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Name: People v. Morales
Case #: A117659
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/26/2008

Penal Code section 246 which prohibits shooting at an inhabited dwelling defines inhabited dwelling to include the attached garage. Appellant went to the victim’s home, entered the attached garage, and shot through the door connecting the garage to the kitchen. Analyzing the language of Penal Code section 246, “inhabited dwelling house,” the appellate court noted that it had the same meaning as it has in the section defining first degree burglary. (People v. Adams (1982) 137 Cal.App.3d 346.) The evidence in this case established that appellant was not firing at an inhabited dwelling house but instead was firing within an inhabited dwelling house, from one room to the other; therefore, the conviction for section 246 could not stand. Penal Code section 273a does not require that a defendant be related to a child, only that he was willing to assume the role of a caregiver. Here, 16 year-old K. testified that appellant asked her to go with him to direct him to the house of a friend. As the two were driving to the friend’s house, a police officer attempted to stop appellant after noticing that the tags on his vehicle were expired. Rather than complying, appellant sped up, ran a red light, and then lost control of his vehicle and hit a telephone pole and metal post. The appellate court affirmed the conviction for Penal Code section 273a, subdivision (a), noting that K. was physically in the care of appellant when he endangered her life by his reckless driving. The jury reasonably could conclude that when appellant took it upon himself to control her environment and safety, he assumed caregiving responsibilities or her custody when she was in the car. Failure to object to the court’s failure to give reasons for consecutive sentences results in waiver for direct appeal purposes. Although a court errs when it fails to state its reasons for imposing consecutive sentences, complaints as to the court’s abuse of discretion cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. (People v. Scott (1994) 9 Cal.4th 331.)