Skip to content
Name: People v. Martinez
Case #: B193624
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 11/05/2007

To support a conviction, the prosecution must establish the corpus delicti of a crime independently from defendant’s extrajudicial statements, but only a slight or prima facie showing is required. (People v. Alvarez (2002) 27 Cal.4th 1161, People v. Jones (1998) 17 Cal.4th 279.) Appellant was convicted by jury of four felony driving under the influence charges, all relating to the same incident. On the basis of the following evidence presented at trial, the appellate court rejected Martinez’ contention that the prosecution failed to present sufficient proof of the corpus delicti. The highway patrol officer came upon a vehicle parked facing the wrong way on the street. The vehicle’s engine was running and its lights on. An occupant, wearing her seatbelt, was sitting in the front passenger seat. She told the officer that appellant had driven the car to that position five minutes earlier and was inside the adjacent building. Appellant exited the building and told the officer that he had driven the vehicle. It was stipulated that appellant was under the influence when he drove the vehicle and that when tested shortly after his arrest, his blood alcohol content was .14. This evidence supported a reasonable inference that a person drove the car while under the influence and that since the passenger was seat belted in the passenger seat, she did not drive, thereby establishing the requisite corpus delicti. The court’s imposition of concurrent prison terms for three of the driving under the influence convictions was error as the counts arose from a single act and must be stayed pursuant to Penal Code section 654.