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Name: People v. Arias
Case #: B223330
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 03/30/2011

The asportation element for simple kidnapping requires proof that the victim has been moved for a substantial distance, which is established by the totality of the circumstances. The prosecution presented evidence that appellant went to an apartment to look for a rival gang member to shoot. He called at the victim’s apartment and when the victim came out, appellant pointed a gun at him and demanded whether he knew the location of TMC members and to lift his shirt to show any gang tattoos. The victim testified that he took the situation seriously and complied because appellant had a gun and he was scared. Appellant then walked behind him as he returned to his apartment. The appellate court upheld the trial court’s denial of appellant’s Penal Code section 1118.1 motion to dismiss the kidnapping conviction. A rational trier of fact could have concluded that the victim was involuntarily moved 15 feet to his apartment so that appellant could look for rival gang members. Simple kidnapping does not require a finding of increase of harm to the victim and other contextual matters, but these factors may be considered in determining whether asportation has been proven. Here, although the victim was equivocal and the trier of fact could have concluded he simply walked away from appellant, the reviewing court must construe the facts most favorable to the prosecution and these facts support the kidnapping conviction.