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Name: People v. Tuggle
Case #: B228064
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 02/24/2012

The presence of the defendant’s fingerprint on a movable object inside a residence was sufficient evidence of identity from which to support a burglary conviction. The burglary was of a model home that had been cleaned regularly during the time it was open on display. It had been closed and locked until the time of the burglary. Appellant stated at the time of his arrest that he had not been in any model homes in the area over the last two years. His statements excluded any possible innocent conduct as the source of the fingerprints.

There was no error in allowing expert opinion testimony from the fingerprint examiner as to the creation of prints by oils and amino acid on the hands, their durability, the contamination of fingerprints, and their destruction by cleaning and wiping. The court found there was a foundation by the fingerprint expert and that it is a matter of discretion which will not be disturbed absent a showing of manifest abuse. The degree of knowledge in this case went more to the weight of the evidence rather than admissibility.

A record which does not contain notice to the defendant about reimbursement of attorney’s fees pursuant to Penal Code section 987.8, subdivision (b) requires that the amount be stricken and the matter be remanded for notice and a hearing.