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The People v. Manuel Jesus Carrasco

September 25, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
MANUEL JESUS CARRASCO, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Mike Camacho, Judge. (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. KA094759)

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

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

Affirmed.

INTRODUCTION

In a case of first impression, we hold that where a defendant commits multiple acts of vandalism pursuant to a single general impulse, intention or plan, the fact that the damage is to property owned by more than one victim does not preclude aggregation resulting in an offense of felony vandalism.

Appellant challenges a jury verdict finding him guilty of felony vandalism. He does not deny that when his mother refused him entry to a house in which she was temporarily residing, he threw a statue through the front window of the house and thereafter broke the windows of her car. He contends, however, that because his father was the sole owner of the house, and the damage to the house and car respectively did not total $400 or more, he could be convicted only of two counts of misdemeanor vandalism. Guided by the rule of aggregation articulated by our Supreme Court in People v. Bailey (1961) 55 Cal.2d 514 (Bailey) and construed in In re Arthur V. (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 61, 68 (Arthur V.), we hold that where a defendant engages in vandalism that causes damage to the property of more than one victim, aggregation of the damage amount is appropriate when the damage did not result from separate and distinct criminal acts and was inflicted pursuant to a single general impulse, intention or plan. Where, as here, appellant's successive acts of vandalism were pursuant to a single angry impulse directed toward his mother's refusal to let him into the house, aggregation of the damage amounts was appropriate, and his conviction for felony vandalism must be affirmed.

Appellant also contends that the trial court improperly instructed the jury on aggregating damages, and that the court erred by failing to provide a separate instruction on the lesser included offense of misdemeanor vandalism. For the reasons stated below, we hold there was no reversible instructional error.

Finally, appellant contends the trial court erred in imposing two one-year enhancements for two prison priors pursuant to Penal Code section 667.5, subdivision (b).*fn1 Because appellant's admission to the prison priors encompassed all of the elements required to impose the enhancements, we affirm the sentence.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

An information charged appellant with felony vandalism, for unlawfully and maliciously damaging or destroying over $400 worth of real and personal property belonging to Ruben Carrasco and Nelly Martinez (§ 594, subd. (a)). It was further alleged that appellant had suffered two prior convictions, one in 2006 and another in 2009, that "a term was served as described in Penal Code section 667.5 for said offense(s), and that the defendant did not remain free of prison custody for, and did commit an offense resulting in a felony conviction during, a period of five years subsequent to the conclusion of said term." Appellant pleaded not guilty, and denied the special allegation.

Appellant's motion to bifurcate trial on the prison priors was granted, and he waived jury trial as to those allegations. On September 13, 2011, a jury convicted appellant of vandalism. The jury found the amount of damage caused by the vandalism was $400 or more. In a bifurcated bench trial, appellant admitted he had suffered two prior convictions within the meaning of section 667.5, subdivision (b). On October 3, 2011, the trial court denied probation and sentenced appellant to state prison for three years and four months.

Appellant timely filed an appeal from the judgment of conviction.

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

On June 29, 2011, appellant had an argument with his mother, Nellie Martinez. He left the house and returned around 8:00 p.m. Martinez testified that when she refused to allow appellant to enter the house, the two started arguing. Appellant then threw a ceramic statue through the front window of the house. After throwing the statue, appellant broke two windows of Martinez's car, parked nearby. He also broke the windows of his own car.

Martinez testified she was the sole owner of the car. She paid $382 to repair the broken car windows. Martinez also testified she had no ownership interest in the house, but stayed there with appellant's father, Ruben Carrasco, for weeks at a ...


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