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Name: People v. Chavarria
Case #: B238632
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 02/26/2013

Venue was proper in county where phone calls arranging a drug deal originated even though the crime was completed in another county and the defendant did not participate in the phone calls. A police informant in Ventura County telephoned a drug dealer in Los Angeles County and arranged to purchase drugs. Appellant, who was not the individual spoken to on the telephone, sold the drugs to the informant in Los Angeles County. Appellant, prosecuted in Ventura County and convicted at a court trial, claimed that Ventura County was not the proper venue, but his claim was rejected by the trial court. Affirmed. Venue is a question of law that is governed by statute. Penal Code section 777 provides that venue rests where the crime is committed. Section 781 provides an exception to this general rule, stating that where the effects requisite to the consummation of the offense occur in two or more jurisdictional territories, jurisdiction is proper in either territory. “[E]ffects . . . requisite to consummation” of a crime includes preparatory effects, such as the placement of a telephone call leading to a crime. Section 781, which does not indicate that the preparatory effects must directly involve the defendant who is charged with the crime, is to be interpreted liberally. (People v. Posey (2004) 32 Cal. 4th 193.) Here, the fact that appellant’s accomplice telephonically negotiated with an individual physically present in Ventura County (a preparatory act to the actual sale transaction in Los Angeles), was sufficient to establish venue in Ventura County.