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The People v. Bryon Keith Ames

May 22, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
BRYON KEITH AMES, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. Nos. NCR77421, NCR78783)

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

P. v. Ames

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Based primarily on information provided by confidential informants, a "Search Warrant and Affidavit" (hereafter search warrant or search warrant affidavit)*fn1 was issued on August 6, 2009, and March 8, 2010, to search the vehicle and residence, respectively, of defendant Bryon Keith Ames.*fn2 As a result of these searches, defendant was charged with 10 felonies, which included enhancements. After various motions to suppress the evidence were denied, defendant proceeded to a jury trial. The jury found defendant guilty of seven felony charges and he was sentenced, with enhancements, to a state prison term of 22 years four months.

On appeal, defendant contends the trial court erred by denying his motions to unseal the sealed portions of the search warrant affidavits, to disclose the identities of the confidential informants (who allegedly supplied probable cause for the search warrants), and to traverse and quash the search warrants. Defendant also contends the procedure set forth in People v. Hobbs (1994) 7 Cal.4th 948 (Hobbs), utilized in denying defendant's motions, deprived him of his Sixth Amendment constitutional rights to counsel, to a public trial, and to present an effective defense. We shall affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On August 6, 2009, defendant was arrested following the discovery of contraband seized during the execution of search warrant No. SWN080709. In the unsealed portion of this search warrant affidavit, affiant Officer Raymond Martinez reported he had received information sealed in attachment C. Based upon Martinez's training, experience, and the information contained in the sealed and unsealed portions of the search warrant affidavit, he believed that defendant possessed and was involved in the sale of methamphetamine.

In the unsealed portion of this search warrant affidavit, Officer Martinez stated he had spoken with a confidential reliable informant (CRI No. 1) between July 31 and August 6, 2009. CRI No. 1 had provided information on at least six prior occasions that had proven to be true, resulting in multiple arrests and seizures of methamphetamine, marijuana, and firearms. In this unsealed portion, Martinez stated that CRI No. 1 told him that defendant was a multiple-ounce methamphetamine dealer.

According to this affidavit, Officer Martinez had also spoken to Agent Eric Clay about the information provided by CRI No. 1. Clay reported that he had also received information that defendant was selling drugs.

On March 11, 2010, defendant was again arrested, following the execution of search warrant No. 1SWN030810.*fn3 In the unsealed portion of this search warrant affidavit, affiant Officer Martinez reported he had received information sealed in attachments C and D. Based upon Martinez's training, experience, and the information contained in the sealed and unsealed portions of this search warrant affidavit, he believed that defendant possessed and was involved in the sale of methamphetamine.

In the unsealed portion of the second search warrant affidavit, Officer Martinez stated he had spoken to two citizen informants who informed him that defendant had been supplying methamphetamine. Martinez was also informed by another confidential reliable informant (CRI No. 2), on February 18, 2010, and March 3, 2010, that defendant had been selling methamphetamine (more information was provided in the sealed portions, attachments C and D). CRI No. 2 had given information, which had been proven to be true, on at least five previous occasions resulting in arrests and seizures of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana.

After an amended information was filed, which included charges stemming from both search warrants and a third search warrant,*fn4 defendant filed a motion to unseal the sealed portions of the search warrant affidavits. Defendant also filed motions to traverse and quash the search warrants, and filed a motion for an in camera hearing pursuant to Hobbs, supra, 7 Cal.4th 948. After the in camera Hobbs hearing, the trial court denied the motion to unseal the ...


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