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People v. Billie

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Sixth Division

April 4, 2017

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
ROBERT LEE BILLIE, Defendant and Appellant

         Review denied by, 07/19/2017

         [CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION[*]]

         Superior Court of Santa Barbara County, No. 1473654, Rick S. Brown, Judge[**] .

Page 435

         COUNSEL

         Laini Millar Melnick, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

         Xavier Becerra and Kamala D. Harris, Attorneys General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Assistant Attorney General, Paul R. Roadarmel and David F. Glassman, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

         Opinion by Perren, J., with Gilbert, P. J., and Yegan, J., concurring.

          OPINION

          [216 Cal.Rptr.3d 691] PERREN, J.

          A defendant has a constitutional right to represent himself at trial. ( Faretta v. California (1975) 422 U.S. 806, 819 [45 L.Ed.2d 562, 95 S.Ct. 2525]; People v. Welch (1999) 20 Cal.4th 701, 729 [85 Cal.Rptr.2d 203');">85 Cal.Rptr.2d 203, 976 P.2d 754].) The trial court has a concomitant duty to ensure that the proceedings are conducted in an orderly fashion and, upon a proper showing, to physically restrain the defendant for his own safety and that of others in the courtroom. ( People v. Combs (2004) 34 Cal.4th 821, 837-838 [22 Cal.Rptr.3d 61, 101 P.3d 1007].)

Page 436

Inevitably, use of physical restraints will impair the self-represented defendant's ability to move around the courtroom. It also is difficult to conceal the restraints from the jury's view. Here the trial court conscientiously sought to balance the defendant's right to self-representation with its concern for the safety of the defendant, deputies, jurors and others in the courtroom. We believe the court properly struck that balance.

         Appellant Robert Lee Billie was charged with attempted murder (Pen. Code, § § 664, 187, subd. (a)),[1] with special allegations of personal infliction of great bodily injury (§ 12022.7, subd. (a)), and personal use of a deadly weapon (§ 12022, subd. (b)(1); count 1) and assault with personal use of a deadly weapon (§ 245, subd. (a)(1)), with the special allegation of personal infliction of great bodily injury (§ 12022.7, subd. (a); count 2). The charges resulted from events occurring on May 16, 2013.

         Both counts alleged that the offenses were second strikes (§ § 667, subds. (d)(2) & (e)(1), 1192.7, subd. (c)(8)), that appellant had suffered a prior conviction of a serious felony (§ 667, subd. (a)(1)), and that he had served a prior prison term (§ 667.5, subd. (b)). It also was alleged that appellant was ineligible to serve a state prison sentence in county jail ...


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