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The People v. Patrick James Farmer

September 18, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. 11F3057)

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

P. v. Farmer 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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.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 Patrick James Farmer of criminal threats, recidivist corporal injury to a spouse, spousal rape, and felony false imprisonment. It deadlocked on a count of assault with a deadly weapon and an enhancement for personal use of a deadly weapon during the criminal threats, both of which the trial court dismissed in the interests of justice on the prosecutor's motion. The court also sustained a recidivist allegation. The court sentenced defendant to state prison, awarding conduct credits limited to 15 percent of presentence custody. (Pen. Code, §§ 2933.1; 667.5, subd. (c)(3).)*fn1

On appeal, defendant challenges the admission of "profile" testimony from a prosecution investigator to the effect that defendant's conduct was typical of methods abusers use to gain control over a victim, and the exclusion of evidence of the victim's prior felony conviction for welfare fraud. He also argues there is insufficient evidence to support the convictions for spousal rape or felony false imprisonment. Finally, he argues he was entitled to stayed execution of sentence on the three subordinate counts pursuant to section 654, because all four offenses were committed with only a single objective. We shall affirm the judgment as modified.


Defendant and the victim married in 2006. It was a tempestuous marriage, which involved violence and multiple separations. In June 2008, defendant entered a guilty plea to misdemeanor domestic battery of the victim.

Three weeks into their latest separation in February 2010, the victim began texting defendant on her daughter's cell phone. She had belongings and a dog at defendant's residence; she also testified that she was missing him and giving thought to living with him again.

On February 23, 2010, the victim both texted defendant and spoke with him on the phone. She told him that she wanted to come home and retrieve some of her belongings and her dog, and to talk with him, but she did not want to stay.

The victim had been staying overnight at the house of a childhood friend. The friend's younger sister gave the victim a ride to the motorhome that the victim and defendant had shared on his father's property. They stopped off at homes of two other people en route, the victim leaving her purse and phone behind at some point in order to prevent defendant from seizing them.

The younger sister thought the victim seemed apprehensive. Although it was a cold and rainy night, the victim had planned on walking back with her dog and belongings, and did not ask the younger sister to stay (the latter having school in the morning).

When defendant answered the door, he already appeared to be angry. He grabbed both sides of her head and threw her on the bed, pressing down on her neck with his hands. He called her a bitch and complained about her humiliation of him. At some point he stopped strangling her; while he had her pinned down with his leg, he told her that he would kill her. She saw defendant grab a knife from the sofa; he said he should cut her throat. The victim feared for her life. Defendant repeatedly hit her head, complaining about the victim spending Valentine's Day with her teen daughter's friend; he intimated some sort of sexual liaison, which the victim told him was not true.

Defendant stopped his physical assaults. He began to talk with the victim about how she "wasn't being right as a wife," asserting that she "belong[ed] to him" as her husband and she was "humiliating him in front of his family." He told her that he would not let her leave him again: "[H]e would blow his head off and blow [hers] off and [they]'d both live in hell." She was attempting to calm him down. After about a half-hour, they "ended up having sex together." Telling her that he knew she had left him because he was insufficiently attentive to her sexual needs, defendant pulled down her pants and began to have oral sex with her. This disgusted her, but she lay there and let it happen because she did not want to trigger any further physical abuse. Defendant then had intercourse with her. Sensing her tenseness, he told her she did not need to be afraid. Again, she did not resist these further intimacies because she was indeed afraid she would "start getting hit again."

The victim spent a sleepless night with defendant at her side. In the morning, defendant told her he needed to get some cigarettes. He warned her not to forget what he had told her, or try to leave because he would find her wherever she went and shoot her regardless of who was present. She lay there afraid to move until she heard him drive off down the hill (which was after he had walked to his father's house to ask for a ride). She then fled the motorhome and knocked on doors. The second home let her in to use the phone. She told them that her husband had been holding her against her will until she took this opportunity to escape. She called a close friend, ...

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