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The People v. Tatiana Rose Gerowitz

October 21, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
TATIANA ROSE GEROWITZ, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. CRF101643)

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

P. v. Gerowitz

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

A jury found defendant Tatiana Rose Gerowitz guilty of possession and transportation of methamphetamine. The court placed her on three years' probation.

On appeal, defendant raises two issues. First, defendant contends the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury pursuant to CALCRIM No. 225, which tells a jury how to evaluate circumstantial evidence used to prove a mental state. Second, defendant argues that once the jury announced it was deadlocked, the court's refusal to provide a cautionary instruction to the jury violated her right to an impartial trier of fact. Because both arguments are meritless, we affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Officer Cristobal Lara of the Woodland Police Department pulled over defendant's vehicle after observing her roll through a stop sign. A legal search of her vehicle discovered a baggy containing .37 grams of methamphetamine. After Officer Lara placed defendant under arrest, defendant admitted in a voluntary conversation with Officer Lara that the methamphetamine was hers and that she was aware of the drug's presence in her car at the time of the stop.

At trial, the prosecutor used Officer Lara's testimony of this conversation as direct evidence of defendant's knowledge that she was transporting methamphetamine. Defendant testified that although the methamphetamine was indeed hers, she forgot she had placed the drugs in her car the night before, and thus, was unaware of the presence of the drug in her car when she was stopped. This was the only evidence presented of defendant's knowledge of the possession of the drug.

At the conclusion of evidence, counsel for both parties discussed necessary jury instructions. As part of this discussion, defense counsel requested the court instruct the jury pursuant to CALCRIM No. 225.*fn1 The trial court refused to give the instruction. Less than two hours after jury deliberations began, the foreperson notified the court they were deadlocked with no reasonable possibility of coming to a decision.

In response, the trial court discussed with the jury the likelihood of a verdict being reached. During the course of this conversation, the court offered the jury a read back of instructions or testimony. The judge then reminded the jurors they "decide what hours [they] wish to deliberate" as long as it is within the court's hours of operation and told them to send a note if they needed anything read back. With that, the judge sent the jurors back to deliberate. Several minutes later, the jury sent a note requesting a read back of Officer Lara's testimony. Thirty minutes later, the jury left for the day. The following morning, the jury resumed deliberations and reached a guilty verdict 55 minutes later.

DISCUSSION

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