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The People v. Vinesh Kumar Singh

May 23, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
VINESH KUMAR SINGH, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Sacramento County, Ronald W. Tochterman, Judge. Affirmed. (Super. Ct. No. 09F07579)

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

CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION*fn1

A jury convicted defendant Vinesh Kumar Singh of inflicting corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon a cohabitant. (Pen. Code, § 273.5, subd. (a).)*fn2 The jury also found true the allegations that defendant personally inflicted great bodily injury under circumstances involving domestic violence (§ 12022.7, subd. (e)) and personally used a deadly weapon, a knife, in the commission of the offense (§ 12022, subd. (b)(1)). The trial court sentenced defendant to six years in state prison.

On appeal, defendant contends the trial court erred by (1) allowing the jury to conduct an experiment during deliberations, and (2) allowing the jury to re-enact the stabbing of the victim without allowing defendant to be personally present during that stage of the proceedings.

We deem defendant's first contention regarding the jury's experiment to be forfeited for lack of objection in the trial court. With regard to defendant's second contention, we conclude that a defendant has no right to invade a jury's deliberations by being personally present during an attempt to re-enact the events described by witness testimony. After requesting briefing from the parties on the issue of defendant's entitlement to presentence custody credits amounting to almost 50 percent of his actual days in custody, we conclude that the abstract of judgment errs in listing the number of presentence conduct credits. Accordingly, we affirm defendant's conviction but order the correction of the abstract of judgment.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Prosecution Evidence

Late in the evening on October 10, 2009, defendant was cooking dinner with his girlfriend, Ameresh Singh.*fn3 When they were finished cooking, Ameresh took a shower. Returning from the bathroom, Ameresh entered the kitchen where she saw defendant using a knife to chop cabbage, lettuce, and tomatoes for a salad. Ameresh twice asked him, "Shall we start with dinner?" Defendant responded neither time. When she turned around to find out why he was not responding to her questions, she saw defendant about to fall. At the time, chronic pains in his legs required defendant to use crutches for walking.

Before defendant fell, Ameresh rushed over to grab him. She held him in a "bear hug" to keep him up. Ameresh then "sensed" something wet. She turned to see her reflection in a window and saw that she had blood on her T-shirt and a wound on her neck.

Ameresh grabbed her car keys. Defendant told her, "Let me take you to the hospital." Ameresh responded, "No. You stay here. I'll go." Defendant walked with her to the car where he announced, "I'm going to hang myself."

Ameresh drove to the house of Minesh Kumar, who had been her friend at work before she quit her job to take care of defendant. While driving, Ameresh noticed that her arm was hurting. When she looked, she saw that her arm was bleeding.

There was no answer when Ameresh knocked on Kumar's door. She let herself in and called out to him. Kumar went over to her and asked, "Who did this?" Ameresh named defendant and said that someone should be sent to help defendant because he was going to hang himself. Kumar called 911 and reported, "I think her boyfriend cut her throat." When a police officer arrived at Kumar's house, he reported that defendant was going to hang himself.

Police officers were dispatched to defendant's house to check on him. The officers found blood inside and outside the house -- leading from the kitchen, past the outside steps, and to the street. When defendant was asked about blood on his shirt, he responded "that he was okay." One of the officers asked, "Well, what is that, then?" And, defendant "said that it was his wife's blood." Defendant also explained that "things weren't going very well between him and his wife" because "she was dating another man." Earlier that evening, Ameresh "had gone to the kitchen to get food and stated that she was getting food to take to her other boyfriend." Defendant told the police, that "[h]e told her he wasn't okay with that." Defendant also "said something" to the officers "about being angry."

Defendant told the officers that Ameresh had picked up a knife and came at him with it. Defendant then "grabbed a hold of her and struggled with her over the knife." Defendant stated that he was able to grab the knife but did not know how Ameresh's throat got cut. Defendant described her injury ...


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