P. v. Castro
P. v. Castro
Filed 1/14/13 P.
v. Castro CA6
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN
California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits
courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for
publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for
publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.
COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Plaintiff and Respondent,
RICARDO GARCIA CASTRO,
Defendant and Appellant.
Super. Ct. Nos. SS100498,
SS100751, & SSC110040)
A jury convicted
Ricardo Garcia Castro, the defendant herein, of unlawful possession of ammunition (Pen.
Code, former § 12316, subd. (b)(1); Stats. 2009, ch. 628, § 5) and a
controlled substance (Health & Saf. Code, § 11377, subd. (a)). On appeal, he claims that the court erred and
infringed on his constitutional rights in allowing the jury to receive evidence
about the nature of certain prior convictions, which evidence he claims was
substantially more prejudicial than probative and for that reason should not
have been received by the jury.
fails on the merits. We will affirm the
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
a probation search of the residence defendant shared with his mother and found
ammunition and methamphetamine in his bedroom.
Possessing ammunition was illegal in defendant’s case because he had
prior convictions for battery resulting in serious injury (Pen. Code,
§ 243, subd. (d)) and for dissuading a witness from reporting a crime (id., § 136.1, subd. (b)(1)). (Id., former § 12316, subd. (b)(1);
Stats. 2009, ch. 628, § 5; Pen. Code, former § 12021, subd. (c)(1);
Stats. 2010, ch. 689, § 3.)
To prove the prior-conviction element of the illegal possession of
ammunition charge, the prosecution introduced in evidence and the parties
agreed to show to the jury two four-page documents. The first page of the first document showed
that defendant had been convicted, as relevant here, of “PC243(d).” In similar fashion, the first page of the
second document showed that defendant had been convicted of “PC136.1(b)(1)” and
“PC136.1(b)(2).” The description of
these offenses, which were, respectively, battery with serious bodily injury
(Pen. Code, § 243, subd. (d)) and dissuading a witness (id.,
§ 136.1, subd. (b)), were removed, and the offenses were not described
anywhere in the documents except for two mentions in each document that they
Defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion under state
law and infringed on his right to due process of law
under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments
to the United States Constitution by allowing the jury to see the documents
Defendant presents two arguments in support of
this claim. First, he argues in his
opening brief that the jury was improperly allowed (see People v. Sapp (2003) 31 Cal.4th 240, 261, 262) to
learn the nature of his prior convictions, i.e., that they were for battery
with serious bodily injury and dissuading a witness. In his reply brief, though, and with
commendable candor, he acknowledges that the record obviates this claim: the jury did not learn the nature of the
prior offenses. We agree. Not only were the documents received by the
jury edited to remove the nature of the prior offenses, but the instructions
also avoided telling the jury what crimes the Penal Code sections referred
to. The prosecutor was just as careful
during closing argument. Therefore, the
part of defendant’s claim relating to the disclosure of the nature of his prior
convictions lacks a factual basis and this issue must be resolved against him.
But defendant also argues that the rest of the
two documents contained prejudicial information and the jury should not have
been allowed to see their content. In
his view, the documents showed that he had committed other crimes and that the
documents’ listing of a number of probation conditions portrayed him as a
dangerous individual. He raised this
issue in a motion in limine, asking that the jury not be allowed to learn of
his probationary status.
Even if the court
abused its discretion in allowing the jury to see the documents’
probation-related text, there is no reasonable probability of a different
outcome absent any such error (People v.
Watson (1956) 46 Cal.2d 818, 836) because the jury was presented with
strong evidence that defendant unlawfully possessed the ammunition.
that he did not mention the ammunition during a recorded phone call to his
mother, the recording of which was played to the jury. He also contends that he was not the sole
resident of the house where the ammunition was found; his mother lived there
too. None of this, however, translates
into a reasonable probability that the jury’s seeing court probation orders in
prior cases led to his conviction. A Soledad police officer testified
matter-of-factly that he found the ammunition in defendant’s bedroom. Defendant argues that some evidence showed
the ammunition was partly concealed by clothing, but the officer testified that
he immediately spotted it without even entering the closet and the clothing did not block his view. Given
this evidence, the jury was not likely to believe that defendant did not know
about the presence of the ammunition in his bedroom. The logical inference was that the ammunition
belonged to him. There is no reasonable
probability that, had the jury not seen the probation orders, it would have
acquitted defendant of unlawfully possessing ammunition.
As for defendant’s due process claim, our
rejection of his state law claim yields the answer. “[R]ejection on the merits of a claim that
the trial court erred . . . necessarily leads to rejection of the
newly applied constitutional ‘gloss’ as well.
No separate constitutional discussion is required in such cases, and we
therefore provide none.” (People v. Lewis and Oliver (2006) 39
Cal.4th 970, 990, fn. 5.)
The judgment is
Acting P. J.