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Name: People v. Byrd
Case #: C077269
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/29/2016
Summary

Conviction for evading police (Veh. Code, § 2800, subd. (a)) reversed because there was no evidence that the pursuing officers wore a distinctive uniform. A jury convicted Bryd of first degree murder (Pen. Code, § 187, subd. (a)), gun use (Pen. Code, § 12022.53, subd. (b)) and felony evading police (Veh. Code, § 2800.2, subd. (a)). On appeal Byrd challenged the sufficiency of the evidence of the evading conviction. Held: Evading count reversed. “A person violates Vehicle Code section 2800.2 if he flees or attempts to elude a pursuing peace officer in violation of section 2800.1 and the pursued vehicle is driven in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Section 2800.1 has four elements regarding the police vehicle and officers. The police car must (1) exhibit at least one red light, (2) be sounding a siren as reasonably necessary, (3) be distinctively marked, and (4) be driven by a peace officer who is wearing a distinctive uniform. Here, no evidence was presented that the pursuing officers wore a distinctive uniform. Although Byrd admitted that he knew the police were chasing him and he chose to evade them, this was insufficient to prove the distinctive-uniform elements of the offense, requiring reversal. [Editor’s Note: In a dissenting opinion, Justice Hull concluded that Byrd’s admission that he intended to evade the police sufficiently proved the offense.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C077269.PDF