People v. Mani, C088716

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtMURRAY, J.
Citation69 Cal.App.5th 799,284 Cal.Rptr.3d 713
Parties The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Ashneel MANI, Defendant and Appellant.
Decision Date30 September 2021
Docket NumberC088716

69 Cal.App.5th 799
284 Cal.Rptr.3d 713

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Ashneel MANI, Defendant and Appellant.

C088716

Court of Appeal, Third District, California.

Filed September 30, 2021


Denise M. Rudasill, San Diego, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris and Xavier Becerra, Attorneys General, Lance E. Winters, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, Darren K. Indermill, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Kari Ricci Mueller, Deputy Attorney General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

MURRAY, J.

On the night of March 29, 2018, defendant broke into the house where his mother and his brother lived. After hearing a loud noise, defendant's brother opened his bedroom door and saw defendant running up the stairs holding a kitchen knife. Scared, defendant's brother went back into his room and locked the door, and defendant's mother called 911. At the time, defendant's brother had a restraining order in place against defendant.

A jury found defendant guilty of first degree residential burglary and willfully disobeying a court order. The jury found true the allegation that a person, other than an accomplice, was present during the burglary. At a bifurcated proceeding, the jury found that defendant had a previous strike conviction. The trial court sentenced defendant to an aggregate term of 13 years.

On appeal, defendant asserts that: (1) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of prior acts of domestic violence under

284 Cal.Rptr.3d 719

Evidence Code sections 1109 and 352, including prior acts of domestic violence to prove propensity to commit residential burglary grounded on a theory of intent to steal, (2) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting prior acts evidence under Evidence Code sections 1101, subdivision (b), and 352, (3) the trial court committed instructional error in instructing the jury with a modified version of the Evidence Code section 1109 instruction, CALCRIM No. 852A, because burglary based on an intent to steal theory is assertedly not a crime involving domestic violence, and (4) he was prejudiced by the cumulative effect of these errors.1

We conclude the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the prior acts evidence and the modified CALCRIM No. 852A was not erroneous. We reject defendant's contention that residential burglary based on an intent to steal theory is not an act of domestic violence for which the prior acts of domestic violence are admissible under Evidence Code section 1109 and the related contention that the trial court erred in instructing that the prior acts in this case could be used as evidence of propensity to commit the residential burglary charge grounded on a theft theory. We conclude that breaking into the victims’ home with the intent to steal is a form of harassment and surely disturbed the peace of the victims. Consequently, given the expanded definition of domestic violence in the Family Code, which includes as forms of abuse both harassment and disturbing the peace, we hold that such a burglary is a crime of domestic violence for purposes of Evidence Code section 1109. Having rejected defendant's claims of error, we necessarily reject his cumulative error contention.

However, we have discovered a sentencing error as to the application of Penal Code section 654. Because the trial court failed to impose a term of imprisonment and then suspend execution of that sentence on count two, we shall remand for resentencing with directions that the trial court to do so. We otherwise affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The Charges

Defendant was charged with first degree residential burglary ( Pen. Code, § 459 ; count one), willfully disobeying a court order ( Pen. Code, § 166, subd. (a)(4) ; count two), and drawing and exhibiting a deadly weapon in a rude, angry, or threatening manner ( Pen. Code, § 417, subd. (a)(1) ; count three). In connection with count one, it was alleged that a person, other than an accomplice, was present during the burglary ( Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (c)(21) ), and it was further alleged that, in the commission of the burglary, defendant personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, within the meaning of Penal Code section 12022, subdivision (b)(1).2 A prior serious felony and prior strike conviction were also alleged. ( §§ 667, subd. (a) ; 667, subds. (b)-(i), 1170.12).

Trial Evidence Presented by the Prosecution

Defendant's brother lived in a house with their mother. Defendant's brother testified that he had a restraining order in place against defendant. Both defendant's brother and mother had restraining orders against defendant in the past. Defendant's brother testified that defendant "always

284 Cal.Rptr.3d 720

violated the restraining orders" and their mother testified that defendant violated restraining orders on a number of occasions.

The Prior Acts

On April 29, 2016, Officer Luis Canela was dispatched to defendant's mother's house for a family disturbance. Upon his arrival, Canela saw several people outside, including defendant. Defendant told Canela that he knew there was a restraining order in place against him. He told Canela he had been invited over to get his bed, "and that his family had software to control his mind."

On March 14, 2017, defendant's brother was at home when defendant came over. Defendant came in, yelling and screaming. Defendant's sister told defendant to leave, and then she called to defendant's brother. Defendant's brother came downstairs and saw defendant sitting in their mother's vehicle. He asked defendant to leave, but defendant just yelled, screamed, and cursed. Defendant's brother told defendant he was not allowed to be at the house and that there was a restraining order in place, and he warned defendant that they would call the authorities. Defendant backed up the vehicle and "came right towards" his brother. Defendant's brother was on the sidewalk, and defendant backed out, turned around, and "plow[ed] right towards" him, accelerating "[p]retty quickly," driving onto the sidewalk. Defendant's brother stepped away, and defendant missed hitting him by a matter of inches. Defendant yelled and screamed at his brother, telling him he did not belong there and accusing him of being the cause of their father's death. Defendant drove away in their mother's vehicle before the police arrived. The incident frightened the brother.

On July 11, 2017, defendant came to the house, knocked or banged on the door, and started yelling. Defendant's mother was home alone. She called 911. There was a restraining order in effect at the time.

Defendant's mother testified that, on January 10, 2018, defendant came to the house, banged on the door, yelled, and cursed. She told defendant she was going to call 911 and she did. Defendant left before the police arrived. Defendant's brother testified he came home and discovered a stereo receiver and speaker were missing from the garage. A pair of his custom running shoes was also missing and a pair of shoes that belonged to defendant were left behind.3 The door leading into the garage was damaged. It had been kicked open, the doorjambs were "ripped open," and the locking mechanisms "were off the door." As with the other incidents, there was a restraining order in place at the time.

On January 23, 2018, defendant again violated a restraining order. When his mother came home from work, she saw defendant sitting on the back of her landscaper's truck, which was parked on the street between her house and the neighbor's house. She went into the garage and noticed that the door frame and lock were broken. When she asked defendant why he broke into the house, he left without saying anything. She testified she "didn't notice about the stereo ... until [defendant's brother] came. He said the stereo was missing."

On February 21, 2018, defendant's brother heard defendant banging and yelling at the door of the house at approximately

284 Cal.Rptr.3d 721

4:00 a.m. Defendant was there for approximately 10 or 15 minutes before he left. Later in the day, defendant's brother went to work. When he came home in the afternoon, he saw that the garage door had been opened. He had previously pushed a dresser against the door to keep it closed because the lock and door had not been fixed from the last incident. The dresser had been moved and stereo equipment was missing. There was a restraining order in effect at this time as well.

The Charged Offenses

On March 29, 2018, defendant's mother and brother were at home. During the night, the brother, who had been asleep in his second-floor bedroom, heard a loud bang at the door that led from the garage into the house. It sounded like the door being kicked in. Defendant's brother opened his second-floor bedroom door and saw defendant running up the stairs holding a kitchen knife. Defendant was holding the knife in his hand with his arm at a right angle and the blade pointed away from his body. He was on the turn on the first landing of the stairs, approximately six to seven feet away. Defendant was...

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5 practice notes
  • People v. Morales, A159825
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • September 30, 2021
    ...so impoverished that he owns nothing else, there could be circumstances in which a threatened taking of property meets this test.284 Cal.Rptr.3d 713 Even looking at things in this case through that prism, on these specific facts I conclude that the evidence is insufficient to support the re......
  • People v. Mani, C088716
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 26, 2022
    ...cause in light of newly enacted Assembly Bill No. 518 (2021-2022 Reg. Sess.) (Stats. 2021, ch. 441) (A.B. 518). (People v. Mani (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 799 [284 Cal.Rptr.3d 713], review granted December 15, 2021, S271688.) We vacated our decision and both parties filed supplemental briefs fol......
  • People v. Morales, D079041
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 16, 2021
    ...no more than five years before the charged offense." (Evid. Code, § 1109, subd. (d)(3).)[8] As the court in People v. Mani (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 799, 814 (Mani) explained: "Thus, there are two definitions of domestic violence applicable to section 1109, one in the Penal Code and another in ......
  • People v. Mani, S271688
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 15, 2021
    ...not to publish in the Official Appellate Reports the opinion in the above-entitled appeal filed September 30, 2021, which appears at 69 Cal.App.5th 799, 284 Cal.Rptr.3d 713. ( Cal. Const., art. VI, § 14 ; Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.1125(c)(2).) (See Standing Order Exercising Authority Unde......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • People v. Morales, A159825
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • September 30, 2021
    ...so impoverished that he owns nothing else, there could be circumstances in which a threatened taking of property meets this test.284 Cal.Rptr.3d 713 Even looking at things in this case through that prism, on these specific facts I conclude that the evidence is insufficient to support the re......
  • People v. Mani, C088716
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 26, 2022
    ...cause in light of newly enacted Assembly Bill No. 518 (2021-2022 Reg. Sess.) (Stats. 2021, ch. 441) (A.B. 518). (People v. Mani (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 799 [284 Cal.Rptr.3d 713], review granted December 15, 2021, S271688.) We vacated our decision and both parties filed supplemental briefs fol......
  • People v. Morales, D079041
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 16, 2021
    ...no more than five years before the charged offense." (Evid. Code, § 1109, subd. (d)(3).)[8] As the court in People v. Mani (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 799, 814 (Mani) explained: "Thus, there are two definitions of domestic violence applicable to section 1109, one in the Penal Code and another in ......
  • People v. Mani, S271688
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 15, 2021
    ...not to publish in the Official Appellate Reports the opinion in the above-entitled appeal filed September 30, 2021, which appears at 69 Cal.App.5th 799, 284 Cal.Rptr.3d 713. ( Cal. Const., art. VI, § 14 ; Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.1125(c)(2).) (See Standing Order Exercising Authority Unde......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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