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Name: People v. Monjaras
Case #: C055746
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/21/2008

Defendant’s display of an object which appeared to be a gun was sufficient to support a firearm-use enhancement. During a robbery of the victim, Monjaras pulled up his shirt and displayed the handle of a black pistol tucked into his waistband. After the victim turned over her wallet, the accomplice pressed something against her back and took her purse from her shoulder. Monjaras was convicted of robbery and personal use of a firearm within the meaning of Penal Code section 12022.53. On appeal, he argued that there was insufficient evidence that the weapon was real. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that the evidence supported a reasonable inference that the pistol was a real firearm, not a toy. Where a defendant commits a robbery by displaying an object that looks like a gun, the object’s appearance and the defendant’s conduct in using it may constitute sufficient circumstantial evidence to support a finding that it was a firearm within the meaning of the statute. The victim’s inability to say conclusively that the gun was real does not create reasonable doubt as a matter of law that the gun was a firearm. The court published the opinion to “say in no uncertain terms that a moribund claim like that raised by defendant has breathed its last breath.”