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People v. Johnson

California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Second Division

December 19, 2013

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Lionel Fredrick JOHNSON, Jr., Defendant and Appellant.

[CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION[*]]

APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County. Dennis A. McConaghy, Judge. (Retired judge of the Riverside Super. Ct. assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to art. VI, ยง 6 of the Cal. Const.) Affirmed in part; reversed in part and remanded with directions. (No. SWF029110)

Page 487

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 488

COUNSEL

Michael B. McPartland, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Julie L. Garland, Senior Assistant Attorney General, and Steve Oetting and Laura A. Glennon, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

RICHLI, J.

Page 489

One SUV rear-ended another SUV that had stopped at a red light. All five occupants of the vehicle that was hit were injured, to varying degrees; one was crippled.

When the police arrived, they found defendant Lionel Fredrick Johnson, Jr. at the scene, blatantly drunk. He admitted that he had been driving and that he hit the other vehicle.

As no eyewitness could identify defendant as the driver, however, defense counsel argued that there was reasonable doubt as to whether defendant was driving. He also argued that defendant's admissions were not credible because " drunk people say crazy things all the time."

After the trial, defendant filed a motion for disclosure of the jurors' identifying information. In support, his parents testified that several jurors had stated that they had concluded only reluctantly that defendant had been driving, partly because he did not take the stand and testify. The trial court denied the motion. In the published portion of this opinion, we will hold that this was error. We will reject the People's arguments that (1) the jurors' statements were inadmissible hearsay, (2) the jurors' statements were inadmissible under Evidence Code section 1150, and (3) defendant had to show that he had made diligent efforts to contact the jurors by other means.

[166 Cal.Rptr.3d 320] In the nonpublished portion of this opinion, we will hold that the trial court committed one sentencing error.

Accordingly, the matter must be remanded with directions to reconsider defendant's motion. However, if (1) the motion is once again denied, (2) the motion is granted but defendant fails to file a motion for new trial, or (3) defendant files a motion for new trial but the motion for new trial is denied, the trial court must resentence defendant.

Page 490

I-II [**]

III

DISCLOSURE OF JURORS' IDENTIFYING INFORMATION

Defendant contends that the trial court erred by denying his posttrial motion for disclosure of jurors' identifying information.

A. Additional Factual and Procedural Background.

On March 15, 2011, the jury returned its verdicts. At that point, defendant had not waived a jury trial on the priors, so the jurors were ordered to return on March 16. On March 16, however, defendant decided to waive a jury trial, and the trial court excused the jurors.

The court trial on the priors, originally set for May 13, 2011, was repeatedly continued until it was eventually held on November 18, 2011. Sentencing, originally set for January 27, 2012, was likewise repeatedly continued.

On April 26, 2012, defendant filed a motion for release of jurors' personal identifying information. The motion was set for hearing on the date then set for sentencing, May 25, 2012.

On April 26, 2012, defendant filed a motion for release of jurors' identifying information. Defendant's mother and stepfather, Joy and Delvin Livingston, submitted declarations in support of the motion.

They both testified that on March 16, 2011,[1] they had had a conversation with three female jurors. One of the jurors cried and said she was " sorry." She said she wanted to talk to the judge. From there, the mother's and stepfather's accounts of the conversation diverged somewhat.

According to defendant's mother, the conversation took place outside the courtroom. The crying juror said, " [W]hy didn't he take the witness stand and defend himself[?] Why didn't he say something, we need to hear it from him. Did he have ...


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