews the entire record in the light most favorable to the prosecution to determine whether it contains evidence that is reasonable, credible, and of solid value, from which a rational trier of fact could find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."' [Citations.]" (People v. Valdez (2004) 32 Cal.4th 73, 104.) The reviewing court is prohibited from reweighing evidence or reassessing a witness's credibility. (People v. Lindberg (2008) 45 Cal.4th 1, 37-38.) The ...


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