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The People v. Jerry Dale Sigman

April 9, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. SF101077A)

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

P. v. Sigman



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.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 Jerry Dale Sigman appeals his convictions for robbery (Pen. Code, § 211), escape from custody (Pen. Code, § 4530, subd. (b)), unlawful taking of a vehicle (Veh. Code, § 10851),*fn1 evading a police officer (§ 2800.1), possession of a firearm by a felon, (Pen. Code, § 12021, subd. (a)(1)), possession of ammunition by a felon (Pen. Code, § 12316, subd. (b)(1)), and misdemeanor hit and run (§ 20002, subd. (a)). Defendant contends (1) the trial court abused its discretion in ordering him shackled during trial, and (2) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction for evading a police officer. Based on defendant's escape attempts and rule violations, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering an ankle shackle attached to the floor during trial. The shackle was unobtrusive and the jury could not see the ankle shackle. With respect to the conviction for evading a police officer, there is uncontradicted and credible evidence that the marked vehicle chasing defendant had its forward facing red and blue flashing overhead lights activated. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment.


In July 2006, defendant was in custody in Vacaville, working as part of a supervised detail landscaping the grounds of Napa State Hospital. The morning of July 21, 2006, defendant disappeared from the grounds. His lime green prison suit was later found in nearby bushes. Around 1:00 p.m. that afternoon, defendant was seen by several witnesses, and captured on videotape, robbing a bank in Stockton. Witnesses also saw defendant get in a red pickup truck, leave the bank, and drive to the freeway.

Officer Smallie was in an unmarked police car when he heard a report of the bank robbery and saw the red pickup truck get on the freeway. The driver of the truck sped and wove through traffic, exited the freeway, and continued on surface streets traveling about 60 miles per hour. At that point, Smallie activated his lights and siren. Another officer, Lieutenant Pickens, also was following defendant in an unmarked car. Officer Howard then joined the pursuit, driving his marked police SUV. The SUV was equipped with sirens and forward facing red and blue flashing overhead lights. During his pursuit of defendant, Howard was in uniform, and the lights and sirens of the vehicle were activated.

Defendant drove down a dead end street, jumped out of the truck and ran about 20 feet with a gun in his hand, ignoring orders from the police to stop. He then dropped the gun, jumped over a fence, and swam into a canal. When he got to the other side of the canal, he hid in a clump of weeds for five to six minutes until he finally surrendered and was arrested.

Defendant claimed he had been running a tobacco smuggling operation in the prison, with tobacco supplied by two agents from the Investigative Services Unit (ISU). He began to have conflicts with the agents and the "mules" used to smuggle the tobacco, so he contacted his cousin, Richard Garcia, to help him temporarily escape from custody. Garcia agreed and helped defendant escape. After meeting defendant near Napa State Hospital, Garcia had to go pick up a couple of checks. Defendant stayed in the truck while Garcia went inside a building to pick up a check. When Garcia returned to the truck, he told defendant he had just robbed a bank, they needed to get rid of the truck, split up, and run on foot. Garcia left on foot and defendant drove off in the truck. While driving away, defendant saw an unmarked vehicle with a "red siren." The car followed him onto a dead end street. As defendant got out of the truck, he reflexively grabbed a gun and took it with him, climbed a fence, ran to the canal, and jumped in to swim across.


Defendant made a motion to prohibit him from being shackled during trial. The trial court held a hearing on the matter, at which the head of courtroom security, Sergeant Donald Benbrook, testified. Based on defendant's incarceration history, as well as present and past allegations of escape, evasion, and robbery, defendant was guarded with extra security and had been classified for housing in the highest level security.

While in custody awaiting trial on these charges, defendant committed a number of rule violations. In March 2007, defendant removed at least eight screen bars, two interior windows and one window frame from his cell. He was also in possession of cylindrical rolled up newspaper and a fish line. The cylindrical newspaper was used to mimic the appearance of the missing bars and disguise their absence. He was placed in administrative segregation (Ad-Seg) for an attempted escape with force. Three months later, while in Ad-Seg, defendant possessed a manufactured razor with a handle and two manufactured handcuff keys. He was charged with possession of a deadly weapon and possession of escape paraphernalia. ...

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