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People v. Blakely

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, First Division

October 16, 2014

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
ANTHONY JOHN BLAKELY, Defendant and Appellant.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of San Bernardino County, No. FVA1000603 Ingrid A. Uhler, Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Ellen M. Matsumoto, 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, Assistant Attorney General, William M. Wood and Marilyn L. George, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

HUFFMAN, ACTING P. J.

Anthony John Blakely pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to assault with a deadly weapon (Pen. Code, [1] §§ 245, subd. (a)(1); 1192.7, subd. (c); count 1) and robbery (§ 211; count 2). The jury convicted him of both counts. After the evidence was presented in the sanity phase of the trial, the court granted the People's motion for a directed verdict of sanity.

Blakely appeals, contending the court erred in directing a verdict of sanity. We conclude the court did not err in removing the issue of Blakely's sanity from the jury. As set forth in People v. Severance (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 305, 320 [41 Cal.Rptr.3d 397] (Severance), the court properly directs a verdict of sanity when a defendant fails to proffer "substantial evidence from which the jury reasonably could have found the defendant was not sane." (Original italics.) The evidence in this case was insufficient for the jury to make such a finding. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In April 2010, Samuel Lamar went to a supermarket in Rialto. Blakely and a female companion were in line to the left of Lamar and watched as Lamar paid for his groceries with a 100 dollar bill. Blakely appeared nervous and stared at Lamar. Lamar ignored Blakely and put the change from his purchase, about $70, into his pocket and left the store.

Without purchasing anything, Blakely left the store and followed Lamar into the parking lot. As Lamar was putting the groceries into his truck, Blakely attacked him. Blakely hit Lamar in the face with a metal object, then pushed him into his truck and said, "You're going to pay."

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Blakely hit Lamar two more times in the head with the object. Blakely pulled Lamar out of the truck, pushed him to the ground, and slammed his head on the pavement. Blakely stood there "rocking back and forth, breathing extremely hard, " then grabbed Lamar and said, "Give me your money." Blakely took the money from Lamar's pocket and ran away.

After the jury found Blakely guilty on counts 1 and 2, and in a bifurcated trial also found he suffered two prior strike convictions for burglary (§§ 459, 1192.7, subd. (c) & 667.5, subd. (c)), the same jury remained for the sanity phase of the trial. After both sides presented their evidence, the court granted the People's motion for a directed verdict of sanity. The court subsequently sentenced Blakely to prison for 35 years to life.

DISCUSSION

Blakely contends that the court erred in directing a verdict of sanity because he presented sufficient evidence for the jury to reasonably conclude he was insane at the time of the crimes. We disagree.

I

LEGAL PRINCIPLES


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