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The People v. Jose Guadalupe Ramirez

August 8, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. NCR79642)

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

P. v. Ramirez CA3


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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

A jury convicted defendant Jose Guadalupe Ramirez of carjacking (Pen. Code,*fn1 § 215, subd. (a); count I), second degree robbery (§ 211; count II), and street terrorism (§ 186.22, subd. (a); count III). On counts I and II, the jury found true allegations that defendant personally used a firearm (§ 12022.53, subd. (b)), a principal used a firearm (§ 12022.53, subd. (e)(1)), and the crime was committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang (§ 186.22, subds. (b)(4) (count I), (b)(1)(c) (count II)).

Defendant was sentenced to state prison on count I for an indeterminate term of 15 years to life plus 10 years for personal use of a firearm. Sentences on the remaining counts and allegations were stayed pursuant to section 654.

On appeal, defendant contends (1) his count III conviction and the street gang enhancements on counts I and II must be reversed because there was insufficient evidence he actively participated in a criminal street gang or committed the carjacking and robbery for the benefit of a street gang, and (2) the trial court erred when it allowed the prosecution expert to testify, in response to a hypothetical question, that the crimes were committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang. We shall affirm the judgment.


Prosecution Case-in-Chief

On June 7, 2009, Porche Hanna invited Bradley Brunson to her residence in Redding. They had known each other for only a couple of weeks. When Brunson arrived, Hanna gave him a hug and seemed to be "[a]cting weird."

There were two males (perpetrators) in the backyard. Hanna did not introduce them to Brunson or tell him their names. Both perpetrators wore Raiders jerseys, one white and the other black. Defendant wore the black jersey and blue jeans. The male in the white jersey was stockier than defendant. Brunson assumed both perpetrators were Mexican based on their skin coloring.

Hanna asked Brunson to drive the perpetrators home to Red Bluff. When the perpetrators indicated they had money for gas, Brunson agreed to drive them home.

Brunson was driving a 1997 compact car. Hanna sat in the front passenger seat and the perpetrators sat in the back, with defendant directly behind Brunson. During the ride to Red Bluff, the perpetrators conversed in Spanish. As they entered Red Bluff, defendant told Brunson to exit the freeway on Jellys Ferry Road. When Brunson exited, defendant had him turn left and then make a few more turns. Brunson drove past a school and was told to make another turn onto Bend Ferry Road. At that point, defendant told him to stop the car. Defendant pressed a gun against Brunson's back and again told him to stop.

When the car stopped, defendant opened the door and pushed Brunson out and down to the ground. Defendant told Hanna to cover her ears. The man in the white jersey got out of the car and pinned Brunson to the ground while defendant pressed a pistol against Brunson's head and searched his pockets. Defendant removed and took Brunson's wallet and cell phone. Defendant told Brunson that, if he moved, he would be shot.

Both perpetrators returned to the car. Defendant drove the car a short distance, turned around and drove away, almost running over Brunson. Brunson ran to a residence, obtained a telephone, and called the police.

In response to the call, Tehama County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Pflager was dispatched to Bend Ferry Road. He met with Brunson, who reported receiving a phone call from "Porche" in which she requested a ride from Redding to Red Bluff. Brunson reported that he took Hanna and two males to Red Bluff. Brunson also described his car, including its license plate number. Pflager advised other officers to be on the lookout for the car.

Deputy Pflager brought Brunson to the Sheriff's Department. Brunson spoke with Tehama County Sheriff's Detective Rob Brinton. Brinton brought Brunson back to the robbery location to review the scene and then drove him home. Brinton then met with Hanna who provided physical descriptions of the two perpetrators. She also provided several nicknames including "Pelon" and "Preacher." "Preacher" was a moniker for Elfego Acevedo. While speaking with Hanna, Brinton learned that Red Bluff police had stopped Brunson's car.

Red Bluff Police Officer Aaron Murray had been informed of the alert for Brunson's car. While patrolling, Murray passed by Brunson's car headed in the opposite direction. The occupants appeared to be two Hispanic males in their early 20's. Murray made a u-turn and reported that he had seen the car. A civilian directed Murray to an alley where he found the car parked behind a business. By that time defendant was the sole occupant.

Officer Murray held defendant at gunpoint until backup officers arrived. Then Murray directed him to come out of the car. Defendant, dressed in a black shirt, acknowledged that he had a firearm. Murray retrieved a gun from a holster on defendant's waistband. The gun was loaded with five live rounds.

Tehama County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Ryan and his police dog tracked scents from Brunson's car across a street to a grassy area where a white football-type jersey was found.

When Detective Brinton arrived on the scene, he seized a cell phone from inside the car. In the phone's list of contacts, Brinton found Porche Hanna's telephone number. Fingerprints lifted from the phone were matched to defendant's right thumb.

Inside the car, Detective Brinton found two backpacks, neither of which belonged to Brunson. Inside one of the backpacks was a copy of a resume for Porche Hanna.

That afternoon, Brunson identified his car as the one police had located. Later, at a live lineup, Brunson identified defendant as the person who had worn the black jersey and had held the gun. Several days later, ...

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