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Name: People v. Bailey
Case #: H034382
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/26/2010
Subsequent History: rev. granted 12/1/10 (S187020)
Summary

The crime of escape from prison (Pen. Code, sec. 4530) requires proof the defendant has gone beyond the boundary of the prison facility. Appellant argued the evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction for escape from prison. The evidence showed appellant broke out of his cell and breached four fences, but he actually traveled further into the interior of the prison and wound up in a different section. The court analyzed both the case law and the language of the statute which reads, in pertinent part “Every person confined in a state prison who … escapes or attempts to escape therefrom.” It concluded that for a complete escape it is not enough to have reached an unauthorized location or pass some barrier within the prison facility. The departure must be understood in reference to the “state prison,” which has custody of the inmate, thus requiring proof the defendant went beyond the boundary of the facility. Appellant’s actions were consistent with an attempt to escape. While appellant was initially charged with both escape and attempted escape under the same statute, the jury was not instructed regarding the attempt. Since the jury has to find every element of the crime, the verdict could not be modified because that would violate the right to a jury trial and to due process. Further, attempt to escape it not a lesser included offense of escape because the former is a specific intent crime while the latter is a general intent crime. As a result, the conviction was reversed in full and not reduced to the crime of attempted escape.