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Name: People v. Burton
Case #: C051500
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/27/2006

Appellant attacked his girlfriend several times in the face, causing her to be hospitalized and treated with over 200 stitches. The incident occurred in front of the couple’s children. The girlfriend was permanently disfigured. Appellant was convicted of torture, aggravated mayhem, corporal injury, and misdemeanor child endangerment. On appeal, appellant challenged the sufficiency of evidence to support the conviction for torture and for child endangerment, and for the enhancement that he used a dangerous or deadly weapon. The appellate court affirmed the judgment. All of the elements of torture were present. Appellant’s intent to cause extreme pain was evidence by the severity of the injuries, the attack’s focus on the face, and appellant’s prior statements that he would “bash her head in” and “make her pay.” Appellant’s statements also showed that there was substantial evidence that the attack was done for revenge. Further, a parent may be convicted of misdemeanor child endangerment by engaging in serious domestic violence against the other parent while aware that his or her child is present. Any reasonable person would realize that a child will sustain unjustifiable mental suffering if he was at the scene where his father slashed his mother’s face, and then saw the aftermath. Further, although the girlfriend testified only that appellant hit her in the face, a reasonable jury could have inferred from the injuries that a dangerous or deadly weapon was used. A plastic surgeon also testified that the injuries were consistent with an attack by a sharp object, and that a fist could not have made those kind of lacerations.