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Name: People v. Serrano (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 1324
Case #: A166011
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 03/28/2024

Sufficient evidence supported the jury’s finding that defendant acted with premeditation and deliberation where he methodically pumped and aimed a shotgun at two peace officers. Serrano went on a crime spree that culminated in his shooting a rifle at two uniformed officers who approached him following a car crash. He was found guilty by jury of two counts of premeditated attempted murder of a peace officer, among other crimes. Serrano appealed, arguing there was insufficient evidence supporting the findings of premeditation and deliberation. Held: Affirmed. After the considering the categories of evidence set forth in People v. Anderson (1968) 70 Cal.2d 15, the Court of Appeal concluded that the jury could have reasonably inferred that Serrano’s racking of his shotgun front to back at least four times as he took aim and fired at the two officers was a methodical process that required careful thought and weighing of considerations, the very hallmarks of premeditation and deliberation. Additional evidence of planning, which supported a finding of premeditation, was the state of the residence that Serrano had broken into and seemingly prepared for an armed defense by screwing shut windows, obstructing the doors, and strategically placing weapons and ammunition.

Penal Code section 1385(c) does not apply to premeditation and deliberation findings, as described by section 664, subdivisions (e) and (f), because they are an alternative penalty provision rather than an enhancement. Relying on section 1385(c), the sentencing court found three mitigating circumstances and dismissed all but one of Serrano’s firearm enhancements. Serrano argued that the court erred by not dismissing the jury’s premeditation and deliberation findings based on these mitigating circumstances. The Court of Appeal disagreed. Section 1385(c) expressly applies to the dismissal of an “enhancement.” An enhancement provides for an additional term of imprisonment while an alternative penalty provision sets forth an alternate penalty for the underlying felony itself when the jury has determined that the defendant has satisfied the conditions specified in the statute. Section 664, subdivisions (e), and (f) provide alternative penalties for the offense of attempted murder of a peace officer, depending on whether the underlying offense was committed with premeditation and deliberation. As such, section 1385(c) does not afford the trial court with discretion to dismiss the jury’s premeditation and deliberation findings.