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Name: People v. Beatty
Case #: C077542
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/06/2018

Territorial jurisdiction (venue) to prosecute a crime is appropriate in any county affected by the offense; it is immaterial where the acts constituting the elements of a crime were committed. As part of an undercover operation, Detective Bellamy initiated several drug transactions by placing calls from Yolo County to a drug dealer named Costa in Sacramento County. Costa in turn contacted Beatty, who was his drug supplier in Sacramento County, to acquire drugs. The drug sales occurred in Sacramento. There was no evidence that Beatty committed any acts relative to the drug sales in Yolo County. Beatty was prosecuted in Yolo County and convicted of multiple counts of transporting, selling, and possessing methamphetamine for sale based on these sales. He appealed, arguing Yolo County lacked territorial jurisdiction over the offenses. Held: Affirmed. Any offense may be prosecuted in a county where only preliminary arrangements for the offense were made, even if those arrangements are not essential elements of the crime (Pen. Code, § 781), like placing telephone calls initiating a crime. The phone calls from Detective Bellamy to Costa had preparatory effects in Yolo County even though the drug sale occurred in Sacramento County. There was evidence of an ongoing supplier-dealer relationship between Costa and Beatty, who intentionally aided Costa in selling drugs to third parties. On appellate review, “a trial court’s determination of territorial jurisdiction will be upheld as long as there is ‘some evidence’ to support its holding.” Yolo County had territorial jurisdiction over the offenses.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: