California Court of Appeals, Second District, Sixth Division
THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
ISAAC RANGEL et al., Defendants and Appellants.
FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION[*]]
Court County No. PA062376 of Los Angeles, Stephen A. Marcus,
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Crawford and Linn Davis, under appointments by the Court of
Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant, Humberto Miranda.
Siraco, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for
Defendant and Appellant, Felix Vega.
M. Thompson, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for
Defendant and Appellant, Isaac Rangel.
D. Harris, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief
Assistant Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Assistant
Attorney General, Steven D. Matthews and Roberta L. Davis,
Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
case involves a razor-blade-shank attack by
“Southside” gang members on a Los Angeles County
jail inmate who refused to stab another inmate at the
gang’s behest. Humberto Miranda, Felix Vega, and Isaac
Rangel appeal from the judgment entered after a jury trial.
All were convicted of assault with a deadly weapon (count 1 -
Pen. Code, § 245, subd. (a)(1)); assault by means of
force likely to produce great bodily injury (count
2—§ 245, former subd. (a)(1), now subd. (a)(4));
and battery with serious bodily injury (count 3—§
243, subd. (d)). Codefendant Chris DeLeon was acquitted. As
to each appellant, the jury found true great bodily injury
allegations (§ 12022.7, subd. (a)) and gang enhancements
subd (b)(1)(A) & (C)). As to Miranda, the jury found true
an allegation that, in the commission of battery with serious
bodily injury, he had personally used a “knife and
razor.” (§ 12022, subd. (b)(1).) Vega and Rangel
admitted prior felony convictions.
was sentenced to prison for 17 years, to be served first
before the service of life sentences in another case. (See
§ 669.) Vega was sentenced to prison for 11 years, 4
months, to be served consecutively to a prior sentence in
another case of 37 years, 4 months. The aggregate term for
both cases was 48 years, 8 months. Rangel was sentenced to
prison for 7 years, 4 months, to be served consecutively to a
prior sentence in another case of 25 years. The aggregate
term for both cases was 32 years, four months.
argue that the evidence is insufficient to support the gang
enhancements. In addition, they argue that the trial court
erroneously (1) denied their Wheeler-Batson motions,
(2) instructed the jury during jury selection, and (3)
excluded evidence of the guilty pleas of three codefendants.
Vega claims that the trial court erroneously limited his
closing argument to the jury. Finally, Vega and Rangel
contend that the trial court erroneously sentenced them and
failed to calculate the custody credits to which they are
entitled. Only the final contention has merit. Miranda makes
no claim of sentencing error, but his sentence is also
erroneous. We vacate appellants’ convictions on count 2
and reverse their sentences on counts 1 and 3. We remand the
matter with directions to resentence them and calculate
Vega’s and Rangel’s custody credits. In all other
respects, we affirm.
and DeLeon were members of different Southern California
local criminal street gangs. Estuardo Tobias, the victim,
claimed that he was not a gang member. In June 2008 Tobias,
appellants, and DeLeon were inmates in Dorm 816 at the North
County Correctional Facility (NCCF) of the Los Angeles County
Jail. The dorm housed approximately 65 inmates, all of whom
presence of Miranda, Rangel, and DeLeon, Vega ordered Tobias
to cut another inmate with a knife. Tobias refused. Vega
replied, “‘All right. If you don’t do it,
you got that coming.’” Later that same day, Vega
told Tobias that someone wanted to speak to him upstairs.
Tobias understood that he was going to see “Puppet,
” “the gang member who was running the
jail.” According to Tobias, “Puppet was the one
who would give orders about who should get beat up and what
should happen among the gang members....”
Tobias walked upstairs, Vega started fighting with him and
“tried to take [him] down on the ground.”
Miranda, Rangel, DeLeon, and “not less than another
five [persons]” ran toward Tobias. The other persons
included gang members Edgar Centeno, Skary Paredes, and Ivan
cut Tobias with razor blades attached to toothbrushes. Tobias
was punched and kicked. “There were blows, but there
were so many of them [that Tobias] couldn’t tell... who
did what.” Someone said, “‘Cut him, but
make sure that you’re getting him on the
neck.’” “The last thing [Tobias]
remember[ed] was that someone said, ‘Hide.
deputies arrived and stopped the fight. A deputy testified
that he “saw five people attacking one person.”
The deputy subsequently testified: “There could have
been more.” “[I]t looked like there was
approximately five or more.” Another deputy testified
that he “saw approximately five inmates”
surrounding Tobias and “punching him repeatedly in a
violent manner.” “It could have been more, but
I’m pretty certain that it was at minimum five.”
Neither deputy saw the beginning of the fight.
was “drenched in blood.” Blood was
“squirting from his wrist onto the walls.” He had
“six or seven different injuries.”
had blood on their clothing and bodies. The DNA profile of
blood found on Vega and Rangel matched the DNA profile of
of the Evidence to Support the Gang Enhancements
contend that the evidence is insufficient to support the
criminal street gang enhancements. The People were required
to prove that the crimes for which appellants were convicted
had been “committed for the benefit of, at the
direction of, or in association with any criminal street
gang, with the specific intent to promote, further, or assist
in any criminal conduct by gang members....” (§
186.22, subd. (b)(1).)
considering a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to
support an enhancement, we review the entire ...