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People v. Huggins

California Court of Appeals, First District, Fifth Division

March 30, 2015

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
GEORGE SCOTT HUGGINS, JR., Defendant and Appellant.

[CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION] [*]

Superior Court of Alameda County, No. 166845B, Hon. Jon Rolefson, Judge.

Page 716

COUNSEL

David Y. Stanley, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Assistant Attorney General, Jeffrey M. Laurence and Victoria Ratnikova, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

Page 717

OPINION

SIMONS, J.

The Penal Code requires corroboration for the testimony of an accomplice (Pen. Code, § 1111) [1] and an in-custody informant (§ 1111.5). In the published portion of this opinion we address a question of first impression: May an accomplice and in-custody informant corroborate each other? We conclude they may. In the unpublished portion of the opinion, we correct certain sentencing errors and otherwise affirm.

BACKGROUND

We recite only the facts relevant to this appeal. In June 2010, appellant George Scott Huggins, Jr. and his then-girlfriend Althea Housley robbed Ivan Gomez and Margarita Bermudez in Oakland. Appellant shot Gomez during the robbery. The following month, in Oakland, appellant and Housley robbed Hai Huang and Jinghong Kang. During the robbery, appellant shot Kang in the chest and killed him. Appellant received $10, a Chase card, and a GPS system from the second robbery.

Housley was initially charged as a codefendant in this case. Prior to trial, she entered into a plea agreement providing a reduced sentence in exchange for her testimony at appellant’s trial. Housley testified that she and appellant committed the two robberies described above and that appellant shot Gomez and Kang.

Larry Houser testified for the prosecution in exchange for a reduced sentence for an unrelated crime. Houser met appellant before the robberies. Houser never met or spoke with Housley. After appellant’s arrest, he and Houser, who was also in custody at that time, were placed in adjacent cells. Appellant and Houser spoke through a vent and through their cell doors. Appellant told Houser that he shot a “Mexican” man and a “Chinese” man while robbing them with his girlfriend; the crimes occurred in Oakland on different days; he shot the Chinese man in the chest; the Chinese man died; and appellant got $10 during the robbery of the Chinese man.

The prosecution presented surveillance video footage from the vicinity of the July robbery showing two individuals walking up a street right before the attack and the same individuals running in the opposite direction right after the shooting. The pair in the video were identified by Huang as the robbers who had shot Kang, and by a close friend of Housley’s as Housley and appellant. The prosecution also presented evidence that Housley’s fingerprint was found ...


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