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Name: People v. Earley
Case #: E033600
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/31/2004
Subsequent History: 11/10/04 Rev. den.
Summary

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant’s motion to reopen evidence, and defendant was not deprived of his constitutional right to testify on his own behalf. The defendant here was charged with possession of marijuana for sale and vandalism. After both sides had rested but before the jury was instructed, the court granted a prosecution motion to reduce the vandalism charge to a misdemeanor. The defendant, against counsel’s advice, then announced that he wanted to testify regarding the marijuana charge. The court denied the request to reopen evidence, and the Court of Appeal found no abuse of discretion. Nor did the trial court abuse its discretion in admitting evidence regarding a previous occasion on which defendant had been caught selling marijuana in the same location, because the evidence was relevant to establishing defendant’s intent to sell. Further, the prosecutor’s misconduct in arguing the prior conduct evidence to the jury was harmless because it was cured by the court’s timely admonition. The Court of Appeal found no Blakely error where the upper term was based on defendant’s prior convictions, and he waived his right to a jury trial on prior prison term allegations relating to those same convictions. Finally, the court reversed five contempt convictions entered against the defendant due to his disruptive behavior during the trial, because the trial court adjudicated the contempt charges summarily without affording the defendant the right to a jury trial.