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The People v. Gregory Bontemps

March 2, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
GREGORY BONTEMPS, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 08F06199)

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

P. v. Bontemps

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.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 Gregory Bontemps appeals from his convictions for spousal abuse (Pen. Code, § 273.5, subd. (a); statutory citations that follow are to the Penal Code unless otherwise specified), making criminal threats (§ 422), and intimidating a witness (§ 136.1, subd. (b)(1)). He contends the trial court erred in admitting evidence of his criminal history, counsel was ineffective for failing to object to that evidence, and the trial court abused its discretion in denying his request that the court disregard for purposes of sentencing one or both of his prior serious or violent felony convictions. (People v. Superior Court (Romero) (1996) 13 Cal.4th 497 (Romero).) We affirm the judgment.

FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

In July 2008, Charlene and defendant, her then husband, got into an argument about her son, Anthony. Over the next few hours, Charlene and defendant both drank alcohol and continued to argue. After Charlene fell asleep, defendant woke her by grabbing her by the hair, pulling her into a sitting position and saying "Bitch, make me some dinner." Charlene fought back and defendant swung her down toward the ground and punched her in the back and in the nose. Blood gushed out of her nose covering her hands and face and spreading to her clothing, the sheets, the bedroom and bathroom floors, furniture, and the walls.

While her nose was still bleeding, defendant told her several times he would kill her. He also said if she called the police, she would be "done before they hit the corner." He told her if she called her son, he would kill her son as well. These threats frightened Charlene because of defendant's "violent criminal past." Accordingly, she did not immediately call the police or her son.

Defendant made Charlene clean the blood off herself, the floors, and the sheets. She continued to follow defendant's directions, because she remained afraid of him because of his "violent criminal past." After she cleaned up her blood, defendant told her to lay down, which she did because she remained afraid of defendant because of his "violent criminal past." Eventually, she fell asleep. The following morning, when defendant left the house and went to the store, Charlene called 9-1-1 and defendant's parole agent to report the previous evening's assault. Then she called her son.

The police took Charlene's statement and photographs of her injuries. She had bruises on her leg and back, a contusion and swelling to her nose, a cut lip, and a sore head. Defendant was arrested away from the home.

Subsequently, Charlene visited defendant in jail, deposited money into his jail account, and wrote him letters. In those letters she told him she still cared for him, but was moving his things out of the home. Charlene acknowledged that while defendant was in jail, she cashed some of his worker's compensation checks and not all of the money went to defendant.

Charlene underwent domestic violence counseling, during which defendant wrote her letters trying to persuade her to drop the case, stay away from court and make herself unavailable. He assured her "it" would never happen again. Defendant also enlisted his mother's aid in attempting to convince Charlene to drop the charges against him.

Defendant sent Charlene numerous letters, including one in which he apologized for what had happened between them. Defendant called Charlene from jail up to 20 times a day, until she obtained a restraining order. In January 2009, Charlene filed for ...


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