People v. Short, 031519 CAAPP3, C085252

Docket Nº:C085252
Opinion Judge:RENNER, J.
Party Name:THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. CIARA ALESSANDRA SHORT, Defendant and Appellant.
Judge Panel:We concur: BLEASE, Acting P. J., HOCH, J.
Case Date:March 15, 2019
Court:California Court of Appeals

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,


CIARA ALESSANDRA SHORT, Defendant and Appellant.


California Court of Appeals, Third District, Butte

March 15, 2019


Super. Ct. No. 16CF04855.


A jury found defendant Ciara Alessandra Short guilty of first degree burglary with a person present. On appeal, defendant contends the trial court erred in instructing the jury with CALCRIM No. 361, that it could draw adverse inferences from her failure to explain or deny evidence against her. She also contends the trial court erred in imposing a fine pursuant to Penal Code section 672.1 We will affirm.


Defendant was charged with burglary of the victim's home. At trial, the victim's house cleaner testified. The cleaner explained that, on the day of the incident, she arrived at 9:00 a.m. to clean the victim's house. Walking up the driveway, she was approached by defendant who started walking next to her. Defendant acted as though she was supposed to enter the house with the cleaner.

The cleaner, thinking defendant might be a friend of someone staying with the victim, asked, “ ‘Oh, do you know [the victim]?' ” 2 Defendant said yes. The cleaner then went into the house followed by defendant.

The cleaner put down her supplies in the kitchen and saw defendant walk toward the bedrooms. The cleaner asked, “ ‘Oh, are you here to get your things?' ” She testified she could not recall if defendant answered, but “if she did it was kind of mumbly.”

The cleaner started cleaning the kitchen. About a half hour later, defendant came into the kitchen and set down a reusable shopping bag. The bag hit with a thud, as though something was inside. The cleaner said, “ ‘Oh, you're getting-that's your stuff.' ” She did not recall defendant responding.

At some point, defendant took a biscotti from the cookie jar and ate it. The cleaner said, “ ‘Oh, you're hungry.' ” Defendant nodded.

When the cleaner finished cleaning the kitchen, she went down the hallway and noticed dresser drawers in the hallway were open. She had cleaned the victim's house for over a year and had never seen the drawers left open. (The victim would testify the drawers were left closed that day.) It looked like someone had been looking for something in the drawers.

When the cleaner returned to the kitchen, she noticed defendant with another reusable grocery bag, which also appeared to contain something. Defendant was also holding a bottle of prescription medication. Defendant asked if any more prescription medication was in the house. The cleaner said she didn't know.

Growing suspicious, the cleaner texted the victim, asking, “ ‘Who is your friend?' ” The victim responded, “ ‘What friend?' ” and asked the cleaner to find out defendant's name. The cleaner went to the bedroom and saw defendant sitting on the floor, rifling through something. She asked defendant's name and then texted the response to the victim, who confirmed she knew no one by that name. (By trial, the cleaner could not recall the name defendant had given her.)

The cleaner then hollered to defendant, “ ‘Oh, I forgot something, I have to leave, and I'll be back.' ” She left and called the police.

An officer dispatched to the scene testified that he saw defendant come out the backdoor of the house and go into a little courtyard area behind a chain link fence. She was carrying several reusable grocery bags and did not react to seeing the officer. The officer asked her to come outside the fence. Defendant did, and the officer detained her.

Officers found about five bags on the driveway. They held things such as a shoebox with new shoes and the victim's receipt, an envelope addressed to the victim, an iPhone, three iPods, headphones, two pill...

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