People v. Jackson, A157033

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtSANCHEZ, J.
Decision Date18 June 2021
PartiesPEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. KEHINDE J. JACKSON, Defendant and Appellant.
Docket NumberA157033

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Plaintiff and Respondent,

KEHINDE J. JACKSON, Defendant and Appellant.


California Court of Appeals, First District, First Division

June 18, 2021


Marin County Super. Ct. No. SC205160A


Kehinde Jackson appeals from convictions for felony false imprisonment by violence and misdemeanor battery stemming from an altercation on a public street between strangers. On appeal, Jackson contends his Sixth Amendment right to control his own defense was violated. He also alleges that his right to a fair trial was prejudiced by the prosecution's repeated misconduct, his statutory right to a speedy trial was violated, and the trial court erred in requiring him to testify from counsel table as a precautionary measure. Finally, Jackson asks us to strike his one-year sentencing enhancement for serving a prior prison term based on changes to the law while his appeal was pending. We strike the prison prior but otherwise affirm.


In August 2018, an information was filed by the Marin County District Attorney, charging Jackson with felony false imprisonment by violence (Pen. Code, [1] § 236, count one) and misdemeanor battery (§ 242, count two). The information alleged that Jackson had suffered a prior strike conviction within the meaning of sections 667 and 1170.12, and that he had served a prior prison term under section 667.5.

Jury trial began on December 20, 2018. The victim, Laura A., testified that she and her husband were loading purchases from a local garden store into the trunk of their car on an afternoon in June 2018. Ms. A. was facing across the street when she saw motion in her peripheral vision. As she turned towards the motion, she saw Jackson, a total stranger, sprinting in her direction and drawing his fist back all the way to his shoulder. Laura A. turned her head to avoid being punched in the face and the blow landed on her right temple, snapping her neck to the other shoulder and spinning her around. Jackson then struck Ms. A. several times on her torso, grabbed her hair, which was up in a high, tight ponytail, and began dragging her into the street. It was very painful, and Laura A. screamed and tried to resist. She planted her feet against the ground in an attempt to stop being moved. Laura A.'s husband, who had been loading the trunk, screamed and ran over and tried to separate Jackson from his wife. Jackson dragged Ms. A. approximately 15 feet into the street, ripping out chunks of her hair. Jackson had not said a word during this minutes-long encounter. He eventually let her go, stated he was sorry, and walked away.

Laura A.'s husband called 911 and the police responded promptly, detaining Jackson a short distance away. Both Laura A. and her husband were taken separately to where Jackson was being held, and both identified him as their assailant. Laura A.'s husband also testified at trial and described the incident in similar terms. He showed several photos he had taken of Jackson to the police. When Officer Garanzini arrived on the scene, Laura A. was in pain and showed him how her hair was coming out of her scalp but had no other visible injuries. He testified that Jackson had no objective signs of alcohol intoxication or drug abuse.

Jackson testified in his own defense. He and his fiancée had stayed the night at an inn across the street from the garden center. The couple were standing outside trying to decide what to do next when Laura A. and her husband began “shouting hysterically” at them. Jackson stated that Laura A. and her husband crossed the street and attacked him. Jackson testified that he did not throw a single punch but only blocked them as Laura A. and her husband hit him and made threats. They finally let him go. Jackson claimed he walked away to find a phone to call the police. He described the testimony of Laura A. and her husband as “patently false.”

On December 26, 2018, the jury found Jackson guilty of misdemeanor battery but was unable to reach a verdict on the false imprisonment charge. The judge declared a mistrial as to that charge, and the prosecutor indicated he would seek retrial. Jackson was sentenced on January 22, 2019 to 180 days in county jail on the battery conviction.

The second trial on the false imprisonment charge commenced on March 6, 2019. As Jackson acknowledges, the testimony in the second trial was similar to that given in the first trial. Officer Garanzini testified additionally that, after the incident, Jackson did not appear to have any injuries to his face and did not look like he had been attacked. The prosecution called Sergeant Huber who testified that he did not see any injuries on Jackson. Physician assistant Katzman testified that he treated Laura A. in the emergency room on the day of the altercation. He diagnosed her with muscle strain on the right side of her neck, dispensed pain medication, and discharged her with prescriptions for a muscle relaxer and hydrocodone. He would not have dispensed the medication if he did not believe she was experiencing pain at the level to justify it. Finally, after Jackson testified to being attacked, he acknowledged on cross-examination that his fiancée had a phone but stated that he did not ask her to call the police because she was distraught. On March 12, 2019, the jury convicted Jackson of felony false imprisonment by violence. The next day, the jury found Jackson's prior conviction to be true.

The trial court sentenced Jackson to seven years in prison on count one comprised of a three-year aggravated term, doubled for his prior strike, plus the one-year enhancement for his prior prison term. In doing so, the court expressly found that Jackson had testified falsely at trial. As to count two, the court resentenced Jackson to 180 days and stayed punishment pursuant to section 654. The trial court also resentenced Jackson in a previous case to a subordinate aggravated term of three years, to be served consecutively with eight months imposed and 28 months stayed. (See § 1170.1, subd. (a).)[2] Thus, Jackson's total aggregate sentence was seven years, eight months in state prison. This appeal followed.


I. Jackson's Sixth Amendment Right to Control His Own Defense

A. Additional Background

At Jackson's request, the trial court held a Marsden[3] hearing on July 26, 2018, prior to Jackson's first trial. Jackson had several complaints about defense counsel's representation. He disagreed with counsel raising issues regarding his mental state. Defense counsel acknowledged that Jackson “seem[ed] to be opposed” to a mental state defense but characterized their conflict as “not untypical for criminal cases” and indicated he needed “to figure out where the case stands when the client is uninterested in pursuing a defense that may nevertheless be beneficial to him.” The trial court denied the Marsden motion. When Jackson entered a not guilty plea in August 2018, defense counsel noted that they were not entering a dual plea of not guilty by reason of insanity because Jackson had “the absolute right to refuse” to do so, and had expressed opposition to it.

On September 4, 2018, after the preliminary hearing at which Jackson was held to answer on the charges, defense counsel declared a doubt as to Jackson's competence. The court suspended proceedings and a second Marsden hearing was held at Jackson's request. Among other things, Jackson reiterated his objection to any questions raised about his mental state. The Marsden motion was denied. After receipt of evaluations from a psychologist and a psychiatrist, the court found Jackson competent in October.

On December 4, 2018, during a hearing on the defense's Romero[4] motion, Jackson's counsel advocated for the dismissal of the prior strike allegation, noting that Jackson had “a different way of thinking, ” failed to act “in his best self-interest at all times, ” and seemed to “fall[] through the cracks in terms of his mental state.” Counsel also pointed to the facts of the crime-in which Jackson attacked a complete stranger for no apparent reason and then said he was sorry-as evidence of “deranged thinking, ” to which Jackson replied: “I object. It goes counter to my constitutional rights against self-incrimination.” The trial court denied the Romero motion, focusing on the serious and dangerous nature of Jackson's conduct during the prior strike and in the pending allegations.

In opening statements at the first trial, defense counsel described the case with respect to the battery and false imprisonment charges to the jury as follows: “[W]hat you are going to hear is that, first, there was-that [Laura A.] got punched. That's the factual basis for the battery. And the second thing you are going to hear is that [Laura A.] got moved against her will.” Counsel continued: “The issue is going to be whether the Government has proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant, in moving [Laura A.], used force that was greater than the force necessary to move her against her will” to prove the factual basis for felony false imprisonment. Counsel suggested that the prosecution would be unable to meet its burden on this point.

After the prosecution rested its case, the court asked Jackson if he was planning to testify. Jackson responded that he was unclear whether any other defense witnesses would be called. When defense counsel stated he did not plan to call witnesses, Jackson replied: “Then I am taking the stand.” Defense counsel informed the court: “This is the first that I've heard of it.... [¶]... I have no idea what he intends to offer.” Jackson then testified that he was attacked without provocation by Laura A. and her husband.

In closing arguments, defense counsel reiterated his opening remarks that Jackson was guilty of simple false imprisonment, not felony false imprisonment by violence....

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