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The People v. Reynaldo Guzman

April 6, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. 09F07253)

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

P. v. Guzman



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

After a jury convicted defendant Reynaldo Guzman of forcible rape (Pen. Code, § 261 subd. (a)(2)),*fn1 the trial court sentenced him to the upper term of eight years in prison. Defendant contends on appeal that (1) the trial court prejudicially restricted his cross-examination of the rape victim, and (2) he was deprived of a fair trial due to prosecutorial misconduct during closing arguments. Defendant fails to establish that any prejudicial error occurred at trial. Accordingly, we will affirm the judgment.


The victim, A.A., testified with the assistance of an interpreter. She related that she had a two-year relationship with defendant, during which time they rented separate rooms in the same house. A.A. told defendant she was going to move around May 2009, and she formally ended the relationship in July 2009, when she began dating another man.

On the morning of September 23, 2009, defendant approached A.A. as she was starting her car outside of her daughter's elementary school. He walked up and told her "this was it, that this [was] as far [as she] went." Defendant pushed her into the passenger seat as he got into the driver's seat. He locked the doors and told A.A. that today would be her last day in the world.

Defendant drove to an empty dirt lot and put the car keys in his pocket. He asked why she had traded him for another man. Defendant patted his waistband and told A.A. he had a weapon with two shots, one for her and one for him. A.A. was scared. Defendant leaned in and hugged her, at which point she could feel a weapon. He kissed her even though she told him to leave her alone and tried to turn her head away. A.A. asked defendant to let her go because she had to go to work. When he did not cooperate, she lied to him and told him she wanted to get back together with him. This calmed him down and prompted him to talk about their relationship.

Defendant and A.A. conversed for about two hours, during which A.A. answered his questions about problems with their relationship. He made her swear they would get back together and said he would not let her go until they had sex. A.A. said she had to go to work. Defendant responded by taking a gun from his waistband, placing it under the driver seat, getting out, and taking A.A. into the backseat of the car. A.A. repeatedly told him she did not want him to touch her or to have sex. She tried to resist defendant but was scared that he would kill her. Defendant was stronger than A.A., and he pulled down her pants and underwear. He raped her while she pleaded with him to stop and tried to push him away.

When defendant finished, he got out of the car to urinate. A.A. grabbed the gun and removed the bullets. She also got out of the car to urinate, at which point defendant saw that she had the gun. They struggled, and he took the gun and bullets away from her. Defendant reloaded the weapon. In an effort to be released, A.A. lied and told defendant she would see him later. She drove him to his car and then drove to her boyfriend's house. A.A. told her boyfriend what had happened and he called 911.

Detective Nathan Wise and Deputy William Granados were dispatched in response to the 911 call. Detective Wise was surveilling defendant's home when he saw him leave his house and place something in the trunk of a car. Wise detained defendant. Granados arrived and searched the car. Granados found a loaded two-shot pistol in the trunk.

Detective Juan Hidalgo interviewed defendant in Spanish, and a transcript of the interview was read to the jury. Defendant initially told the detective that he had gone to the school with A.A. and had wanted to take her home afterwards. A.A. did not want to go with him, however, and they ended up driving to the parking lot where they talked and then had sex. Defendant denied he forced her to undress and have sex with him, or that he had a gun. He claimed A.A. moved into the backseat on her own and undressed herself. Defendant told Detective Hidalgo that he never forced A.A. to go with him or threatened to kill her; he only told her it was her last chance to return to him.

Later, defendant agreed to tell Detective Hidalgo the truth. Defendant went to A.A.'s daughter's school because A.A. would not answer her phone. He brought a pistol loaded with two bullets even though he knew this would make her think that he meant her harm. After defendant opened A.A.'s car door, he may have forced her into the passenger seat "a bit." He knew that A.A. would not deny him when she saw the gun, and that she only had sex with him because of the gun. Defendant told Detective Hidalgo that, even though he told A.A. ...

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