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The People v. Jose Luis Sandoval-Gonzalez

March 19, 2013


(Super. Ct. No. 11F08530)

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

P. v. Sandoval-Gonzalez



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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

After his motion to suppress the evidence (Pen. Code, § 1538.5) was denied, defendant Jose Luis Sandoval-Gonzalez entered a plea of no contest to possession of cocaine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11350, subd. (a)). The court suspended imposition of sentence and granted probation for a term of five years.

Defendant appeals, challenging the denial of his suppression motion. We will affirm.


About 2:30 p.m. on December 16, 2011, Citrus Heights Police Officer Dwight Turner responded to a report of an assault with a deadly weapon at a Mariposa Avenue address. The apartment manager told the officer that "it was a chaotic scene where at least six male Hispanic subjects got out of a vehicle and beat several other subjects that were in the area." The manager described some of the subjects as wearing all black, some were wearing red, and some on the other side were dressed in blue. The manager believed the fight was "possibly gang related." The manager stated that some of the subjects used a baseball bat and a barbell-type bar.

Officers spoke with the victims, who ranged in age from 16 to 19 years old. One victim had a gash on his head. Another victim had a several-inches-long cut to his stomach area, which he claimed was caused by "some type of a sharp object."

The manager described the suspects' car, including its license plate number. Within an hour and a half, based on the vehicle description, the officers stopped the car. "The subject that was in that vehicle [driver or passenger] was on probation, came back to [an] address [of 6802 Trovita Way]."

About 4:00 p.m., Officer Turner and four other officers went to the Trovita Way residence where the vehicle was registered and where the driver or passenger lived, approximately two miles from the Mariposa Avenue address, to conduct a probation search and to check for possible suspects in the assaults. Upon arrival, Officer Turner saw about six male Hispanics, some in black clothing, in the court area in front of the residence. Based on recent prior contacts, officers recognized some of the subjects as being involved in gangs and also living at that residence. Officer Turner saw defendant walking down the driveway in front of the residence where, the officer later learned, defendant lived. Officer Turner believed that defendant could possibly have been involved in the assaults.

At some unspecified point, the officer had learned the suspects ranged in age from 15 to 19 years old. Defendant was 39 years of age. Another officer directed defendant to approach her. All the subjects were directed to approach the officers. Officer Turner then directed defendant to get onto his knees so that he could conduct a patdown search for weapons. Defendant was not placed in handcuffs. The officer patted down the outside of defendant's clothing without manipulating any items. In defendant's left pants pocket, the officer noted "three bulges and then another object had a pointy-type edge to it," which, based on his training and experience, the officer believed "could possibly be a weapon." Officer Turner stated that he knew "gang members and affiliates, they can make home made weapons. I can go on and on what something that small could be, so I couldn't rule it out as not being a weapon." The officer removed the object to determine if it was a weapon. He pulled out three cigarette lighters, a Ziploc baggie containing cocaine, and a Visine eyedrop bottle with a point to the cap/lid. The officer did not collect and book the Visine bottle.

In denying the motion, the court noted the vehicle had been identified as being at the scene of what "may or may not have been a gang fight" and was registered to the address where the defendant was observed, so he was "directly connected to the vehicle." The court determined that the officer had a reasonable basis for the patdown. The officer felt a sharp object in defendant's pocket, commenting that "even the end of a toothbrush can be used as a weapon if it's sharpened up enough." The court noted that although no one reported to the officer that he or she had seen a knife, the "open cut wounds horizontally across the stomach, laying open parts of the tissue and muscles" suggested that some object in ...

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