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People v. Lopez

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Eighth Division

February 24, 2017

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
ARLEEN STACY LOPEZ, Defendant and Appellant. In re ARLEEN STACY LOPEZ on Habeas Corpus

         [CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION[*]]

          APPEAL from a judgment and order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. KA109537, Robert M. Martinez, Judge.

          Judgment affirmed; petition denied.

Page 1231

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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         Jenny Macht Brandt, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant and for Petitioner.

         Kamala D. Harris and Xavier Becerra, Attorneys General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Assistant Attorney General, Yun K. Lee and Thomas C. Hsieh, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

         Flier, J., with Bigelow, P. J., and Grimes, J., concurring.

          OPINION

          [214 Cal.Rptr.3d 619] FLIER, J.

          --Appellant Arleen Stacy Lopez appeals from the judgment after her conviction for carjacking. She also petitions for a writ of habeas corpus based on ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment and deny the petition.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On April 7, 2015, Aurora Prado, a 65-year-old woman, drove a Toyota Highlander belonging to her daughter's boyfriend to the El Super market in La Puente. She pulled part way into an accessible parking space,[1] but realized the space was blocked by two shopping carts. She exited the vehicle to move the carts, leaving the door open and the engine running.

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         While Prado was moving the carts, appellant walked past her, climbed into the driver's seat of the Highlander, and closed the door. Prado went over to the driver's side and " bang[ed] on the window," pleading with appellant not to take the vehicle. Prado grasped the door handle with her left hand and tried to open the door, but appellant held it shut. Appellant began backing the vehicle up as Prado held on to the door handle and continued to plead with appellant not to take the car. Prado said appellant " didn't reverse slow ... . She go fast and makes noise with the tires ... ." Prado held on to the door handle until she lost her balance and had to let go, although she did not fall to the ground. Appellant sped off.

         On April 9, 2015, authorities located appellant in the Highlander in the parking structure of a casino in Highland.[2] A detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department interviewed appellant several days later. Appellant admitted that she had taken a Highlander from an elderly Hispanic female in a supermarket parking lot.

         At trial, Prado identified appellant as the person who took the Highlander. The prosecution presented a surveillance video [214 Cal.Rptr.3d 620] of the entire incident. Prado testified that appellant had pushed her before getting into the car, but acknowledged on cross-examination that she could not see a push on the surveillance video.[3]

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Appellant was charged with carjacking (Pen. Code, § 215, subd. (a))[4] and found guilty by the jury. She was sentenced to state prison for the low term of three years, ...


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