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Name: People v. Garcia
Case #: A082341
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 10/25/2000
Subsequent History: Rehg. den. 11/15/01

The defendant, a prison guard at Pelican Bay State Prison, was charged with “setting up” inmates who had been convicted of criminal offenses involving children. It was alleged that the defendant and his supervisor would identify such persons to “the shot callers” and take action to make sure that the perpetrators were not injured or charged by prison staff. In exchange the guards received gifts from prisoners. The Court of Appeal found that sufficient evidence existed to corroborate the inmate accomplices on the question of conspiracy to commit the assault, as it was shown by independent evidence that the defendant had expressed dislike for child molesters and had moved to the control room at the time that the assault was to occur. In addition, the victim testified that when he was giving the defendant a note expressing his fear that he would be assaulted, the defendant said, “Don’t worry, We’ll protect you,” before he had even read the note. As to the assault by two inmates, there was also evidence from guards that the defendant fired off warning shots with no apparent need. This evidence would support an assault, either under a theory of conspiracy (aider/abettor liability in the beating) or as a direct perpetrator of an assault by firing the shots. Defendant’s convictions for possessing alcohol while in prison under Penal Code section 4573.8 were supported by sufficient evidence. Any authority defendant had to seize “pruno” from inmates did not permit him to accept a drink from them. Delayed production of investigative reports prepared by the Department of Corrections here did not prejudice the defense. The defense did not make an adequate showing of a due process violation merely by showing that the investigators had destroyed their notes and that this information “may” have been helpful to the defense. The trial court did not deprive defendant of his right to put on a defense. First, the defense failed to cite to anywhere in the record where the trial court ruled that he could not call the prosecutor as a witness. Second, while the prosecutor was present during the interviewing of some witnesses, the defense did not show a compelling necessity for calling the prosecutor. Another investigator was present during the witness interviews, but was not called as a witness by either side. The defense therefore failed to show that the information known by the prosecutor could not be obtained from another source.