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The People v. Michael Louis Pacheco

November 7, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
MICHAEL LOUIS PACHECO, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 09F08583)

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

P. v. Pacheco

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

A jury convicted defendant Michael Louis Pacheco of possessing unauthorized drugs (heroin and/or marijuana) in Folsom State Prison. (Pen. Code, § 4573.6.)*fn1 The trial court thereafter found that defendant had been convicted of a prior strike. The court sentenced defendant to a total prison term of four years, to run consecutively to his current sentence.

Defendant contends the trial court erred by denying his pretrial Pitchess motion. (Pitchess v. Superior Court (1974) 11 Cal.3d 531.) Finding any error harmless, we shall affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Since defendant does not attack the verdict, we focus on the evidence before the trial court at the time of the Pitchess motion.

The documentation attached to the motion shows that at around 11:45 a.m. on September 13, 2009,*fn2 Officer Russell Snyder of the prison's Investigative Services Unit (ISU), monitoring the visiting area on surveillance cameras, observed defendant apparently receiving contraband from a female visitor. The visitor was observed to "suspiciously drink from a coffee cup by placing it to her mouth and dropping suspected contraband into the cup by utilizing her mouth." She handed defendant the cup. He took several drinks from it until it was empty, then asked the visitor to pour Snapple juice into it. He moved an object inside his mouth, forming a bulge on the left side of his cheek. After drinking the Snapple, he was apparently able to swallow the object.*fn3

Officer Snyder detained defendant. An unclothed body search of defendant detected no contraband. At around 12:15 p.m., Officer Snyder processed defendant for "Body Cavity Surveillance" (BCS) placement and put him on contraband watch.

At 6:32 p.m. on September 13, defendant was admitted to Mercy Hospital Folsom because he seemed confused and lethargic. A chest X-ray, a CT scan of defendant's head, and a gross physical examination of his abdomen detected nothing unusual. Around 9:30 p.m., he produced a small stool sample. By 10:00 p.m., he appeared to have returned to normal. He was discharged at 11:15 p.m. and transported back to the prison.

While defendant was on contraband watch, his activities were observed and recorded at least every half-hour. The records showed that he ate, drank, and urinated regularly. However, nothing else happened until 10:10 p.m. on September 27. At that time, Officer Craig Weston recorded that defendant had a "large bowel movement positive for contraband."*fn4

Officer Weston's report stated that after defendant said he needed to have a bowel movement, Officer Weston and Sergeant Ramon Solorzano removed defendant from his cell and provided him a portable toilet and a bucket to defecate into. Officer Weston observed defendant doing so. Searching the feces, Officer Weston discovered nine balloons (four red and five green), which weighed approximately 22.6 grams including packaging. The red balloons contained a black tar substance, weighing approximately 8.6 grams without packaging, which tested presumptive positive for heroin; the green balloons contained a green leafy substance, weighing approximately 9.7 grams without packaging, which tested ...


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