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Name: People v. Reeves
Case #: A078462
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/30/2001
Subsequent History: Modif. without chg in jmt and rehg. den. on 8/28/01
Summary

Appellant was convicted of several burglaries and sex offenses committed against multiple victims during a nine-month period. Evidence admitted to prove two of the sex offenses included forensic DNA evidence identifying appellant as the perpetrator. On appeal, appellant argued that the DNA evidence should have been excluded under People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal.3d 24, because the formula used by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to calculate the statistical significance of DNA matches is not generally accepted in the scientific community because it fails to consider laboratory error rates; that the DOJ’s polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis is not generally accepted in the scientific community; and that the “fixed-bin” technique used by DOJ for determining the probability of a DNA match violates correct scientific procedures because the bins are too small. The appellate court here rejected appellant’s claims, holding that DOJ’s statistical calculations were admissible because they are generally accepted in the scientific community, and therefore the trial court properly admitted the DNA evidence. Reeves was sentenced to a ten-year term in prison for a drug case, and in a separate proceeding a month later, to a five year concurrent term for an assault case. At the sentencing for the assault, the trial court informed appellant that he was entitled to only 15 percent credits on the assault under Penal Code section 2933.1. The CDC calculated his release date by applying the 15 percent limit to the total ten-year term. Reeves petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, contending that the 15 percent limitation applied only to the portion of the sentence attributable to the violent felony, i.e. the five-year term. The trial court granted the writ, and the Department appealed. Here, the appellate court affirmed the order granting the writ. The most reasonable interpretation of section 2933.1, subdivision (a) would be to interpret the clause “any person who is convicted of a violent felony,” to one who has currently been convicted, and not include one who has been convicted either in the past or separately from the conviction under scrutiny. [Same holding as Division 5 of the 1st DCA in In re Black 2002 DAR 10249] In a prosecution for one of the charges of robbery, it was error for the trial court to have failed to sua sponte instruct on the lesser included offenses of theft and attempted theft. The victim awoke during a burglary of her apartment, and was assaulted by appellant. It was clear that the victim’s jewelry was moved to another room prior to the assault. A reasonable jury could have found that appellant was guilty only of attempted theft, and the trial court therefore had a sua sponte duty to instruct accordingly. There was sufficient evidence of sexual battery where the victim manually masturbated appellant in order to avoid being raped. Appellant’s demand for sexual gratification “caused” the masturbation within the meaning of the statute.