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The People v. Jerome Taylor

March 16, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
JEROME TAYLOR, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. F4652)

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

P. v. Taylor

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

The day defendant Jerome Taylor was arrested, the arresting officer seized a small amount of marijuana. The next day, more than 23 grams of methamphetamine were found. Seven grams were found hidden in the arresting deputy's patrol car; the methamphetamine was packaged in the same type of baggies seen in defendant's car a day earlier. After obtaining a warrant to again search his vehicle, deputies found more than 16 grams of methamphetamine hidden in the engine compartment of defendant's car.

A jury found defendant guilty of transportation of methamphetamine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11379, subd. (a); all further statutory references are to the Health and Safety Code unless otherwise indicated), possession of methamphetamine for sale (§ 11378), possession of methamphetamine (§ 11377, subd. (a)), possession of hydrocodone without a prescription (§ 11350, subd. (a)), misdemeanor possession of marijuana (§ 11357, subd. (b)), and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia (§ 11364).

On appeal, defendant contends trial counsel was inadequate for not objecting to the admission of the methamphetamine found in the engine compartment of his car. He argues the prosecution failed to establish that some third party did not alter defendant's car by stashing the drugs under the hood while it was stored in a tow yard. Defendant also contends the trial court abused its discretion when it declined to strike his prior strike conviction, a 1974 second degree murder conviction.

Defendant's contentions are without merit. We will direct the trial court to correct a clerical error in the abstract of judgment. In all other respects, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY Defendant's Arrest and Search

On July 27, 2009, defendant was stopped for driving his station wagon with a cracked windshield. Defendant consented to a vehicle search after informing the officer he had a knife inside the car. Before conducting the vehicle search, Deputy Huffman patsearched defendant for weapons.

While searching, Huffman noticed items that suggested defendant was living in his vehicle. There were laundry baskets, clothes, food, and toiletries. In the front passenger area, Huffman found a small amount of marijuana tucked inside a tissue box. Inside the cargo area, the deputy found a methamphetamine pipe wrapped in tissue paper, and two prescription narcotic pills inside an aspirin bottle. Huffman also noticed, but did not seize, approximately 100 Ziploc-type baggies, some with a blue number-one logo and others with a red apple logo.

Defendant was handcuffed after admitting he did not have a legal doctor's recommendation for the marijuana or a prescription for the pills. He was searched a second time before being placed in the back of Huffman's patrol car. Defendant was booked on charges of illegal possession of marijuana, prescription pills, and drug paraphernalia.

Defendant's car was searched and stored but not impounded because Huffman saw no evidentiary need for the vehicle. Huffman testified he did not search the vehicle's engine compartment, nor did he see any other officer raise the hood. Following the search, the vehicle was towed to a privately owned lot.

The Search of Huffman's Patrol Car

Huffman routinely searches his patrol vehicle at both the start and the end of each shift. He followed that practice on the day of defendant's ...


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