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Name: People v. Betts
Case #: S111309
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 01/13/2005

Betts was convicted in Riverside County of several counts of lewd acts on a child, some of which were committed outside of Riverside County and some of which were committed out of state. The California Supreme Court granted review of his convictions to determine whether: 1) When a California criminal prosecution includes offenses which occurred in part outside California, is the determination regarding jurisdiction made by the trial court or by a jury?; 2) Was there sufficient evidence here to show that California had jurisdiction?; 3) Is the question of venue a matter for the trial court or jury?; and 4) Was the venue of Riverside County proper for a crime completed in Los Angeles County? The Supreme Court held in this opinion that the trial court determines the question of whether California has jurisdiction to prosecute. The evidence was sufficient to support California’s jurisdiction over all the offenses because the evidence supported the conclusion that appellant formed the intent to molest the girls while he was in California, before his trips to Oregon began and appellant drove his truck across California with the girls to Oregon. The issue of venue is a matter to be resolved by the trial court, as was previously decided in People v. Posey (2004) 32 Cal. 4th 193. And, venue for the offenses which were completed in Los Angeles County was proper in Riverside County because there were sufficient preparatory acts in Riverside County.