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The People v. Trederialo Baca

December 6, 2012


(Super. Ct. No. 10F05492)

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

P. v. Baca



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Following a jury trial, defendant Trederialo Baca was convicted of corporal injury to a spouse (Pen. Code, § 273.5, subd. (a); undesignated statutory references that follow are to the Penal Code) and felony vandalism (§ 594, subd. (a)). The trial court sustained a strike and two prior prison term allegations (§§ 667, subds. (b)-(i), 1170.12, 667.5, subd. (b)) and sentenced defendant to 11 years 4 months in state prison with 537 days of presentence credit (358 actual and 179 conduct).

On appeal, defendant contends that the prospective application of the Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011 (Realignment Act) (Stats. 2011, ch. 15) violates his right to equal protection of the law, and the case must be remanded for the trial court to address fines, fees, and assessments. In a supplemental brief, defendant claims the trial court violated his Sixth Amendment right to self representation by denying his Faretta (Faretta v. California (1975) 422 U.S. 806 [45 L.Ed.2d 562]) motion. We agree with defendant's Faretta claim and reverse the judgment of conviction.


Jessica S. started a serious relationship with defendant in 2005 and married him on January 1, 2008. She ended the relationship and moved out of the house in the summer of 2008. They were in the process of divorcing at the time of the trial.

On July 24, 2010, Jessica S. and Lynette G. went to a downtown Sacramento bar for drinks. They left together in Jessica S.'s car at 1:00 a.m. the following morning. Jessica S. first drove towards her home, but changed course and drove to defendant's home on 14th and V streets to see how he was doing.

Jessica S. parked by defendant's home. She remained in the car while Lynette G. walked up to the entrance and came back with defendant. Lynette G. reentered the passenger seat, while defendant walked to the driver's side and talked to Jessica S. Defendant eventually asked Jessica S. whether they would get back together. His demeanor did not change when she told him no.

Defendant told Jessica S. that his cousin Y.H. was living with him, and asked whether she would like to greet her. Jessica S. agreed, so defendant went inside and got Y.H. Jessica S. was sitting in her car when defendant returned with Y.H.; defendant asked Jessica S. to come out of the car and give Y.H. a hug.

Jessica S. got out of the car, hugged Y.H., and started talking with her. Defendant then asked Jessica S. who owned the car, a 1992 Lexus. Jessica S. said the car was hers, and then resumed talking with Y.H. Jessica S. next remembered defendant's hand around her throat as he pushed her against the car and started punching her in the face. Y.H., who stood beside defendant, grabbed defendant's arm and told him to stop. When defendant stopped punching Jessica S., he threw her to the rear of the car and got into the driver's seat. Lynette G. left the car, and defendant drove straight into a telephone pole across the street.

Jessica S. and Lynette G. ran to W Street, stopping on the way for Jessica S. to call 911. Jessica S. and Lynette G. came to a street corner where they saw a police car stopped at a red light. They banged on the car window, yelling, "He's going to kill me," but the officer did not immediately respond.

Sacramento Police Officer Robert Schmidt responded to Jessica S. after determining that she needed assistance. Jessica S. told him that her husband had beaten and punched her. She complained of jaw pain and told Officer Schmidt that her husband lived nearby. Officer Schmidt saw scratch marks on the back of Jessica S.'s neck.

Officer Schmidt went to defendant's house, but the lights were off and no one answered when he knocked on the front door. Jessica S.'s Lexus was parked on V Street, just west of 14th Street. It was not adjacent to a telephone pole, but had sustained damage consistent with Jessica S.'s version of events. An officer found debris next to a telephone pole that was consistent with a vehicle striking it. A trail of oily liquid led from the pole to the street. The same liquid was accumulating underneath Jessica S.'s car.

Testifying for the defense, Y.H. confirmed hugging Jessica S. and saying hello to her. Jessica S. embraced defendant, who whispered into her ear. Jessica S. giggled, and said, "that's not going to happen."

Y.H. turned around to go home and get her lighter. After about 30 seconds, she turned around to see Jessica S. clawing at defendant. Y.H. jumped in and tried to separate them. She may have struck Jessica S. with enough force to cause injury. She did not see defendant strike Jessica S. or grab her neck.

Y.H. heard Jessica S. yell for Lynette G. to leave the car. Defendant jumped into the car while Lynette G. jumped out. Defendant said, "It's all over, it's all over," and then drove into the telephone pole.


Two of defendant's three contentions address sentencing matters--whether he is entitled to extra conduct credits under the Realignment Act, and the pronouncement and proper recording of fines and fees. Since we reverse defendant's conviction for Faretta error, we do not address these contentions.

In a supplemental brief, defendant contends that the trial court erroneously denied his motion to represent himself, a violation of his due process rights under Faretta.

The trial court heard motions on December 3, 2010, six months before the trial commenced on June 7, 2011. Defense counsel informed the trial court that defendant would like to represent himself. Defendant told the trial court that he had read the court's "Faretta warning" regarding self-representation and the jail's policy on access to legal materials. After defendant affirmed that he wanted to represent himself, the trial court informed him of his right to counsel and the various risks associated with self-representation.

After the trial court told defendant that he could not appeal based on his own incompetent representation, defendant and the trial court engaged in the following exchange:

"[Defendant]: Exactly.

"[The Court]: The Court of Appeal is ...

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