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The People v. Ronnie Christopher Chavez

December 6, 2012

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
RONNIE CHRISTOPHER CHAVEZ, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. Nos. CM033524, CM032447)

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

P. v. Chavez

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NOT TO BE PUBLISHED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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

On June 7, 2010, defendant Ronnie Chavez backed his wife "in the corner . . . and repeatedly punch[ed] [her] in the stomach," leaving her "crunched over," "upset," and "hurt." The jury found him guilty of violating Penal Code*fn1 section 273.5, which prohibits inflicting upon one's spouse a " 'traumatic condition.' " (§ 273.5.) Defendant appeals, arguing that there is "no evidence" that any "traumatic condition" resulted from the June 7 beating. We disagree and affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Defendant married Krystal Lexner-Chavez in 1998. They separated in 2007, but they remained married and maintained frequent contact.

According to Krystal, defendant beat her three times in 2010. On May 10, defendant "grabbed [her] by the hair, hit [her] in the left side of [the] head and face and, broke [her] . . . tooth, and then repeatedly punch[ed] [her] in the stomach." On June 7, he backed Krystal into a corner and "repeatedly punch[ed] [her] in the stomach." Then, on June 8, defendant punched Krystal in the head and face and kicked her in the stomach and her side. Krystal's account of the June 7 beating was corroborated by her friend Carrie Lystra who testified that defendant "had [Krystal] up against the closet door, and he was upper-cutting her in the stomach," leaving Krystal "crunched over," "upset," and "hurt." No third-party witness testified about the May 10 and June 8 beatings.

After the June 8 beating, Krystal went to the police. Butte County Deputy Sheriff Jason Dodd took her report. Deputy Dodd testified that Krystal was very upset and that it was "difficult to decipher what incidents occurred on what date, so [Deputy Dodd] was constantly having to go back and ask her specific questions for each date." Deputy Dodd examined Krystal for injuries. Among other signs of physical trauma, he found a "very large bruise" on Krystal's stomach. Deputy Dodd testified that he was not an expert on injuries. The "darkness" of the bruise indicated to him, however, that it had been "within a few days."

Defendant was charged with three counts of violating section 273.5, which makes it a felony to "willfully inflict[] upon a person who is his . . . spouse . . . corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition." (Pen. Code, § 273.5, subd. (a).)

A jury found defendant guilty of violating section 273.5 on June 7, but not guilty of violating section 273.5 on May 10 and June 8. Defendant timely appealed.

DISCUSSION

Defendant does not dispute that he willfully inflicted corporal injury on his spouse on June 7, 2010. Instead, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to establish that the bruise that Deputy Dodd witnessed on June 8 was caused by the June 7 beating. According to defendant, "[t]he stomach injury could have occurred from the incident on March [sic] 10, since Krystal testified that on that date [defendant] punched her in the stomach. The stomach injury could also have occurred on June 8 since Krystal testified that on that date [defendant] kicked her in the stomach and sides." Because "none of the witnesses could ascribe the stomach injury [that ...


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