People v. Yarbrough, A120721.

Citation86 Cal. Rptr. 3d 674,169 Cal.App.4th 303
Decision Date17 December 2008
Docket NumberNo. A120721.,A120721.
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
PartiesTHE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. RONNIE YARBROUGH, Defendant and Appellant.

Marylou Hillberg, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Assistant Attorney General, Martin S. Kaye and Laurence K. Sullivan, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.



Defendant was convicted following a jury trial of carrying a concealed firearm (Pen. Code, § 12025, subd. (a)(2)), and carrying a loaded firearm in a public place (Pen. Code, § 12031, subd. (a)(1)).1 He was sentenced to the middle term of two years in state prison for the conviction of carrying a loaded firearm in a public place, and sentence on the remaining conviction was stayed.

In this appeal defendant claims that his conviction of possession of a concealed weapon violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the trial court gave erroneous instructions in response to jury questions on the charge of carrying a loaded firearm in a public place. He also challenges the trial court's sentencing decision to deny probation and impose a state prison term. We conclude that the conviction of possession of a concealed weapon does not contravene defendant's Second Amendment rights as interpreted in the United States Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) 554 U.S. ___ [171 L.Ed.2d 637, 128 S.Ct. 2783] (Heller), and the court properly instructed the jury on carrying a loaded firearm in a public place. We also find that no prejudicial sentencing error occurred. We therefore affirm the judgment.


On the evening of June 6, 2007, officers Kevin Murphy and Michael Leite of the Oakland Police Department's Crime Reduction Team were on patrol in a "semi-marked police vehicle" in the 1400 block of 57th Avenue in East Oakland, an area notorious as an "open air drug market." The officers approached a group of "five Black males" ranging in age from 17 to "mid 20's" clustered near the "sidewalk area" at the rear of a 1980's vintage brown Toyota Corolla parked in the driveway at 1423 57th Avenue. Some of them were holding open bottles of alcohol, and one was in possession of a clear plastic baggie. The vehicle was abandoned and had no license plates; the residence appeared to be unoccupied and had a "for sale sign" on the front lawn.

After observing the "subjects drinking in public," the officers decided to contact the group to "further investigate." Officer Murphy parked the police vehicle in the street facing into the driveway directly behind the Toyota. As he did so, all of the individuals who had been congregating around the Toyota put their alcohol containers down and began to scatter in different directions. The two officers focused on different individuals in the group.

Officer Leite observed defendant walk from the right front corner of the Toyota to the right rear of the vehicle. Defendant then turned toward the vehicle, leaned down, and pulled a black revolver from the waist pocket of his black, hooded sweatshirt. He opened his hand and tossed the revolver under the abandoned Toyota in front of the right rear tire. As defendant began to "walk away," officer Leite arrested and handcuffed him. From under the car officer Leite recovered the gun, which he identified as a Smith and Wesson .38-caliber Special. He opened the cylinder of the revolver and discovered five live rounds inside.

Meanwhile, officer Murphy noticed another individual in the group, Antonio Poole, make "a very quick movement" away from the Toyota toward a staircase as he closed a clear plastic baggie the officer suspected to contain marijuana. Poole threw the baggie over the staircase and onto the lawn. Officer Murphy detained and handcuffed Poole. William Shaw, who was also in the group, was arrested on an "outstanding warrant." They were later transported to North County Jail.

The other two young men in the group, Tyree Ewing and Chad Frazier, were detained but not arrested. Aaron Frazier, a relative of both Chad Frazier and William Shaw, approached from a "rear apartment complex" and spoke to some of the individuals in the group after they were detained and handcuffed.2 Frazier was agitated and complained to the officers that "his family and friends were the subjects" who had been detained. He specifically expressed to the officers that defendant "didn't have a gun." Frazier also informed the officers that "he was on parole" and "possibly had a warrant for his arrest." After the officers confirmed through a "records check" that Frazier was "a parolee at large with a warrant for his arrest," he too was "taken into custody and transported to jail." At the jail, Frazier reiterated to the officer that defendant "didn't have no gun."

Frazier testified that he was in a parked car at the scene in front of 1423 57th Avenue, and observed the group of five who had converged around the abandoned Toyota, drinking alcohol. He "didn't see" defendant in possession of a gun. Frazier knew his cousin William Shaw "had the gun" in his back pocket before the police arrived. He then heard the sound of "metal hitting the ground" when the officers pulled their car onto the sidewalk. Frazier testified that Shaw must have been the one who "tossed" the gun under the car after the "police pulled up." He was convinced that defendant "didn't have a gun."

Defendant testified in his defense that about 8:30 p.m. on June 6, 2007, he arranged with his "weed person," John, to meet at 1423 57th Avenue to purchase marijuana. Defendant was aware that his friends bought marijuana "in front of that house," although he did not know the people who lived at the residence and had never been there to purchase drugs before. For about 10 minutes before the police arrived, he was "just talking, drinking," and "mingling" around the Toyota with his friends who had congregated there. Defendant was standing on the left side of the car near the base of a stairwell when he noticed the police officers pull into the driveway and park at a slant. As the officers got out of their vehicle, everyone started to move around. Defendant heard the sound of "metal hitting the ground." He placed his bottle on the top of the Toyota and walked toward the church on the corner, but an officer told everyone "to come back" and stand on the left side of the car. Officer Leite picked up the gun and handcuffed defendant. The officer then told defendant he was "going to jail" for possession of the gun, despite defendant's protest that the gun did not belong to him. Defendant denied that he possessed the gun "at any time" during the incident. He claimed that the gun belonged to Shaw. Defendant testified that he observed Shaw in possession of the same gun a few days before.

I. The Conviction of Possession of a Concealed Weapon.

Defendant claims that in light of the recent United States Supreme Court's decision in Heller, supra, 554 U.S. ___ , his conviction of possession of a concealed weapon on "private property" "violate[s] the protections under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution." His position is that as applied to his possession of a concealed weapon "on a private driveway," Penal Code section 12025, subdivision (a)(2) must be found constitutionally "overbroad," as it "cannot be reconciled with the protection afforded by the Second Amendment" as stated in the Heller opinion. He asks us to reverse the conviction as constitutionally impermissible under the facts presented here.

A. Defendant's Failure to Object at Trial.

We first resolve the Attorney General's contention that defendant forfeited his "Second Amendment claim" by failing to object on that ground in the trial court. The Attorney General argues that defendant's "as applied challenge" does not "present a pure question of law," but rather demands analysis of "disputed facts" that relate to his status as a "permissive visitor" on private property, and therefore the issue was "forfeited" without an objection.

"Ordinarily, a criminal defendant who does not challenge an assertedly erroneous ruling of the trial court in that court has forfeited his or her right to raise the claim on appeal. [Citations.] As the United States Supreme Court recognized in United States v. Olano [(1993)] 507 U.S. [725,] 731 [123 L.Ed.2d 508, 113 S.Ct. 1770], `"[n]o procedural principle is more familiar to this Court than that a constitutional right," or a right of any other sort, "may be forfeited in criminal as well as civil cases by the failure to make timely assertion of the right before a tribunal having jurisdiction to determine it."' [Citations.] `The purpose of this rule is to encourage parties to bring errors to the attention of the trial court, so that they may be corrected. [Citation.]' [Citations.]" (In re Sheena K. (2007) 40 Cal.4th 875, 880-881 [55 Cal.Rptr.3d 716, 153 P.3d 282].)

We agree with the Attorney General that defendant's claim of constitutional overbreadth demands at least consideration of facts pertinent to the statutory violation. (See In re Sheena K., supra, 40 Cal.4th 875, 887.) Nevertheless, we will consider the issue on the merits for several reasons. First, the issue is still one of law presented by undisputed facts in the record before us that does not require the scrutiny of individual circumstances, but instead requires the review of abstract and generalized legal concepts—a task that is suited to the role of an appellate court. (See id., at pp. 887-888; People v. Hines (1997) 15 Cal.4th 997, 1061 [64 Cal.Rptr.2d 594, 938 P.2d 388]; In re Justin S. (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 811, 815 .) We also confront the issue to avert any claim of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
142 cases
  • People v. Spector, B216425.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 17 Agosto 2011
    ...assistance of counsel claims, we will address the merits of Spector's prosecutorial misconduct claims. (See People v. Yarbrough (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 303, 310, 86 Cal.Rptr.3d 674.)(2) Attacking defense counsel. Spector contends the prosecution committed misconduct during closing argument b......
  • Kachalsky v. Cacace, 10–CV–5413 (CS).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • 2 Septiembre 2011 maintain public safety and prevent both gun-related crime and, most importantly, the death of its citizens”); People v. Yarbrough, 169 Cal.App.4th 303, 86 Cal.Rptr.3d 674, 682 (2008) (“Unlike possession of a gun for protection within a residence, carrying a concealed firearm presents a r......
  • People v. Delacy, A125803.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 25 Febrero 2011
    ...U.S. v. McCane (10th Cir.2009) 573 F.3d 1037, 1047; U.S. v. Anderson (5th Cir.2009) 559 F.3d 348, 352.) In People v. Yarbrough (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 303, 312-314, 86 Cal.Rptr.3d 674 ( Yarbrough ), this court rejected a Second Amendment challenge to the prohibition on carrying concealed fir......
  • People v. Edwards, H038422
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 15 Octubre 2015
    ...did not direct the jury to find any facts or elements, notwithstanding the use of the word “must.” (See People v. Yarbrough (2008) 169 Cal.App.4th 303, 316, 86 Cal.Rptr.3d 674 [court's instruction did 193 Cal.Rptr.3d 758not remove any issue of fact from the jury or direct a verdict for the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT